Rowan Williams and Shariah law

I was going to write something about the Archbishop and Shariah Law, but then I read this excellent post by Richard Sudworth which says everything I would have said, and more in a clear and articulate manner…. in other words, he wrote a much better post.

I too think that Dr Williams is a highly intelligent and switched on character, and the big negative reaction is based on fear and ignorance of what Shariah law is.


3 thoughts on “Rowan Williams and Shariah law

  1. I am not at all impressed with your chums response and am therefore going to criticise you by association. Whilst I respect his and indeed Rowan William’s attempt to engage with Shariah in an intelligent fashion I think this entirely misses the point. Shariah is a combination of two things, Islamic Scripture and the interpretation oif that scripture by an elite of scholars. Neither of these things are accountable to the people who are governed by that law. This makes the system fundamentally oppresive. Claiming that people opt into it is simply not good enough, very many people do not opt into their religion any more than I have opted into being british it is simply a default position for them. He says that rejecting Shariah “says ‘your faith should be entirely private’ ‘”. It does indeed and quite right to. The emergence of the secular state is a direct result of the oppresive experience of religious states, the experience of 16th 17th and 18th century europe was that religious states fought one another, oppressed minority groups and were deeply unstable. Secular democracies very rarely fight and are much more tolerant of ‘herecy’ in its many forms. We have privatised religion with very good reason. Incorporating any religious element in to our law would be a deeply dangerous and undemocratic step

  2. so your assertion is that there is no religious element to contemporary laws or law making? Why do Bishops sit in the upper house? The established church has its own court, Judaism operates its own legal code.

    I agree your point on religion, culture etc – people dont opt in and out of these things as easy as people suggest.

    I could provide plenty of evidence of states which are highly volatile at the moment which are not religious states, would you care to hazard a guess at the amount of wars which are going on currently? The basis of peace for secular democracies has little in my view to do with their secular nature, and everything to do with economics.

  3. No you misinterpret my assertion. My assertion is that there should be no religious element in our law making. Sadly we still have bishops in the house of lords, ecclesiastical courts and jewish courts. But we shouldn’t. These things are anti democratic and oppresive. France is a good example of how and the state should be seperated. No bishops making laws there!

    Yes of course there are unstable secular states I accept that. However I would challenge you to provide me with an example of a stable and peacful constitutionally religious state. The secular state is far from perfect but it is a great deal better than the religious one.

    Much though I hate to praise a tory David Willets was very good about this on any questions last night.

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