In a startling interview yesterday, on BBC Radio 4, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said, "There is a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law as we already do with aspects of other kinds of religious law." Williams went on to state that the adoption of Islamic Sharia Law was inevitable in the United Kingdom and that it would help maintain social cohesion. "It seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of Sharia are already recognized in our society and under our law, so it is not as if we are bringing in an alien and rival system."

He compares the practice of Sharia Law with the convictions of those who opposed abortion or homosexual adoption. He also claims that Sharia Law needs to be better understood and that originally it was more enlightened in its attitude toward women than other legal systems.

His remarks were publicly criticized by Senior Tory MP Peter Luff, who said: "This is a very dangerous route we should not go down." Not surprisingly, Archbishop Williams was praised by Mohammed Shafiq, Director of Great Britain’s, Ramadhan Foundation.

Rowan Williams is often at the center of controversy. He is a serious and trained academic theologian but maintains quite liberal views on a number of points. I personally find reading him both scintillating and frustrating.I found myself feeling the same when I listened to this BBC broadcast last evening. Listen for yourself if you want to ponder his very controversial comments.

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  1. Dave Dryer February 8, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Somehow Agrippa’s response to Paul comes to mind here: “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

  2. ColtsFan February 9, 2008 at 1:40 am

    The “inevitability” seems to flow from changing population demographics, sociological influences that also pose a serious threat to the USA.
    This article was informative about Armstrong’s post:
    I think it is important to remember that Sharia law—-while not enshrined in USA culture completely YET—is a lot closer than many think. Take a look at Dearborn, Michigan.

  3. Jonas Borntreger February 9, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I believe that the archbishop’s comments give one legitimate reason for concern. Anything I understand about sharia law seems very dangerous and alien from democratic principles.
    And yet….
    Coming from an Old Order Amish background and having had a great uncle who was directly involved in an Amish school dispute with the State of Iowa during the sixties; I also have equal concern about governments that feel they know best what is good for it’s people and can somehow mandate a lifestyle which it considers as normal. People outside the Amish faith could justifiably feel that Amish lifestyle is repressive and that government needs to do something to change it and bring it back in line. The truth is: Most Amish do better at enjoying “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” than the rest of our society.
    There is an ongoing need for caution and serious consideration each, and every time that a conflict is raised between personal freedom and governmental intrusion. JJB

  4. Mike Clawson February 18, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Richard Sudworth has an informative article about Sharia law that might help put the Archbishop’s comments in perspective. Apparently it is a false mischaracterization to merely equate Sharia law with stonings, etc.
    The article can be found here:

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