Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Melanie Phillips: Replace Archbishop Rowan Williams

The Daily Mail's Melanie Phillips delivers a proper spanking to Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose bizarre thoughts on the inevitability of sharia law in Britain angered so many.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is fighting for his professional life after saying that the application of Islamic Sharia law in this country was "unavoidable" and that it was not an "alien and rival system" to English law.

The unprecedented outpouring of fury at his observations has caused people to question his fitness for office, with at least two members of the Synod already calling upon him to resign.

In his defence, his supporters claim the entire row has been got up by the "tabloid press".

This old chestnut ignores the fact that people went ballistic straight after they heard Dr Williams say on the radio that the principle of one law for everybody was "a bit of a danger" - well before any newspapers even wrote their stories.

[ ... ]

To bolster his claim that there was nothing novel about his proposals, Dr Williams said the state already delegated aspects of law to Jewish religious courts.

The statement repeated that there were "overlapping jurisdictions" between English and Jewish law and that British Jews could choose between two systems of justice.

But this is totally untrue. Jewish law has no legal authority in Britain, and British Jews have never asked for it.

Jewish religious courts can arbitrate in disputes only on a voluntary basis, and Jews must be married and divorced according to the same law of the land as everyone else.

The distinction is crucial. Does Dr Williams not understand this?

[ ... ]

Dr Williams is said to be profoundly shocked by the reaction to his remarks. Well, we are all profoundly shocked by him.

He should stand down and Dr Nazir-Ali, who is trying to defend the religion and culture of this country, should take his place.
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth is more concerned about the controversy than the bizarre thoughts of the man who caused it.

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