Saturday, February 09, 2008

English law and the Shari’a

While the Archbishop of Canterbury is reportedly ‘shocked’ at the reaction to his call for aspects of Shari’a to be incorporated into UK law, and is yet intent on ‘clarifying’ (ie defending) his words, irrespective of the continuing fallout, Cranmer is delighted that the Bishop of Rochester, the Rev Dr Michael Nazir Ali, has issued a definitive refutation:

English law is rooted in the Judaeo-Christian tradition and, in particular, our notions of human freedoms derive from that tradition. In my view, it would be simply impossible to introduce a tradition, like Shari’a, into this Corpus without fundamentally affecting its integrity.

The Shari’a is not a generalised collection of dispositions. It is articulated in highly concrete codes called fiqh. It would have to be one or the other, or all, of these which would have to be recognised. All of these schools would be in tension with the English legal tradition on questions like monogamy, provisions for divorce, the rights of women, custody of children, laws of inheritance and of evidence. This is not to mention the relation of freedom of belief and of expression to provisions for blasphemy and apostasy.

We should learn from the debate on this question which recently took place in Canada. Here it was mainly Muslim women's groups that succeeded in preventing the application of Islamic law in matrimonial matters. The importance of a single law for all was strongly re-affirmed.

As with the Beth-din of the Jewish community, it is perfectly possible for religious communities to rule on personal, family and financial matters as long as this does not interfere with the workings of the law of the land. People can use such rulings to inform their conscience and to submit to them voluntarily. Conscientious objection, on religious grounds, should be recognised by the law of the land, as far as possible, but this is quite different from a parallel system of law operating alongside it.

We welcome progressive views on the development of Shari’a. These will enable Muslims to relate better to the contemporary world and will ease the situation of non-Muslims in many Muslim countries. They are not, however, an argument for disturbing the integrity of a legal tradition which is rooted in the quite different moral and spiritual vision deriving from the Bible.

+Michael Roffen
7 February 2008


Cranmer looks forward to the day when such a statement might be signed +Michael Cantaur.

28 Comments:

Anonymous mary 'now with added liberal makeover' tudor said...

My Majesty does not see eye to eye with your hereticalness on this - or much else - but shall say the royal peace on Nazir-Ali anyway. When Cantuar was last up for grabs Nazir-Ali made a complete exhibition of himself slobbering over the job. Remember the ridiculous incense episode when Yosser decided he had better make overtures to the higher reaches of the C of E? My Majesty was well brought up and was taught that there was a distinction between ambition (okay) and vulgar ambition (not). Yosser probably blew it last time with his display of vulgar ambition.

Yosser's blatant ambition also makes him a divisive - and dividing figure - note his constant teaming up with clowns like Jensen, Venables, Akinola etc in disruptive ventures. I look forward to the brawl between him and Akinola over who will be 'Pope' of the wreckers. My main criticism of R Williams is that he has bent the stick too far in attempting to humour these characters - it's a waste of time - their agenda is clear and they should be faced down and not humoured.

Have a nice day :D

9 February 2008 11:56  
Anonymous oiznop said...

You can't get much more divisive the Rowan Williams. He has split the CofE and the Anglican Communion from top to bottom. At least you know where you stand with the Bishop of Rochester, and can comprehend his meaning!!

9 February 2008 12:08  
Anonymous mary tudor said...

oiznop said...
You can't get much more divisive the Rowan Williams. He has split the CofE and the Anglican Communion from top to bottom. At least you know where you stand with the Bishop of Rochester, and can comprehend his meaning!!

Rowan Williams didn't invent either of the two issues splitting the CofE and the Anglican Communion from top to bottom (a) the ordained ministry of women and (b) peculiar fixations with what people in general and the clergy in particular get up to in bed (see Tutu's recent sensible comments on the latter fixation)

I understand Ypsser's meaning all too clearly - I just don't like it.

9 February 2008 12:29  
OpenID gerv.net said...

If the current Anglican discussion on homosexuality are "peculiar fixations with what people in general and the clergy in particular get up to in bed", then would a discussion of adultery fall into the same category?

Perhaps we should stop getting so uptight about all this morality stuff. Where did we get that from, anyway? <shrug> After all, surely God doesn't care about what people get up to in bed. (Hasn't he heard of the "two consenting adults" principle?) So why should his church?

9 February 2008 13:33  
Blogger Stan!! said...

Islam amd Sharia are a total package. I'm afraid we need to be very clear about this.It's 'yes' or 'no' to Sharia -and other Islamic demands for concessions and please for the sake of everything we value -it has to be 'No' -End of debate.

9 February 2008 14:40  
Anonymous Time will Tell said...

Your Grace,

We beg you, beseech York to give us guidance.

9 February 2008 15:34  
Blogger Dave said...

At last some sense from the Anglican leadership. This man talks sense as does the Bishop of York.
Williams lacks clarity, charisma and is no leader of men/women. A bit like Brown really. So how did he get the job? Was it his turn?

9 February 2008 17:13  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

gerv.

SEXUAL. IMMORALITY. DOOMS. NATIONS.

9 February 2008 17:19  
Anonymous irene lancaster said...

Some thoughts on the matter:

http://irenelancaster.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/02/with-the-abcs-
a.html

9 February 2008 18:08  
Anonymous mary tudor said...

gerv.net said...
If the current Anglican discussion on homosexuality are "peculiar fixations with what people in general and the clergy in particular get up to in bed", then would a discussion of adultery fall into the same category?


short answer: no

short explanation: context is all

There is remarkably little in the gospels about sex and nothing about sexuality. Good example :D

dave said...

You remind My Majesty of that Graham Kendrick - there is a special circle of hell reserved for him :D

9 February 2008 18:10  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

i still maintain that rowan williams lecture to the law society is a theological masterpiece.

however the bishop of rochester is right , it will create a resentful and divided society. the muslim mortgages one always gets me , the same amounts of money gets transacted (i hope) and the lender still holds the deeds until it is repaid.

theres also the issue of religous practices that are adheared to despite our enlightenment researchs on the practiceses cruelty .

arbishop carey was portrayed as "cumbyah" with tamborine and multicoloured gowns , rowan williams gives good theology , what we dont need is COE for dummies in wahtever or whoever comes next.

i hope we get to hear his next set of lectures unhindered , wether in the position of arcbishop or not , iam sure that he is full filling gods purpose , but it is not "daily bread" and at least he isnt a phoney tv evangelist.
high intellect does not always have many followers "isahia berlin" , "howsboun" but there works do stand .

it is true that we face a choice but not at the expense of the deep truths which rowan grapples with .
i am not appologist it is just that times may have changed to move on the foundational , but the next step should not be airhead or syrupy , but cold niether .

9 February 2008 19:11  
Anonymous Cinnamon said...

"As with the Beth-din of the Jewish community, it is perfectly possible for religious communities to rule on personal, family and financial matters as long as this does not interfere with the workings of the law of the land. "

I'm sorry I have to disagree here, because there is the problem of peer pressure. And frankly, I don't see why anyone should be stopped from starting a new family by the stupid refusal of ones' husband to a Get either.

Likewise, those sharia courts should all be hauled in front of the court, for undermining the monopoly of the crown over justice.

Besides that -- imagine we accept family sharia law. Just before divorce, my husband of 30 years, with whom I've built up a company which is in his name, and with whom I have 6 children. My hubby being the smart cookie that he is, decides that I'm getting a bit old, crabby and ugly and so, one thing leads to another and we're thinking about divorce. He then decides to become a Mohamedan, and the way that sharia is, all his kids are now Mohamedans. He then can take a second, third and fourth wife, or simply dismiss me with an SMS, without being liable for alimony, or a share of our wealth, and I won't get my kids to live with me either.

Or, if I am a Mohamedan lady, suddenly I'm a person without rights, no longer the equal of my fellow citizen, because my marriage is a minor formality that can be dismissed without consequences for the husband.

It all is not a good idea, we either have one law or the other, but not one, the other and both.

9 February 2008 20:50  
OpenID gerv.net said...

Horse: it's called sarcasm.

mary tudor said: "There is remarkably little in the gospels about sex and nothing about sexuality."

The Gospels != the Bible, or even the New Testament. Are they the only bits you read? Still, your assertion is not correct. Jesus refers to the situation God created in the Garden of Eden with approval; anything he says about marriage is implicitly about sexuality.

And when did we decide which bits of God's moral law were important and which weren't based on frequency of mention?

The gospels say quite a lot about doing good to the poor - but those parts of what the church does fit with the secular agenda, and so don't tend to be particularly controversial. So there's no arguing about them. Clearly, the major and persistent arguments are going to come at those places where Christianity is most distant from the world's view of things. Two hundred years ago, it was slavery; today, it's homosexuality.

9 February 2008 21:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it too much to hope that this vile prelate's fooling may be the straw the broke the camel's back and triggered the counterttack against the wretched doctrine of multiculturalism and the islamification of England? *

9 February 2008 21:40  
Blogger Uncle Joe said...

Dear Queen Mary,

What fun I would have had with you.

Hugs,

Joe

9 February 2008 21:46  
Anonymous Martin Sewell said...

Whatever your opinion of what Rowan Williams is reported to have said, it is interesting to read the full text of his lecture which appears on his website, though it helps to be both sober and have an interets in Jurisprudence if you are to finish it.

9 February 2008 21:51  
Anonymous mary tudor said...

Uncle Joe said...
Dear Queen Mary,

What fun I would have had with you.

Hugs,

Joe

Saucy!!!

My Majesty regrets to say that yellow eyes and pockmarked skin do not do it for her. A bit of he old burning at the stake was coolies but you also somewhat overdid it on the old bumping of front too.

Plus I am promised to a dead Anglo Saxon.

So that would be a 'no'

9 February 2008 22:22  
Blogger Uncle Joe said...

Dear Queen Mary,

Unless Mr. Beria had found you attractive, romance was not what I had in mind when I said "What fun I would have had with you".

Please excuse the misunderstanding,

Hugs,

Soso.

9 February 2008 22:40  
Anonymous mary tudor said...

oh and gervase.net...

some reading matter...

http://www.jpnordin.com/christianity/bible/hs/hs.htm


remember that the church condemned usury and condoned slavery, then did a 180 degree turn and condemned slavery and condoned usury

>shrugs<

9 February 2008 22:43  
Anonymous gorgeous pouting mary tudor said...

Uncle Joe said...
Dear Queen Mary,

Unless Mr. Beria had found you attractive, romance was not what I had in mind when I said "What fun I would have had with you".

Please excuse the misunderstanding,


don't push it mush...

9 February 2008 22:45  
Blogger John M Ward said...

Mary Tudor wrote: "You remind My Majesty of that Graham Kendrick - there is a special circle of hell reserved for him :D "

What's wrong with Graham Kendrick? He has written some superb stuff, much of which we use in my own church (Salvation Army, no less).

9 February 2008 22:57  
Anonymous mary tudor exiting singing the 'pangae lingua' said...

John M Ward said...
Mary Tudor wrote: "You remind My Majesty of that Graham Kendrick - there is a special circle of hell reserved for him :D "

What's wrong with Graham Kendrick? He has written some superb stuff, much of which we use in my own church (Salvation Army, no less).

-weary sigh-

My Majesty finds his stuff trite - and My Majesty can find stronger terms. My Majesty would be happy to advise on good taste in liturgical music if asked :D

9 February 2008 23:29  
Anonymous mary 'good taste' tudor said...

now My Majesty is really off to bed but is graciously pleased to leave a parting gift - copy, paste, crank up da volume and enjoy ...

http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/n/m/nmtmtell.htm

9 February 2008 23:37  
Anonymous mary tudor said...

parting, parting shot...

My Majesty knew this already but...

Carey is a weasel

Fact

9 February 2008 23:48  
Anonymous najistani said...

We can laugh all we like, but a rather unpleasant situation has to be faced: the Church of England is headed by a person who is regarded by the vast majority of his potential flock as a total liability.

Others would go further and describe him as a dhimmi, appeaser, quisling, traitor, sneering self-loathing academic Marxist, or pseudo-intellectual parasite.

But whichever way you look at it, the Church of England is personified by in the media and popular consciousness by a leader who is the object of the ridicule, loathing and contempt of his congregation.

He should resign; or if this prospect offends his pride he should do the honorable thing and put his affairs in order then retire to his study with a bottle of whisky and a revolver.

9 February 2008 23:49  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

Having studied the Archbishop's lecture further, it is apparent that in a low key manner he is not so much taking up the cudgels on behalf of Sharia Law ( though it might be easy to think it) but rather pointing out that religious communities - including our own - have proper interests that ought to be properly accommodated by the secular legal world. Had he stuck to that, and perhaps made his point with reference to the appalling treatment of the Catholic
Adoption agencies, there might have been less controversy.

His great mistake ( and some may not forgive him for it) was to found his ctitique for and on behalf of those promoting Sharia Law, and in his ante penultimate paragraph, committed the howler of postulating complementary jurisdictions.

I suspect that many are angry because he appears to show greater concerns for the "injustices" of those who are not his flock than those who are.

Of course, had he wanted to challenge the secular view of the world in a manner approved by the Sharia folk he might have examined the jurisprudence underlying the Female Circumcision Act of 2002, whereby the adult " woman's right to choose" and to have such an operation in safe clinical surrondings was outlawed by the feminist sisterhood, which has no similar objection to either abortion or gender re-assignment. It is, from a jurisprudential point of view, an interesting example of secular hypocisy.

10 February 2008 09:53  
OpenID gerv.net said...

mary tudor: Re: http://www.jpnordin.com/christianity/bible/hs/hs.htm

I admit I haven't had time to study this fully, but here are some initial comments.

Chapter 4 contains an enormous straw man, which isn't a good start. But there's not much point in interacting with the arguments and conclusions, because it's clear that we have differing presuppositions. The author puts Reason above Scripture in chapter 6, and I don't. (Amusingly, they do so on the basis of historical precedent in the Radical Reformers, while in other places rejecting historical precedent as normative.)

The author's rejection of Biblical infallibility (albeit incorrectly understood, in chapter 4) and elevation of Reason means that they can draw almost any conclusion. The bits they don't like are fallible, and the other bits can be Reasonably interpreted to bolster the case.

Gerv

10 February 2008 09:59  
Anonymous Latimer said...

Before pronouncing himself, the good Archbishop Williams would have done well to request the learned opinion of Dr. Michael Nazir Ali, Bishop of Rochester. This estimable gentelman is thoroughly acquainted with the real dangers of what Archbishop Williams seems only barely informed of...the deadly intolerance of Islamists. People need protection from Sharia, and they are increasingly providing that protection in Islamic countries. Why complicate the situation judges already have to deal with? If secular Moslems don't want to use Sharia, they would become stigmatised and then open to pursuit as apostates, putting their lives at risk. All for what gain?

11 February 2008 17:55  

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