Rowan Williams's remarks on Islamic law spark furor

"Misleading choice of words"
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams triggered a storm of controversy by suggesting that Britain should adopt some aspects of Islam’s tough Shari‘a laws into its legal system. He later apologized for any “misleading choice of words” that caused misunderstanding, and received thunderous applause February 11 when he opened the Church of England’s synod gathering.

In a BBC radio interview February 7, Williams said that the 1.6 million Muslims now living in Britain make legal changes all but “unavoidable” and that “as a matter of fact, certain conditions of Shari‘a are already recognized in our society.”

He suggested that parts of Shari‘a dealing with marital disputes and financial affairs could be incorporated into British law. But he pointedly rejected draconian punishments, such as the public beheading or hanging of murderers and drug traffickers, that are practiced in some Islamic societies.


This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $2.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.

This article is available to subscribers only.

To post a comment, log inregister, or use the Facebook comment box.