Feb 27 2008
Archbishop of Canterbury argues for Islamic law in Britain [Excerpts]
The Archbishop of Canterbury came under fierce attack last night from the Government, his own Church and other religions after he advocated the adoption of parts of Sharia, or Islamic law, in Britain.
Leaders of all the main political parties made clear that they did not accept Dr Rowan Williams’s assertion that the incorporation of some aspects of Sharia was “unavoidable”.
Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, condemned his comments as “muddled and unhelpful” and one senior bishop said that he was “surprised and concerned” by Dr Williams’s remarks.
Even the Muslim Council of Britain insisted that most members of the community did not want Sharia and emphasized that it had not discussed the issue.
Dr Williams argued, in a speech at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, for a “plural jurisdiction” that would allow Muslims to choose whether some legal disputes were resolved in secular or Sharia courts. He called for “constructive accommodation” over such issues as resolving marriage disputes.
There are nearly 1.6 million Muslims in Britain, representing 2.7 per cent of the total population. Sharia courts do exist, but they have no legal standing and their decisions are not binding.
Dr Williams said: “It seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of Sharia are already recognised in our society.”
However, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said that British law must be based on British values. “Sharia cannot be used as a justification for committing breaches of English law, nor should the principles of Sharia be included in a civil court for resolving contractual disputes,” he said.
[TBC: It is interesting that the liberal mindset that wanted freedom from the “legalism“ of biblical Christianity“ are so free to begin a process that will inevitably result in the harshest human laws devised by man.]
We have since learned that the remarks by Dr Williams have stirred up a bit of a firestorm and he made the following statement:
“Williams insists his remarks were misinterpreted and that he was not advocating a parallel sharia jurisdiction for Muslims, but Lord Carey, his predecessor, warned acceptance of Muslim laws in Britain would be ‘disastrous’.“