The archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks on sharia have, to some degree, been simplified in public discussion. However, a full understanding of Dr. Williams’ argument does nothing to improve his message and does not weaken the conclusion that a partial adoption of sharia is unlikely to be feasible. Full knowledge of the lecture delivered at the Courts of Justice merely defines Dr. Williams’ outlook as collectivist and authoritarian.
Dr. Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury has this month destroyed what little was left of his reputation by calling for the formal acceptance of parts of sharia in British law. It is worth noting that he was not the first to do so. Dr Suhaib Hasan, a Muslim Council of Britain spokesman, had done much the same thing in late January.
I will not elaborate on how and why official recognition of a separate body of religious law is incompatible with the notions of a secular state and equality before the law. Others have done so extensively and more prominently.
There are two aspects of this discussion which are worth pondering in more detail:
1. If there is a move towards the acceptance of sharia, can it remain partial in scope? and
2. What do the archbishop’s remarks imply for the social order more generally? Read the rest of this entry »