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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 20:50 GMT
Rowan Williams comments: Your reaction
Rowan Williams delivering his Christmas sermon
The Archbishop of Canterbury has faced widespread criticism after saying some Sharia law in the UK is "unavoidable". BBC News Online readers have been sending their reaction to the comments. Below is a selection of them.


Aaliyah Louise, Birmingham

Wow... he certainly likes to stir doesn't he? Since when does this man speak for Muslims? He doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

I'm a British Muslim quite happily born and raised in this country and following its laws, to the extent that I'm a practicing Solicitor and am actively involved with the law! The Archbishop surely has more important things within his own faith to sort out and talk about.

Simon, London

What on earth is Rowan up to? Who does this man think he's supposed to be representing? "One law for all a bit of a danger?"

Once again the Archbishop shows his complete failure to stand up for either the Church, or England!

As a very involved member of the CofE I have to confess that I am baffled and angered by William's continued pandering to the politically correct and complete failure to represent the great traditions and values of the JudeoChristian beliefs this nation is founded on.

Mohammed Khan, Ilford

I think the Archbishop's comments have been misunderstood.

I believe he was stating that it might be possible for Muslims to solve small civil disputes in the UK within the context of Sharia law, such as disputes, child custody and business transactions.

A similar article appeared on the BBC last year stating that it may be possible for Jews and Muslims to use their own religious laws for such issues.

In a multicultural society where we already have Sharia banking, and where the civil prosecution service is overloaded, I think the Archbishop has a good idea. But unfortunately due to the times we live in, this will be deemed as a 'controversial' issue and will never see the light of day.

Ian Petchey, Oldham

Criminal Cases - no. Civil cases between two Muslims who are happy to have a dispute dealt with in a Sharia court, why not.

The summary nature of such courts mean it'll proably be cheaper and quicker for the participants. As long as its voluntary and both parties agree, more power to them.

Adrian, Birmingham

I find the Archbishop's comments outrageous.

The practice of effectively having different rights for different citizens would lead to reduced community cohesion and give the impression to muslims living in the UK that they are above and separate from abiding to the laws of the land.

Laws bind us as a nation and are there for a reason. First and foremost, anyone living in this country is a UK citizen and thus has to abide by UK law - nothing else, irrespective of religion or otherwise, is of primary consequence.

James, Bristol

I applaud Rowan Williams' sentiment but he is quite wide of the mark - this is a flawed, unworkable idea.

Every country in the world has its own laws - this is a fact of nations.

Tailoring services to suit service users, e.g. as some banks are already doing for Muslims, is the culturally-sensitive, correct way to proceed.

Proposing that we adopt elements of Sharia law will alienate most of the reasonable, non-Muslim people in this country who are quite happy with a diverse, intercultural society, but who hold dear their legal system and traditional values above all else.

Atif, Manchester

As a lawyer in the UK and as a practising Muslim, the benefit of faith-based courts with jurisdiction over marital and family disputes is clear.

Of course, the jurisdiction of these courts would be based on the free and mutual consent of all parties.

These courts already exist informally for practising Muslims and for Orthodox Jews too - I for one would welcome official recognition of the good work they're already doing in their respective communities.

Stephanie Montgomery, Ottawa, Canada

I am rather dismayed to see the debate on setting up a parallel legal system based on one faith raised again and this time by someone with the stature as the Primate of the Anglican church worldwide. We had this discussion in Ontario with respect to adding Islamic faith-based arbitration in family matters.

he government, rightly so after fairly strong outrage that the it was considering to do so, decided to outlaw all faith-based arbitration in the province.

In a state where there is a multitude of different beliefs, religious and secular, it is inappropriate to favour one group over another. One law for all, contrary to what Dr Williams asserts, is not a danger. One law for all promotes fairness and equality. I hope His Grace reconsiders his position.

Bill Starr, Jakarta, Indonesia

I live in a predominately Muslim country with the world's largest Muslim population.

Sharia law is very divisive here, indeed we now have campaigns to introduce Christian law in predominately Christian areas.

Fortunately, Sharia is limited to only a few areas and would certainly not be welcomed by the majority of Moslems. I would bitterly regret any form of introduction in my beloved home country.

It is divisive and only welcomed by extremists - and that is the last thing anyone wants in England. I regret that our Archbishop has once again proved himself to be anything but a reconciliator.

We have seen the Chuch divided so often by so many issues I doubt that it can survive much longer. Does he want to do the same to our country?

Revd Richard Lee, UK

This man is not speaking for the Church of England! Western law is based on the Judeo-Christian principles found in the Bible.

If the Archbishop seriously believes what he says and seeks its implementation, then I would have to leave the Church of England.

It's a shame that Michael Nazir-Ali was not chosen for this job: he certainly has the courage of his convictions as regards his Christian faith.

Why are Christians not standing up to be counted now when it matters!

SEE ALSO
Archbishop sparks Sharia law row
07 Feb 08 |  UK Politics
Should UK adopt aspects of Sharia Law?
07 Feb 08 |  Have Your Say



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