Lifestyle & Belief

Debating Islamic law in Britain

Yesterday Rowan Williams was in particular talking about the Islamic rules governing marital or financial issues. In fact Britain already incorporates some aspects of Sharia law into British daily life. Britain requires meat to be slaughtered according to Islamic practices and the British government has approved Sharia style mortgages. Still the archbishop's words were explosive. Some Muslims, politicians from the left and right and lawyers expressed opposition. One British lawmaker said the British legal system should apply to everybody. This politician said Muslims must integrate and be under one law or it's the death of democracy. These reactions highlight concerns in the UK and across Europe about how best to integrate Muslims into Western style society. Some Muslims have been marginalized, a fact which hit home when four British Muslims bombed the subway. Many in response have argued European Muslims must integrate, and the archbishop is taking a different position saying that we must recognize their cultural practices. But he's not calling for extreme Sharia Law. One aspect of Sharia which raises eyebrows is its approach to marriage and divorce and women. This Muslim lawyer says the UK has nothing to fear in adopting these kinds of practices. The debate sometimes comes down to public versus private practices. The archbishop is worried that Muslim practices will start happening underground if they're ignored and when that happens a community becomes isolated.

Comments