Muslim leaders have urged Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities, to support Islamic family law in Britain to stop youths joining Islamic extremists…Dr Pasha said he was not seeking sharia law for criminal offences but he said Muslim communities in Britain should be able to operate Islamic codes for marriage and family life. “In Scotland, they have a separate law. It doesn’t mean they are not part of the UK. We are asking for Islamic law which covers marriage and family life. We are willing to co-operate but there should be a partnership. They should understand our problems then we will understand their problems. He said that Ms Kelly had said she would “look sympathetically at all the suggestions” that had been made.
Lets hope that the “secretary of state for communities” was just being polite. It ought to go without saying that this is a terrible idea. For the state to differentiate people by reference to their religious affiliation is a punch in the face to the notion of individuality and, quite, obviously a recipe for more division, additional balkanization and increased ‘communal’ strife. It also enshrines the idea that the most significant part of someone’s identity is always their faith. It may be for some people (I suppose – although, as a general rule, I would be amazed), but it is no part of the government’s business to assert it. In fact at a time of rising Islamic extremism, it’s the government’s interest to contradict it.
Meanwhile, I suppose it would be rude of me to ask who was it, exactly, that elected these ‘community’ leaders.