The Archbishop of Canterbury: Let’s try some Sharia!
The recent speech by Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, about allowing British Law to get just a little pregnant with Sharia Law …
There’s a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law …
… is just the tip of the iceberg. The Archbishop is a real piece of work and no friend of moral principles – let alone Christianity.
Herald Sun columnist, Andrew Bolt, raises an excellent question:
Williams suggests Britain can recognise some sharia laws while rejecting others – the ones with “extreme punishments” and bad “attitudes to women”.
But if Britain is to recognise some religious laws of Muslims, to what higher authority does it appeal in rejecting others?
The Archbishop admits his own void of understanding of that which he seeks to accommodate:
This lecture will not attempt a detailed discussion of the nature of sharia, which would be far beyond my competence …
From the vantage point of Dr Williams’ self-admitted incompetence, he doesn’t hesitate to express his disdain towards “what most people think they know of sharia” – in contrast to what Dr Williams knows he doesn’t know about it:
… [that] it is repressive towards women and wedded to archaic and brutal physical punishments;
For instance, he says …
… just a few days ago, it was reported that a ‘forced marriage’ involving a young woman with learning difficulties had been ‘sanctioned under sharia law‘ – the kind of story that, in its assumption that we all ‘really‘ know what is involved in the practice of sharia, powerfully reinforces the image of – at best – a pre-modern system in which human rights have no role.
Dr Williams doesn’t really know what Sharia consists of but it surely couldn’t be this!
That this is truly a misconception – and an upsetting one at that – is “freely admitted by Muslim scholars.”
And now The Archbishop turns to one such “Muslim scholar” to illustrate his point:Tariq Ramadan, whom he quotes:
… the idea of Sharia calls up all the darkest images of Islam … It has reached the extent that many Muslim intellectuals do not dare even to refer to the concept [of Sharia] for fear of frightening people or arousing suspicion of all their work by the mere mention of the word.
Goodness! If we believe such awful, horrid things about Sharia WE are the scary ones! WE cause all those brave “Muslim intellectuals” to omit any mention of that which they in fact believe in. WE cause them to hide their Truth.
And this is not just ordinary fear. It is “fear of frightening”.
But it’s not their fault!! It’s YOUR fault, you bigoted infidels!
If we didn’t have any of those hurtful misconceptions about Sharia, they’d tell us what it really meant. Really!
But since we don’t understand it, they can’t explain it.
Perhaps at this point you’re wondering who is this “Muslim scholar,” Tariq Ramadan, from whom Dr Williams has quoted?
From Daniel Pipes:
- He has praised the brutal Islamist policies of the Sudanese politician Hassan Al-Turabi. Mr. Turabi in turn called Mr. Ramadan the “future of Islam.”
- Mr. Ramadan was banned from entering France in 1996 on suspicion of having links with an Algerian Islamist who had recently initiated a terrorist campaign in Paris.
- Ahmed Brahim, an Algerian indicted for Al-Qaeda activities, had “routine contacts” with Mr. Ramadan, according to a Spanish judge (Baltasar Garzón) in 1999.
- Djamel Beghal, leader of a group accused of planning to attack the American embassy in Paris, stated in his 2001 trial that he had studied with Mr. Ramadan.
- Along with nearly all Islamists, Mr. Ramadan has denied that there is “any certain proof” that Bin Laden was behind 9/11.
- He publicly refers to the Islamist atrocities of 9/11, Bali, and Madrid as “interventions,” minimizing them to the point of near-endorsement.
- Intelligence agencies suspect that Ramadan (along with his brother Hani) coordinated a meeting at the Hôtel Penta in Geneva for Ayman al-Zawahiri (deputy head of Al-Qaeda) and Omar Abdel Rahman (the blind sheikh, now in a Minnesota prison).
- Ramadan’s address appears in a register of Al Taqwa Bank, an organization the State Department accuses of supporting Islamist terrorism.
Writing for Spiked, the highly perceptive Frank Furedi notes that the Archbishop of Canterbury …
… is not simply demanding more recognition for Sharia but for all forms of religious law.
… he is far more concerned with maintaining and, if possible, enhancing the status of religion more broadly in a secular society.
That he has sought to realise this aim by piggybacking on the forward movement of a competing religion is symptomatic of the malaise afflicting his church.
Far from being a courageous statement, Williams’ speech hides behind Sharia law and fails to spell out its real agenda.
“In conclusion,” says the Archbishop of Canterbury …
… it seems that if we are to think intelligently about the relations between Islam and British law, we need a fair amount of ‘deconstruction‘ of crude oppositions and mythologies, whether of the nature of sharia or the nature of the Enlightenment. But as I have hinted, I do not believe this can be done without some thinking also about the very nature of law.
Indeed, the “crude mythology” of Enlightenment values – especially such notions as common law, applying equally to all, based on universal principles – may well be an obstacle to the advancement of Sharia Law.
Let’s hope so.
By the way, Dr Rowan Williams’ lecture …
… was the first in a series of six lectures and discussions which are being given by senior Muslim and other lawyers and theologians at the Temple Church on the general theme of ‘Islam in English Law‘.
Perhaps the best is yet to come.