Archbishop Williams backs sharia law for British Muslims

Updated Thursday afternoon

David Batty of the Guardian writes: The Archbishop of Canterbury said today sharia law should be introduced in the UK for Muslims. Rowan Williams told BBC Radio 4’s World at One the introduction of the controversial system of Islamic justice in the UK was “unavoidable”.

Read the interview.

Batty continues:

Williams said his proposal would only work if sharia law was properly understood, rather than seen through the eyes of biased media reports.

He said he was not proposing the adoption of extreme interpretations of sharia law practiced in some repressive regimes.

“Nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that’s sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states,” he said.

The BBC’s own coverage includes this:

“There’s a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law.”

Dr Williams adds: “What we don’t want either, is I think, a stand-off, where the law squares up to people’s religious consciences.”

“We don’t either want a situation where, because there’s no way of legally monitoring what communities do… people do what they like in private in such a way that that becomes another way of intensifying oppression inside a community.”

The Times of London features a column on whether the teachings of Islam can be reconciled to the existing laws of the United Kingdom.

Thursday afternoon update

The lecture is here.

Ruth Gledhill asks “Has the Archbishop gone bonkers?”

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