WASHINGTON -- Islam has a new convert. Some will be surprised, but I am not. The newest convert to the religion of the unshaven face is Archbishop Rowan Williams. Dr. Williams has been the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church in the U.K. However, after his Feb. 7 interview on the BBC, I think we all can agree that he is not so much a spiritual leader as a spiritual capitulator.
In his wonderfully wooly-headed interview, derived from a public lecture delivered by him at the Royal Courts of Justice, Williams called on his countrymen to arrive at "constructive accommodation" with Shariah, which is Islamic law. According to his calculations, the inclusion of Shariah into the British code of law is "unavoidable." Thus if you are visiting London in the future and you appear in a British court, do not be surprised if it is presided over by a smiling mullah. Actually, it is not clear what Rowan knows about Shariah law, and in his BBC interview, he admitted: "I'm no expert on this." Nonetheless, he is calling for the institutionalization of Islam into at least some areas of his country's legal code. Doubtless soon the forward-looking archbishop will be seen lugging a prayer rug over to his local mosque at the appointed hours -- his wife, veiled and obedient, in tow. Shariah law can be pretty demanding.
In some countries where this legal code -- first formulated sometime in the seventh century -- is followed, it enjoins, among other atrocities, the stoning of adulterers, the amputation of body parts, and a kind of female subjugation unimaginable to even the most ardent Western male chauvinist pig. By the way, Shariah law even takes into consideration pigs, as well as mortgages, couture and the care of household pets, which are discouraged. As for pigs, they are considered "unclean." In most countries where Shariah law rules, a ham on rye is malum prohibitum -- pardon my Latin. As I say, Shariah law can be pretty demanding.