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Sharia law in Britain seen as unavoidable
LONDON (Reuters) - Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans, said on Thursday the introduction of some aspects of Islamic Sharia law in Britain was unavoidable.
Other religions enjoyed tolerance of their laws in Britain, he said, and he called for a "constructive accommodation" with Muslim practice in areas such as marital disputes.
Asked in a BBC interview if the adoption of Sharia law was necessary for community cohesion, Williams said: "It seems unavoidable.
"Certain conditions of Sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law, so it is not as if we are bringing in an alien and rival system."
The issue of integrating the country's 1.8 million Muslims has been widely debated since July 2005 when four British Islamists carried out suicide bombings on London's transport network, killing 52 people.
Sharia is the body of Islamic religious law based on the Koran, the words and actions of the Prophet Mohammad and his companions, and rulings of Islamic scholars. It covers issues including worship, commercial dealings, marriage and penal laws.
It is implemented in varying degrees in Muslim countries. Williams said he was not endorsing the harsh punishments issued in countries such as Saudi Arabia, where murderers and drug traffickers are beheaded.
"Nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that has sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states, the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women."
Any use of Sharia in Britain should not take precedence over "the rights that are guaranteed to... citizens in general".
Muslims should have a choice in legal disputes over marriage and financial matters, Williams said.
"There are ways of looking at marital dispute, for example, which provide an alternative to the divorce courts as we understand them. In some cultural and religious settings they would seem more appropriate."
A Church of England bishop sought police assistance this month after receiving death threats over an article which claimed Islamist radicals had turned some parts of the country into hostile "no-go areas" for non-Muslims.
The Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, said calls had been made to his home, threatening him and his family.
"We have got a fragmented society at the moment," Williams said. "Many Muslims would say that that they feel bits of British society are no-go areas for them."
The Archbishop of Canterbury is clearly deranged.
Journalists are clearly sensationalists.
He was referring to mandatory arbitration in cases of marital breakdown, not stoning adulterous women or mutilating thieves.
Though, on the other hand ...
I predict more conversions to Catholicism in the coming months...
Nothing like disparate and conflicting property laws to assure “social cohesion”.
Williams is a boob.
Everyone should adhere to one law otherwise you end up with inequality of rights. Unfortunately the legal system we have in place appears to be letting people down that should be addressed that rather than allowing a completely separate legal system to thrive. If people want to sort out disputes in their own communities that's all well and good but it cannot be adopted as an official avenue which would simply create disparity and confusion.
I agree 1 law.
I got done for speeding 36MPH in a 30. I was fined £60 and 3 point, OK fair enough, I was in the wrong.
My Mrs (polish) same speed same road. £60 no points, she has a EU licence.
I am now planning on getting a Polish licence, Putting Polish plates on my car and no more worries
Going back to the story:
There are now calls for the Archbishops resignation.
I personaly agree, he was out of order, how would it be in a Muslim country if it happened?????
I don't see why he should resign for bringing a debate, which has doubtless been rumbling for some time behind closed doors, out into the open. What happened to freedom of speech?
It is not an issue of freedom of speech. It is a matter of expecting a higher level of intellect and surety of purpose from a person who is supposed to be a leader with the strength of moral convictions. Williams has the freedom of speech to suggest that only those that wear pink dresses and skip up the aisle should receive communion. If, however, while availing himself of his freedom of speech he exhibits himself to be a boob, then he should resign.
He gets no coverage when doing boring Church things.
Go to his website and see what he said - you'll also find he's against priests being practising homosexuals.
A case of massive misreporting by the Christianity-hating media ... including Jeremy Clarkson this time - a man I usually have time for.
OK - let me do a Christian sympathetic job on reporting his interview.
Williams stirs up Islamophobia
The Archbishop of Canterbury stirred up anti-Muslim feelings across the country as he waded into the Oxford mosque row, adding comments designed to insult observants of Sharia law.
So as to give a clear picture of the inflammatory comments he made, we decided to let him speak for himself.
"...where it's codified (i.e. sharia) in some of the ways that you've mentioned in very brutal and inhuman and unjust ways, that's one particular expression of it which is historically conditioned, not at all what people would want to see as part of the method of trying to make actual the will of God in certain circumstances."
"... nobody in their right mind I think would want to see in this country a kind of inhumanity that sometimes appears to be associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women as well."
[about Muslim plans to have Oxford mosque broadcast daily calls to prayer]
"The Oxford case is actually quite a difficult one as we don't know yet what the requests are and planning applications are in process. It will be at least a year before anything concrete comes out there. I think I would be very uneasy about licensing a regular daily call to prayer. It doesn't even happen in many Muslim environments. It becomes an iconic thing that some Muslims want to push because they want to be recognised and some people want to push it back on because their space is being invaded. I think we need a bit of an injection of common sense in a mixed community which will never be homogeneously Muslim about what's appropriate. A daily call to prayer doesn't seem to be appropriate in that sort of environment.