« Top Twelve Theology Books of Christian History | Main | The Pragmatic Religion Test »

February 07, 2008


I have long since ceased to be shocked or even especially surprised by what this Archbishop says. He has long operated by a different worldview from the orthodox.

I do hope GB does not become as morally spineless as to implement such an untennable legal system.

Brits are giving away their country to these Islamic bullies who wish to put them under Sharia law. And doing it willingly. It's disgusting.

Churchill is rolling in his grave.

Oh golly, gee whiz, wow. The first word that comes to mind is 'twit'.

I'm not certain on whose behalf Rowan Williams proposes to speak as the Anglican Communion is in complete disarray.

Perhaps he speaks because he can, not necessarily because he has anything substantive to say.

I am no legal expert, but given that much of US law is based on British common law. It is quite probable that Muslims in Great Britain have had the right to live by Sharia since before an immigration took place. People don't need to go to courts to settle their disputes -- it is often preferable not to. Out of court settlements happen regularly.

I too have to question Rowan Williams authority and motive, but Melinda and others what makes you right?

Honestly asking and in need of a more thorough explanation of what sharia law is and what it mandates. What, if anything, makes the British legal system superior?

Rowan Williams is just Neville Chamberlain in clerical garb.

Swishhhh! Nothin but net.

Brad B

"What, if anything, makes the British legal system superior?"

Here's a primer on Sharia law published by the Council of Foreign Relations:

Here's an excerpt:

"What happens in the case of apostasy?

The traditional punishment for Islamic apostasy--leaving Islam for another religion or otherwise abandoning the Islamic faith--is death. The best-known modern case involved author Salman Rushdie, whose 1988 novel, "The Satanic Verses," offended many devout Muslims. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, declared Rushdie an apostate and condemned him to death. In 1993, an Egyptian court ruled that the writings of Nasr Abu Zayd, a professor, were evidence of apostasy. The court ordered that Zayd be divorced from his Muslim wife (Zayd now lives with his wife in the Netherlands). The vast majority of Muslim nations no longer prescribe death for apostates. On the other hand, says Powers, "Many modern Islamic nations say they guarantee freedom of religion. But this does not necessarily include the right to speak openly against Islam and act on those ideas." Conversions from Islam to other religions are generally not permitted in Muslim countries."

In this regard, British law is superior than Sharia, it seems to me.


>Honestly asking and in need
>of a more thorough
>explanation of what sharia
>law is and what it mandates.
> What, if anything, makes
>the British legal system

A need for westerners to "further" investigate "Sharia Law" and "What, if anything, makes the British legal system superior"?

Alvin, you are either in junior high school or on strong medication.

Anyone who even finishes high school should know of the superiority of western law, the British system in particular. Nothing is perfect, of course.

As for Sharia Law, send it and its adherents back to where they came from.


Hi Alvin, there is an Islamic Law Blog:


If the application of Sharia law was analogous to a Beth Din it would be unproblematic:

"The Rabbinical Court of California and the West Coast, headed by HaRav Gavriel Cohen is authorized to handle all matters of Jewish religious law, and is designated by the State of Israel to serve the western United States, Canada, Mexico and the Far East in matters of Halacha (Jewish law)."

The West Coast Rabbinical Court - Beth Din of Beverly Hills
331 N Alta Vista Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90036
Phone 323-939-0298


However it sounds like dr. Williams has something else in mind:

"But Dr Williams said an approach to law which simply said "there's one law for everybody and that's all there is to be said, and anything else that commands your loyalty or allegiance is completely irrelevant in the processes of the courts - I think that's a bit of a danger"."

This sounds subversive of the rule of law. We spend 800 years trying to get it right and this fool comes along. Oh well.

"63. Wherefore we will and firmly order that the English Church be free, and that the men in our kingdom have and hold all the aforesaid liberties, rights, and concessions, well and peaceably, freely and quietly, fully and wholly, for themselves and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all respects and in all places forever, as is aforesaid."

My expectations for Rowan Williams, a professed homosexual Episcopalian priest, are so low that this doesn't shock me at all.

The question that I have to ask is why are we labeling this man as a Christian?

This man is no more fulfilling his role as a Christian leader than Jeroboam and Rehoboam were fulfilling their role as King of Israel and Judah.

Yes, constructive blogging!!!

Frank and Alan, thank you for the substantive posts.

Chris, I agree that American students show know a good deal about law by the time they graduate high school. The law that would be most pertinent is American Law and so I don't think the Sharia law would or should get much focus. Nobody explicitly teaches the law of Moses in public schools, so it is not fair to expect most people who have been educated in American public schools to have a comprehensive knowledge of Sharia. Less attitude and more substance (not of the controlled sort either). If I should have to visit high school again for a refresher course it should be for my poor grammar at the beginning of the previous post.

The following link should provide a nice start to genuine conversation:


Frank, you pick out two powerful illustrations, is this the norm? On what authority were the actions claimed? Scripture? Tradition? Many adherents to Islam would claim that this is not Sharia, are they mistaken, or covering for what they recognize as embarrassing? You mentioned Ayatollahs, is an Ayatollah really the supreme authority of Sharia, or is he just another guy ordering assassinations? That is, does the Law stand as misinterpreted by him or is he the law maker? Is Sharia static or can it be amended?

Satanic Verses...was it any good? Now I am interested in reading what could have gotten someone killed. Maybe After I finish the "Top Twelve Theology Books of Christian History."

For the record, the murder of a writer simply because of his opinion or viewpoint, or the stripping of marital status from an otherwise legally wedded couple is not anything I agree with.

Alvin, expect attitude when asking dumb questions.

Asking "What, if anything, makes the British legal system superior? (to Sharia Law)" is a ridiculous question for anyone with at least a high school education.

And nowhere did I claim that American (or Canadian) high school students do or should study Sharia Law or Mosaic Law.

I'm not sure if it's your grammar but Salman Rushdie has not been murdered.

Ayatollahs with a capital A administer Sharia Law in Iran.

Alvin - You're kidding, right?

How about we ship you off to an Islamic country such as Iran, and then you will be able to see the difference firsthand?

Chris, see the blog on Sneering vs Arguing. If the challenge is so easy and obvious then answer it. I expect an answer making mention of authority, rights, enforcement, structure... something more than a rhetorical "yuh-huh."

Pay more attention to conditionals such as "could" and "would".

Mo, all you are offering is prejudice. Please offer comparison.


I'm not trying to argue.

I'm just sneering at your stupid question.

The others have offered information.

If you want more then Google it.


Hi Alvin, you might find this interesting:


Ayelet Shachar, University of Toronto and Harvard Law, also wrote a book on multicultural jurisdictions.

William's full speech is at:


I just came across this on Volokh:


Eugene's read on this seems pretty on point after reading the Archbishop's speech. As the Archbishop also favors constraints on speech that I find unreasonable, I am still inclined to be a little suspicious but on the whole there is little remarkable in the speech when read in full. Much of what he proposes is already pretty well settled American law. One of the problems with blogging from newspaper stories is that a story s/b where ones research starts.

If Williams was proposing parallel legal systems that is one thing; if he is proposing something analogous to current American practice re: contract and arbitration that is another. Unfortunately the stories and the speech itself are somewhat unclear.

Immediately going to the more extreme and problematic aspects of Sharia law is probably an unwarranted overreaction.

Your question was hardly stupid as much of Sharia Law is rather mundane and its development seems to proceed along the lines of the Common Law. The differences are likely due to the simple fact that the nation in which the Common Law developed was also one of the seats of the Enlightenment; we became modern and secular while the development of Sharia Law was centered in areas that remained mired in traditional mores and cultural conservatism.

Alvin - It is beyond belief that I have to waste my time doing this. But just to say that I did:

Gender apartheid of women.
Cutting off hands for stealing. Stoning for adultery-almost always it is only the woman.
Beatings or even murder of women when they are the victims of rape.
The horror that is female genital mutilation.
Temporary marriage (only for men of course)
Death for 'apostasy'

All of these are sanctioned by sharia law.

This is comparable to British law, how? (Or American law, or the laws of any civilized country?)

Mo, thank you. And your response is not a waste of time for the following reason: it reveals the way you (personally) rationalize your response when you react the way that you do. The things you cite are horrific. Disparity and inequity in law are chief concerns to you. You desire for legal systems to treat woman fairly certainly this is a feature of a just legal system. Of course, there are disparities and inequities in other legal systems even in the American and British systems. Although the degree of disparity or inequity does vary, to declare a legal system superior by comparing disparities and inequities is really only a statement of preference.

There is more to a legal system than its canon of offenses and punishments. And penalties should fit the crimes, but still even here in America the question of what is "cruel and unusual" remains. With regards to Sharia, the canon does seem debatable. See the BBC article I posted a link to under the section "So how are rulings made?" and take note of what are called fatwas.

Also Mo, note that you had picked on Iran as a country you thought would serve to prove your point, but the law of Iran is not necessarily the Sharia of another country. Inherent to your point, I think, is that individual countries have the right to self-governance and self determination in regards to law.

What I was hoping to get into a discussion about would relate more to structure and authority than to individual statutes or verdicts. If the British legal system could come to include something called Sharia that introduces the sorts of things you pointed to and still be the British legal system then the British system is not superior but instead able to be usurped. If the British legal system is superior to a system, something would have to make it immune or more resistant to the incorporation of injustice than the system to which it is compared.

"And your response is not a waste of time for the following reason: it reveals the way you (personally) rationalize your response when you react the way that you do."

What rationalization? And what 'reaction'?

If the examples I gave are not enough to show that there is an objective difference between sharia law and the laws of civilized countries, then there's nothing more I can say.

This is not my opinion. This is objective, observable fact.

Hi Mo, we use sharia law in the United States.

The comments to this entry are closed.