I’m fed up with people who don’t know what they are talking about jumping on band wagons because it suits their purposes.
Question Time (BBC) over the past few weeks has seen a whole load of people calling for a referendum on the new European ‘constitution’. It is painfully obvious that the vast majority of these people have never read the proposed document, know very little about it or its implications but because the newpaper they read has decided it’s a bad thing then they agree.
The same has happened with Archbishop Rowan Williams and his comments on faith and the law. It has been widely reported that Williams called for the introduction of sharia law in the UK. Let’s just think about that for a moment. The Archbishop of Canterbury thinks we should be governed by Islamic law. Really? Of course that’s not what he said and anyone who has half a brain and who actually listened to what he said knows that’s not what he said! But why should the facts get on the way of an intelligent man making some thoughtful remarks on the biggest issue of our time?
And before you think I’m a big fan, I’m not really. I think he is a brilliant thinker but I’d prefer him to be a bit more decisive as a leader. That said, I’d rather have a thinker than a reactionary in his role.
The other day Williams suggested that Muslims should perhaps (do you see the important word here… perhaps – he’s encouraging people to discuss the idea) be able to use certain parts (not chopping people’s hands off for theft, although I’m not sure the Daily Mail would have that much of an issue with this) of sharia law to settle disputes like divorce, inheritance and other family problems where Islamic law is not at odds with civil law. These decisions would then be ratified by a civil court. His reason? Some people, of all faiths, feel that God is a higher authority than the civil court. Again, anyone want to disagree that some people, Christian, Muslim or Jew , think that? Why should these people not be able to settle their legal disputes using their religious frameworks as long as they are not in conflict with the civil law?
This is the same principle as DIY divorce, or even mediated divorce. You sit down with a third party, work out who gets what and then the court ratifies that decision as long as both parties are happy with the arbitration. If not, the court decides in the usual fashion.
Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with that? No, thought not. But it makes a good story… as long as the facts don’t get in the way.