I fell duty-bound to add to the criticism levelled at the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. I’ve always considered him to be a bit of a fool and his latest outpouring confirms this opinion for me.
He is absolutely wrong to suggest that Sharia law will inevitably be adopted into British law. I’m sure he is making what he feels is a legitimate attempt to promote debate of this matter and I’m sure his intentions are good. But in my opinion they are misguided and pander to the worst elements on both sides of this particular equation. Muslim extremists will see his suggestion as an indication that they are making progress and will try all the harder to inflict their beliefs upon us. Nationalist extremists will see it as a prompt to shout louder about ejecting from the country those who they see as not being British.
What’s more, he suggests that it is only some elements of Sharia law that will be adopted. Which elements? How can you possibly pick and choose between them. Surely Sharia law comprises the fundamental rules that govern Islam and as such cannot be separated from one another. Like Dr. Williams’ own religion, isn’t Islam a complete package. Even if, as with Christianity, there is a degree of leeway over some of the more extreme tenets of the rule book – stoning for instance, which was once a punishment ascribed to by both these religions!
I would not want any law to be enacted in this country that sees anyone treated differently because of their faith. I would also not wish to be legally bound to heed the specific laws of a religion to which I do not adhere. And if you really think about it, would you?
Perhaps what is needed is a Muslim “Court” similar to the Jewish Beth Din which could be used to resolve civil matters. Though then you would need to be wary of such courts being demanded for every so called “religion” that springs up. You would also have to ensure that such courts were still subject to the over-riding rule of British law.
Anyway, whatever method is settled upon for addressing such matters, the bottom line is that we all have to live and work together and the utterances of the Archbishop are not helpful in that regard. The law of the land should remain secular and not become the lapdog of any faith.