Archbishop says UK should allow parts of Sharia law

Britain should consider accommodating parts of Muslim Sharia law into the legal system, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Dr Rowan Williams has told the BBC that social cohesion would be better maintained if Muslims were not forced to choose between “cultural loyalty or state loyalty” in legal matters.

“An approach to law which simply said ‘there’s one law for everybody, and that’s all there is to be said’, I think that’s a bit of a danger,” he said.

“There’s a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law.”

Dr Williams qualified his comments by saying: “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.”

Mike Judge of The Christian Institute said: “We would be alarmed at any proposal to incorporate Sharia Law into the British legal system.”

Dr Williams made the remarks on the BBC’s World at One programme on Thursday 7 February 2008. To listen to the interview, click here.