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#903315 - 02/12/08 05:36 PM Brit Archbishop Wants to Infuse Sharia w/Brit Law
TheManofSteel Offline
10K Club
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 10,068
Fortress of Solitude
Special to the Washington Post
Tuesday, February 12, 2008; 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

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

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

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

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

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

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.
"Beneath an ever watchful eye...the angels of the temple fly"

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#903317 - 02/12/08 05:38 PM Re: Brit Archbishop Wants to Infuse Sharia w/Brit Law TheManofSteel
MB Guy Offline
10K Club
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 10,124
Way, way south.
heard this on the news monday.

Giddy up.

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