Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury on Sharia

I sure hope that this is being taken out of context:
He stresses that "nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that's sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states; the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women as well".

But Dr Williams said an approach to law which simply said "there's one law for everybody and that's all there is to be said, and anything else that commands your loyalty or allegiance is completely irrelevant in the processes of the courts - I think that's a bit of a danger".

Well, that's idiotic on its face. If this is indicative of the attitudes of even a significant minority of Brits, they're in real trouble.

However, some weasel words are in order, for the Archbishop goes on at least to imply that he might only be thinking of civil disputes where both parties agree to religious adjudication:
Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.

For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.

But where do you draw the line? Would a Sharia court ever have the ability to modify a criminal prosecution? I have no problem with Sharia law supplementing areas where civil law takes no position. But I suspect the Archbishop isn't talking about that.

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