London: Brutal punishments like whipping and stoning could become widespread in Britain if Islamic Sharia law is allowed to thrive, a member of the House of Lords has warned.
Baroness Cox said a growing number of British Muslims are shunning the official court system in favour of Sharia councils to settle legal disputes.
She told a House of Lords conference this could even lead to the destruction of democracy and fuel support for far-right groups like the British National Party, the Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.
Baroness Cox has been one of the most outspoken campaigners against the growth of Islamic law in Britain.
British Muslims have been able to turn to Sharia courts since 1982.
A study estimated that at least 85 Islamic sharia courts were operating in Britain.
The figure surprised many as it was 17 times higher than previously accepted.
Sharia law courts are run by the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, a body whose rulings are enforced through the state courts under the 1996 Arbitration Act.