Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4’s World at One that the UK has to “face up to the fact” that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.
Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.
For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.
He says Muslims should not have to choose between “the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty”.
It strikes me that politics is inextricably bound up with culture. A large subculture which refuses to adopt the dominant legal and political values of the state will inevitably change the legal and political values of the state. I fear that our only options are that Muslims in the West will either westernize themselves or they will islamicize Europe over the course of decades. While I’m not for singling Muslims out for most forms of forced assimilation, there also should be no special accommodations that allow Islamic law to have the force of law, even for Muslims. Either you accept Western political traditions and jurisprudence or you move to countries founded on Islamic political traditions and jurisprudence. You cannot have two different sets of laws in the same country without fracturing a culture and, in this case, endangering Western values culturally, politically, and legally.
Thanks to Raven for the story.