Ken Connor

You would think Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and the head of the Anglican Communion would have enough to occupy his time. The Communion is, after all, on the verge of coming apart because of the U.S. Episcopal Church's apostate and un-Biblical ordination of an openly gay and adulterous bishop. However, Williams has found the time for something new and more exciting—promoting Sharia Law.

The Anglican/Episcopal divide is old news and I am sure the Archbishop finds it tiresome. But what is at stake is the authority of Scripture; whether the Word of God is binding on its adherents or not. Williams has hardly distinguished himself on this essential issue. His response has been ponderously slow, confusing in its assessment, and much more accommodating of textual "relativism" than most members of the Communion would like. In short, he has punted on the issue by cravenly trying to accommodate both sides.

Now Williams is making another craven attempt at accommodation, but this time he has raised the ire of his countrymen, and not just that of his communicants. In a recent BBC interview, Williams found dangerous any understanding of law which says, "there's one law for everybody and that's all there is to be said, and anything else that commands your loyalty or allegiance is completely irrelevant in the processes of the courts." Rather, he thought, the British government should consider adding new Islamic laws for the rising number of Muslim communities in the nation.

Essentially, what Williams is advocating is a parallel system of justice in the British Isles; the common law for the common folk and Sharia for the Muslims. Of course, Sharia law governs every aspect of daily existence for a Muslim so adding "some aspects of Muslim law", as the Archbishop has suggested, is not practical. If Williams' muddle-headed suggestion is adopted, equal protection in Britain would no longer exist. Neither would the idea that the nation is one of "laws" and not "men", since different laws would apply to different men (or women), depending on their ethnicity and religion. Given the draconian impact of Sharia law on women, they would have a great deal to fear.

Concepts like the "rights of man", "equal justice", "freedom of conscience", and the notion that "the law is king"—hallmarks of the British justice system—do not exist in Islamic countries. One need only compare the principles of due process that exist in British courts with those that are used in Islamic courts (there are none) to get the picture. The protections of the British justice system are no doubt one reason why Islamists are flocking to Britain. Undoubtedly, they also likely account for why there does not seem to be a similar exodus of Brits to Islamic countries.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.