The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is a man by the name of Rowan Williams, has just told the British that the introduction of Muslim sharia law into the country is not just “unavoidable” but “desirable.” Archbishops of Canterbury head the Anglican church, and it is their role to uphold the established faith. Over the centuries, some of have been odd, but all have been recognizably fulfilling their role as a Christian primate. Britain is a Christian country, and the Anglican church has spread far and wide elsewhere. As a departure from the Christianity that rests in Anglican hands, Williams’ advocacy of sharia law is without precedent. More than that, it is hard to think of any statement more damaging to British identity since pacifists in 1940 advised that there should be no resistance to Hitler’s panzers.
Saudi Arabia, Libya, Sudan, Iran, some provinces in Nigeria, have sharia law, and courageous fighters for human rights there are trying to be rid of it. The cruelties of sharia are enormous, especially for women who are treated as they would have been fifteen hundred years ago. Sharia courts survive for domestic issues in some Arab and Muslim countries, and usually conflict with the civil codes imported into those countries from abroad as essential aspects of modernisation. The existence of two systems of law is one reason why these Muslim countries fail to coalesce, and often have no rule of law at all.
Williams went further, saying, “Sharia is not intrinsically to do with any demand for Muslim dominance over non-Muslims.” Wrong. That is an exact definition of what it is. Just try to imagine a sheikh or an imam in any Muslim country saying that there is a great deal to be learnt from the Christians, and Muslims ought to follow their social and religious practices, and enjoy the diversity.
Perhaps Williams is a clown, after all he likes to describe himself as a Druid, which seems to go beyond anything a satirist could invent. Lately he held a secret rite for gay and lesbian priests, something for which under sharia the whole lot, including him, would be stoned or pushed to death from a high cliff. Perhaps he is that dreadful thing, a learned idiot unable to recognise that he is disintegrating what he supposed to be representing. Apparently there is no recognized process for getting rid of an archbishop. So the noise we will all continue to hear in the background is the death rattle of the Church of England, and who knows what its collapse will bring with it.