Friday, February 08, 2008

Sharia Fearmongering

By Cernig

There's been a lot of Islamophobic mouthbreathing over the Archbishop of Canterbury's comment yesterday that Sharia Law in the UK is "unavoidable". British politicians and pundits on both sides of the pond have picked up on the bare bones of the story and fallen over each other to demand the Archbishop's resignation or to complain that this would be the "thin edge of the wedge".

But all he actually said (see the BBC's original story) was that Muslims should have the same option to choose a private court (using Sharia Law) for civil disputes as Jewish Brits do. Indeed, Williams said he was fully aware of how draconian full Sharia Law can be:
He stresses that "nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that's sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states; the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women as well".

...Dr Williams noted that Orthodox Jewish courts already operated, and that the law accommodated the anti-abortion views of some Christians.

"The whole idea that there are perfectly proper ways the law of the land pays respect to custom and community, that's already there," he said.

People may legally devise their own way to settle a dispute in front of an agreed third party as long as both sides agree to the process.

Muslim Sharia courts and the Jewish Beth Din which already exist in the UK come into this category.

The country's main Beth Din at Finchley in north London oversees a wide range of cases including divorce settlements, contractual rows between traders and tenancy disputes.
So why the outcry over a reasonable call for parity? Well, mostly it seems to me because Islamophobia is the new anti-Semitism and politicians are appeasing such "Protocols of the Elders of Islam" rightwing conspiracy theorists as long as their Blimpoid bigotry goosesteps to a nationalistic beat.

Meanwhile, over at Pajamas Media, Roger Kimball is using King Henry II's words which were interpreted as a command to assassinate a previous Archbishop of Canterbury as a headline, then with weasel words hidden in the article takes them back - sort off:
I certainly would not wish to have the question “Who will rid us of this troublesome priest?” answered as Henry’s question was answered. But where Becket faithfully served his church and was savagely punished for it, Rowan Williams loses no opportunity to besmirch his Church and is lavishly praised for his perfidy.
There will continue to be more outrage directed at Archbishop Williams for suggesting parity of rights for Jews and Muslims than there will be at the US art critic and ideologue for sailing so close to a call for the assassination of the clerical head of the Church of England. That's your appeasement right there.

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