The Mad Archbishop Strikes Again

Sharia law row: Archbishop is in shock as he faces demands to quit and criticism from Lord Carey

I’m in favor of choice of laws for arbitration, but I suspect that that is not what the madman from Canterbury has in mind…… I wonder how he reconciles his tepid support for rights for gay people with community-based Sharia law.

NOTE: I got a helpful email from a friend in the UK who is a Muslim and a libertarian and he told me that the Archbishop’s speech had been misreported and that it should be interpreted along the lines of “choice of laws for arbitration.” I based my interpretation on the earlier endorsement by the Archbishop of punishments for â??thoughtless and cruelâ? styles of speaking about religion. But my friend’s letter is thoughtful and he sent me the entire text of the Archbishop’s speech (which has a copyright notice on it from “Rowan Williams”), so I shall read both and reconsider.

4 Responses to “The Mad Archbishop Strikes Again”

  1. What about Sharia law?…You know, I think the government should immediately adopt Sharia law, starting with spending. No more borrowing. No more federal debt. Put the politicians under burkas and shut them up to cut down on CO2 emissions. I’ll grant that much. Other than than, I don’t know. Presumably, Americans within their shores can’t consent to arbitration that violates inalienable rights. There’s trouble enough if someone terminally ill wants help dying. What’ll we have?…terminally ill people joining a Sharia commune and engaging in public fornication so they can fall under the sword of Mustafa so-and-so. As if we don’t have complicated enough legal system as it is. And most importantly, they have a problem with God’s love of Israel. The ‘indian reservation’ is intriguing. At least they’d be used to living on dry, arrid land. Maybe we should put them on tribal reservations to drink beer and chant, and give their Mercedes to the indians. Seriously though, if some separatist muslims want to live in a sovereign area subject to Sharia law, make people pray to Mecca, cut off heads, and engage in a primitive, basic disregard for everything that liberty represents, I suggest they simply GET OUT (to borrow an emphatic from Mike Savage). Enough is enough.

  2. David, calm down. This is a great idea. We’ll be able to cut off the hands of thieves, stone adultresses to death (but only if there are four male witnesses!), and execute people who convert from Islam to something else.

    Let’s be serious: I realize there’s no single authoritative body of law called Sharia — but is there *any* version of Sharia that respects my right to publicly proclaim that Islam is completely false, Mohammed entirely wrong about anything and no prophet at all, and that Sharia is utter nonsense? This stuff is religious law, and has no more business being promoted by the state than does creationism. But at least creationism isn’t homicidal.

  3. Tom G. Palmer

    Here is the email that I received from my Muslim and libertarian friend in the UK:
    Saw your blog post re Rowan Williams’ speech last week. I was at the event and I came out thinking “Wow! Even the Archbishop thinks a market-based legal system is inevitable!”. He did not actually say he “supports” sharia. He said that if we really want diversity to work for common good, then the introduction of market elements in the legal system is unavoidable. I took it to mean that in a diverse and plural world, even the head of a church accepts that libertarian principles are, simply, indispensible!

    It is unfortunate that nowadays when we think of the “sharia”, our minds are automatically directed towards the brutality of some people who claim to be practicing the sharia, whereas they don’t even live on the same continent as the sharia. This is just the same as when some people in the Muslim majority countries think of liberalism, their minds wander towards hedonism, anarchism and materialism, whereas these are quite different. These are misconception. They are wrong and they need to be corrected.

    And, I can assure you that the Archbishop made it clear that he was not referring to the “typical” understanding of the sharia. Unfortunately the press did not report the speech in its proper context and the dialogue during the Q&A (where many clarifications were made) was completely ignored by the British media. I do think the Archbishop has been misconstrued in this particular case.

    Some of his critics are saying that it is impossible to reconcile the sharia with the British legal system because the latter is rooted in the Judaeo-Christian traditions. I think this simply too narrow a worldview. The City of London is already placing itself as a hub for global Islamic finance, and to do so, they are in fact introducing the sharia into the City. They found that it is indeed possible to reconcile the sharia with the existing financial laws, which leads to improved choice in the financial market.

    I think the key is for us to understand what the sharia is and do not limit ourselves to the “sharia-as-defined-by-those-who-themselves-do-not-even-abide-by-it”. It is not just the chopping of hands or the wearing of burqas. ‘Sharia rightly understood’ (to steal the title of your paper!) would mean more choice.

    Bringing sharia into the City means we can now choose a sharia compliant mortgage which is far cheaper than conventional ones, or a sharia compliant insurance (takaful) which offers you far better financial incentives than conventional insurance. Looking at the financial incentives and the potential profits, it is only understable why the introduction of sharia is “unavoidable” in the financial markets. And no wonder the likes of HSBC and many other banks are embracing the sharia. It provides choice to consumers, and is profitable too!

    The full text of his speech is below for your reference. It was a very “heavy” speech. I think this man is more suited to be university professor rather than a preacher. I do feel sorry for his church congregation – imagine having to listen to him every week!


    (I have not reprinted his speech, as it had a copyright notice, but you can find it here: )

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