Friday, February 8, 2008


Rowan Williamson, Archbishop of Canterbury proposing the adoption of some elements of Sharia law in the UK features heavily in the news today. He said "There are ways of looking at marital disputes, 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." Yer, rite as they say around here.

Under Sharia law there is discrimination against women because of patriarchal and cultural control in their communities. Some Muslim women in the West are worried about protection of their rights in Sharia courts. Running the two systems of law alongside each other would be a recipe for disaster and perhaps, unsurprisingly, there are now calls for the Archbishop's resignation.

Spiegel thinks the Archbishop is mistaken in thinking society is like a factory canteen which offers choices between meat and vegetarian menus. It accuses him as being naieve and his suggestion no more than preventative capitulation to a tricky problem. As some immigrants are not willing or unable to adapt to the rules of society, society would be adapting to the rules of the immigrants. (I've not transulated that well, but you get the gist.)

The Archbishop is known to be obscure. One commentator couldn't describe a lecture by the Archbishop as he said it was so ambiguous he didn't know when to heckle. Family Law Week blog illustrates this with the quote "I have been arguing that a defence of an unqualified secular legal monopoly in terms of the need for a universalist doctrine of human right or dignity is to misunderstand the circumstances in which that doctrine emerged, and that the essential liberating (and religiously informed) vision it represents is not imperilled by a loosening of the monopolistic framework."

Typical Glaswegian comments from the Herald readership;

"Who is the Archbishop of Canterbury anyway?
Is he in a rock band?
or does he jist wish he wis?"

"Being a Jedi, I fully support the introduction of Jedi Law..."

"Off with his head!"


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