Anglican clergymen uhappy with archbishop’s proposal of Sharia in UK
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

.- Senior Church of England clergymen are criticizing the Archbishop of Canterbury for his remarks about accommodating Islamic Sharia law in Britain, The Evening Standard reports.

On Thursday night Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the highest-ranking cleric of the Church of England, gave a radio interview in which he suggested it was “unavoidable” that some form of Sharia law would be introduced in Britain.  He said that Sharia and Parliamentary law should be given equal status in some areas so that people could choose which governs their lives. 

"This may include aspects of marital law, the regulation of financial transactions, and authorized structures of mediation and conflict resolution," the Archbishop of Canterbury said, noting analogous Jewish courts already operate in Britain.  He took care to distance his proposal from the “severe punishments” and “inhumanity” of the law in some Islamic states.

One reaction to the Archbishop’s lecture came from Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali, who was put under police protection last month after receiving death threats for suggesting some areas of Britain are ‘no-go areas’ for non-Mulsims.  Bishop Nazir-Ali said Sharia would be “in tension” with the rights of women, noting that Muslim women’s groups in Canada had blocked attempts to introduce Sharia law in marriage cases.

According to the Evening Standard, Bishop Nazir-Ali said that disputes on Shariah law "are not an argument for disturbing the integrity of a legal tradition which is rooted in the quite different moral and spiritual vision deriving from the Bible."

A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown also reacted to Archbishop Williams’ radio interview.

 "Our general position is that Sharia law cannot be used as a justification for committing breaches of English law, nor should the principles of Sharia law be included in a civil court for resolving contractual disputes.

"The Prime Minister believes British law should apply in this country, based on British values," the spokesman said.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the first major Labor Party leader to criticize multiculturalism, said the archbishop’s comments gave “succor to extremists,” calling the proposals “divisive and dangerous” ones that encouraged segregation.

Tory politician David Davies, who is also Anglican, said, "I am astounded. Dr. Williams is a nice enough man, very intellectual, but he has clearly lost the plot.

"He's one of the most influential Christian prelates in the world and he's supposed to be standing up for Christianity.

"What he's doing is abandoning his own religion.”
Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Ramadhan Foundation, responded positively to the archbishop of Canterbury. 

“Sharia law for civil matters is something which has been introduced in some western countries with much success; I believe that Muslims would take huge comfort from the Government allowing civil matters being resolved according to their faith," he said, according to the Evening Standard.

However, Shafiq did criticize Archbishop Williams on another recent incident. 

"We are however disappointed that the Archbishop of Canterbury was silent when Bishop Nazir-Ali was promoting intolerance and lying about no-go areas for Christians in the UK by Muslim extremists,” Shafiq said.  He said the archbishop should speak out against Bishop Nazir-Ali, or Muslims would believe the archbishop had sympathy towards the Bishop of Rochester’s opinions.

One clergyman identified as a member of the Anglican Church’s Governing Synod anonymously told The Times his own critical view.

"I am just so shocked, and cannot believe a man of his intelligence could be so gullible," he said.

"I can only assume that all the Muslims he meets are senior leaders of the community who tell him what a wonderful book the Koran is.”

The clergyman thought the Archbishop of Canterbury should resign because of the remarks.

Bishop Tom Butler of Southwark said the Archbishop of Canterbury had chosen a poor time and venue for his proposal. “The Archbishop has a way with language but this was a very heavy lecture,” he said, according to the Evening Standard.

Bishop Butler said the proposal would need a “great deal more thought and work” to become a good idea.

The archbishop is said to be shocked and hurt by the hostility his comments have provoked, and on his website he said he "certainly did not call for its introduction as some kind of parallel jurisdiction to the civil law".

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 20, 2014


All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Second Reading:: Col 3:1-4
Gospel:: Jn 20:1-9

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: