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The Archbishop of Allah

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Friday, 15 February 2008

It seems that the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the world’s 80 million member strong Anglican Communion, has endorsed introducing sharia law into Great Britain. If true, then he was appallingly foolish.

Sharia law is simultaneously undemocratic and unChristian.

Dr Rowan Williams’ embrace of sharia law to the bosom of the English legal system was condemned by many quarters, not least by his immediate predecessor, Lord Carey.


But the clearest and least ambiguous reprimand came from the Pakistani-born (and convert to Christianity) Bishop of Rochester, the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali, who said it would be "simply impossible" to bring sharia law into British law "without fundamentally affecting its integrity". Sharia “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”.

And the Right Reverend knows of what he speaks, having fled the Islamic republic of Pakistan in 1986 when his life was endangered. Some 17 years earlier, at the age of 20, he departed Roman Catholicism for Anglicanism and before that, the Right Reverend’s father turned his back on the teachings of Mohammed in favour of those of Jesus Christ.

Sadly Dr Williams is not alone in hoisting the white flag. The Church’s No 2, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, refused to discuss the matter of sharia with the media, murmuring only that “sharia law would never happen in Britain”.

While politicians, from the Prime Minister Gordon Brown down to leaders of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, all echoed their revulsion at Dr Williams’ comments, the Muslim Council of Britain was swift to come to Dr Williams' side, describing his comments as "thoughtful".

Islamic “scholars” and self styled “moderates” like Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-born Muslim, Oxford University professor, voiced that: "… we, as Muslims, need to come up with something that we abide by (such as) the common law, and within these latitudes there are possibilities for us to be faithful to Islamic principles."

Is Professor Ramadan saying that Muslims should follow English laws, only when those laws do not conflict with the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed? It sure looks that way. Unsurprisingly really, when you consider where Professor Ramadan’s values originate. His grandfather was (Egyptian) Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Interestingly, the group, established in 1928, was banned in 1954 specifically because it demanded that Egypt be governed under sharia law.


Dr Williams’ comments while scandalous must be seen in the context of what is happening throughout Europe. Yes, he was appeasing Muslims, but that’s been a European tradition for the last three decades. One can be thankful that it’s taken so long for the Anglican Church to embrace the teachings of Mohammed.

Some 30 years ago, Muslim immigrants began disembarking in European ports. The European establishment promoted a romantic view of these new Europeans. They were considered to be “victims” and any criticism of them was considered “racist”.

To Europe’s elites, racism was the sole cause of problems for immigrants, and by being “anti-racist”, Europeans would extinguish all of the immigrants’ woes. Furthermore, being Muslim it was believed (and still is) had everything to do with cuisine (think shawarma, tabouleh and baba ganuj), clothing (think hijab and burqa) and skin colour. Being Muslim, it was felt, had nothing whatsoever to do with holding certain beliefs.

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About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at

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