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British Archbishop: Britain should adopt parts of Sharia law

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by poindexter, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

    His next word: Oops!


    Archbishop Defends Remarks on Islamic Law in Britain

    By Karla Adam
    Special to the Washington Post
    Tuesday, February 12, 2008; Page A11

    LONDON, Feb. 11 -- The spiritual leader of the global Anglican church on Monday defended controversial remarks that Britain should consider formally recognizing aspects of Islamic law, but conceded that his choice of words in broaching the issue may have been misleading.

    Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, has been a fixture in the headlines here since comments last Thursday on a radio program that integration of parts of Muslim law, or sharia, was "unavoidable." Later, in a lecture to the Royal Courts of Justice, he declared that a "constructive relationship between Islamic law and the statutory law of the United Kingdom" could be considered.

    Commentators called Monday the most important day of the archbishop's five years in office, following a weekend of often harsh rejoinders that recognizing sharia would undermine British values and laws, notably concerning the rights of women. There were scattered calls for his resignation.

    The furor underlined the unease that many Britons of Christian heritage feel concerning the creed of the approximately 2 million Muslims who live in the country.

    Sharia already figures in the lives of many Muslims here. Informal neighborhood councils provide rulings on family issues such as divorce; banks such as HSBC market mortgages compliant with sharia rules of lending.

    Williams, spiritual leader of the world's approximately 80 million Anglicans, made his remarks Monday to a friendly though generally skeptical audience, the General Synod, the Church of England's national assembly. Members gave him a standing ovation when he entered.

    "Some of what has been heard is a very long way indeed from what was actually said," he noted, adding that he "must of course take responsibility for any unclarity" and for any "misleading choice of words."

    He called his 6,000-word lecture last week an "opening contribution" to the debate around Islamic law and said he did not advocate "parallel jurisdictions."

    "I tried to make clear that there could be no 'blank checks' in this regard, in particular as regards some of the sensitive questions about the status and liberties of women," he said. "The law of the land still guarantees for all the basic components of human dignity."

    Rather, he said, he was asking whether sharia could be a tool under British law for resolving disputes and regulating transactions, such as mortgages.

    A poll by the Sunday Telegraph showed that 3 percent of synod members favored recognizing Islamic law. Four percent favored Williams's resignation.

    Shaista Gohir, director of Muslim Voice UK, said in an interview that Williams's remarks were not greeted warmly in sections of Britain's Muslim community. Incorporating sharia in a formal way would be "impossible because Muslims wouldn't agree on one interpretation," she said, "and women would face discrimination from male-dominated councils."

    "We are getting by informally, going to sharia councils if we want to. Let's keep it that way," she said.

    Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Matthew d'Ancona, an author on Christian theology, said Williams's speech last week "showed that even the mildest-mannered intellectual can become a bulldog in the social china shop, spraying daft ideas around with a recklessness that disgraced his office."

    David Blunkett, a former home secretary, said on a radio program that formalizing sharia "would be wrong democratically and philosophically, but it would be catastrophic in terms of social cohesion."

    In a column in the News of the World tabloid, Williams's predecessor, George Carey, called the archbishop a "great leader" but said "his conclusion that Britain will eventually have to concede some place in law for aspects of sharia is a view I cannot share."

    A spokesman for Gordon Brown said the prime minister considers Williams to be "a man of great integrity and dedication to public and community service."

    "The prime minister understood the difficulty that the archbishop was facing at the moment," said the spokesman, who under standard British government rules spoke on condition of anonymity. He added that Brown was clear that British laws must be based on British values.
  2. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    Re: British Archbishop: Britian should adopt parts of Sharia law

    Britain, first off Poin. And he was loudly shouted down last week by pretty much every political leader in the country when he said it last week.
  3. terrier

    terrier Well-Known Member

    Re: British Archbishop: Britian should adopt parts of Sharia law

    And I thought that African homophobe bishop who was trying to take over the Anglican church was the baddest of the bad guys in the cloth.
  4. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    Re: British Archbishop: Britian should adopt parts of Sharia law

    Williams is a decent man. He just occasionally feels the need to say things without thinking them through and thinking about the reaction will be.

    This isn't the first time he's put his foot in his mouth.
  5. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Re: British Archbishop: Britian should adopt parts of Sharia law

    Good. Because I'd hate to think he honestly believes a country's law enforcement should have no power to investigage and prosecute if a father and brothers decide to whack one of the girls in the family because she snuck out on a date.
  6. Re: British Archbishop: Britian should adopt parts of Sharia law

    And this differs from, say, the rabbinical courts in Williamsburg, how?
  7. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Are Rabbis sanctioning the killing of Jewish girls who go on unauthorized dates or the stoning of Jewish girls accused of adultery, when their only crime was to be gang-raped?
    Didn't think so.
  8. writing irish

    writing irish Active Member

    That's quite true on both counts. He's so clumsy with his public persona that I'm surprised he made Archbishop. Glad he did though.
  9. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    Just because the punishments are different, hondo, doesn't mean that there aren't two justice systems operating in the U.S.
  10. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Hitchens, ubiquitous, weighs in:

  11. Of course, he does.
    He gets to swat two of the three major monotheisms.
  12. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    .....and blow a .57 BAL before breakfast! Every generation gets the genius it deserves!
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