This story caught my eye this morning. Superficially, it’s a fairly run of the mill story about the inequitable treatment of women under the Sharia system. As with many of these stories, there is a mixture of misogyny – wives not obeying their husbands and the frankly bizarre – being a bad mother because a child has eczema* (though, by the same logic, this should make the man in the case a bad father).

Sadly, this only seems to be news because it involves two British women being separated from their children – it’s surely no coincidence that the first word in the headline is “Britons”.

But if you read carefully, there’s a more troubling element to this story than a deeply unpleasant and alien judicial system. The men who initiated these proceedings were neither Muslim nor, it would appear, from a culturally Middle Eastern background – they were French and British citizens of European descent.  And, whatever the facts of these bitter divorce and custody proceedings, that’s worrying.

Link: BBC News – Britons ‘liable to Sharia divorces’ in UAE

In the interest of balance, one of the ex-husbands gives his side of the story here: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/custody-battle-british-dad-fights-back-1.951426

*In other versions of this story, the mother is accused of not treating the child’s eczema