The Archbishop & Sharia: best post yet

by Richard on February 11, 2008

Via Ben Myers comes this useful analysis of Rowan Williams’ lecture by Mike Higton. It’s a long piece, but helpfully broken down into a very brief summary, a longer summary of the key points and a detailed analysis. Here’s a taster:

Williams suggests that the main areas where some such accommodation is likely to be possible: ‘aspects of marital law, the regulation of financial transactions and authorised structures of mediation and conflict resolution’. And, as he said in the accompanying radio interview, ‘as a matter of fact certain provisions of sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law.’ Williams is arguing not for a radical departure, but for some fine judgments about the possible extension of our existing practice - fraught with difficulty though such extension will be.

A really excellent article, that I hope will be widely read.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }


Kim 02.11.08 at 2:58 pm

“It’s a long piece.”

Bloody hell - 11 whole pages! Bugger that! I’d rather remain in ignorance and talk about what the hell I don’t know what I’m talking about.


DH 02.18.08 at 5:03 pm

I’m sorry I cannot support Rowan. No aspect of sharia law should be in any democratic society. To support partially sharia law is supporting sharia law. I cannot support that.


malc 02.19.08 at 12:31 am

likewise. there should be no aspect of ANY religious laws in the laws of a democratic society. to do so is to be driscriminatory.

nb - I think I prefered it when the anti-spam word was a word, it made it easier to spell!!


Beth 02.19.08 at 11:45 am

Malc, I’m with you. But part of the point Rowan was making, I think, is that there is already provision for religious groups to opt for religious rather than civil arbitration on some issues, and that therefore Muslims should have the same rights - the introduction of aspects of Sharia is inevitable only because we already accept aspects of, for example, Orthodox Jewish law as being acceptable standards for that particular community.

My attitude (yours too, it seems) is that we should abolish the recourse to religious arbitration altogether, rather than broadening it.


DH 02.19.08 at 2:52 pm

Malc, I totally disagree. There should be laws promoting the free access of Religion. If you truly support the concept of “free speech” then you would support this. Otherwise, it is a double standard. The fact remains sharia law goes against a free democratic society.

Beth, I totally disagree that it is inevitable that aspects of sharia law be allowed because aspects of Orthodox Jewish is already accepted. I don’t believe this is discriminatory.

Promotion of a Judeo-Christian ethic doesn’t mean that other ethics that don’t go against the Judeo Christian ethic is wrong it is just that as a society people prefer that in the super majority and thus these concepts should be preserved especially since the US was founded on these principles. Once, a society changes its principles then it leads to more principles being compromised which leads to the ultimate demise of society aka when Rome when secular.

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