Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Farewell to England qua England?

The Times of London reports that UK courts are now recognizing decisions made by Muslims under sharia law. Rowan Williams, Arch Bishop of Canterbury, had just months before advised this. This "parallel law" situation means the following (the list is not complete):

1. Abuse against women will grow since the Qur'an allows men to beat their wives and divorce them easily and unilaterally.
2. Polygamy will be allowed.
3. Muslim men will rarely be prosecuted for rape, since sharia law makes this nearly impossible.
4. Muslim violence against infidels will be excused.
5. This "parallel law" will become a beachhead for establishing sharia for the entire country. Islam always aspires to be a civilization, not just a religion (in the Western sense).

Apparently, once proud England may have lost her will to be England. God save the Queen and her subjects. If you think my judgments are extreme, please read Mark Gabriel, Cultural Clash (2007). He was formerly a professor of Islamic history at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, and now a Christian convert.

15 comments:

Brian said...

I saw this for the first time yesterday and was shocked. I may be wrong, but this seems very akin to the religious relativism we see here in the state. "Our truth is our law, your truth is your law."

God help them.

Sirfab said...

Perhaps this is a sign of things to come, as you say. Or, perhaps, England (the United Kingdom) is actually being itself.

Two things struck me in the Times article you link to:

1) Sharia courts are allowed under a provision of the Arbitration Act.

2) The last sentence in the article reads: "If the Jewish courts are allowed to flourish, so must the sharia ones.” So I did a little search on Jewish tribunals in Great Britain, and--in fact--I quickly found this article, which confirms that Jewish tribunals have flourished in "are in daily use in Britain, and have been for centuries."

So this new development, which I suspend my own judgment on, seems to have been taken in the name of fairness and of equal treatment.

We can agree or disagree with the effects that this decision will have, but we should agree that England has taken this decision precisely to continue to be England, not the opposite.

Kamilla said...

Doug,

Your judgments aren't extreme in the least - spend some time in London and other parts of the island and you'll see. My only surprise is that you are rather late to the party on this.

Kamilla

Doug Groothuis said...

K:

I'm not late at all. I think I posted on Rowan Williams after he affirmed sharia for Muslims. If not, I have been teaching on this kind of thing for years.

Kamilla said...

Doug,

Sorry, I wasn't merely referring to the acceptance of Sharia in Britain - I was thinking of your title itself. Are you familiar with Peter Hitchens's book, "The Abolitionc of Britain"?

ABC Rowan is merely a late symptom, as is the heir to the throne's wish to be known as the defender of "faith" rather than "the faith".

emmzee said...

"Islam always aspires to be a civilization, not just a religion (in the Western sense)."

This is a vitally important point that most people in the western world don't grasp. The concept of "separation of church and state" is foreign to Islam.

Doug Groothuis said...

Brits are the relativists; Muslims are absolutists with the wrong absolutes.

Brian said...

So, England is now and Islamic State?

Daniel said...

I was relieved to see that R. Williams merely said that Sharai law was inevitible, which is true in a growing Islamic society like Britain. The article didn't say whether he agreed that it should become the system of the courts.

I would hope that this Anglican semi-authority would not go that far off the edge with tolerance like he is with the Episcopal Church!

John Stockwell said...

From the article:
Under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.

Siddiqi said: “We realised that under the Arbitration Act we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals. This method is called alternative dispute resolution, which for Muslims is what the sharia courts are.”

and

In July, the head of the judiciary, the lord chief justice, Lord Phillips, further stoked controversy when he said that sharia could be used to settle marital and financial disputes.


In short, the lord chief justice simply
followed the law. An arbitration court
is an arbitration court. If parties
agree to arbitration on s civil matter,
then the ruling of the arbitration court
is binding.

There is nothing here about criminal
matters, so Dr. Groothuis' claims that
this ruling will adversely affect
issues of criminal justice
are hyperbolae.

This has nothing to do with the "Brits
being relativists". It has to do with
the lord chief justice following the
law of the land. What's he going
to do, not recognize a particular
arbitration court because of the religious affiliation of the parties
involved?

Remember that adherence to the principle
of religious freedom is one of the
foundation stones of modern democracy. Violate that principle because you don't
like Muslims, and you are no better than the Islamic dictatorships you despise.

Yossman said...

It seems that relativism is digging its own grave. It has let absolutism in through the backdoor as one voice among the pluralistic many. Soon it will be the only voice heard shouting orders and commanding obedience.

Doug Groothuis said...

England is not now an Islamic state, but on the way, given demographics and legal philosophy.

Doug Groothuis said...

Stockwell:

Giving sharia legal standing against British law is not the freedom of religion; it is establishing Islam legally in an historically Christian civilization. But there is no first amendment in England, of course.

Doug Groothuis said...

Stockwell:

Giving sharia legal standing against British law is not the freedom of religion; it is establishing Islam legally in an historically Christian civilization. But there is no first amendment in England, of course.

John Stockwell said...

Dr. Groothuis wrote:

Giving sharia legal standing against British law is not the freedom of religion; it is establishing Islam legally in an historically Christian civilization. But there is no first amendment in England, of course.


It is certainly true that Britain has no first
amendment, and indeed, as a result does not
have as complete a safeguard of separation
of church and state as we have in the US.
However, while such separation is clear in
government matters, it is not clear at all
in civil matters.

I would invite interested readers to search on
google on the following:
"Islamic Sharia and Jewish Halakha Arbitration Court"

You should find an article in an online magazine
called The American Muslim, from a year ago
discussing this issue with regard to US law.
In the US we a similar structure for permitting
rulings in private arbitration courts. The
article points out that the US already allows
certain arbitration rulings made in
Jewish Hakhala courts to be legally binding.
So, there is a legal precedent of a
faith-based arbitration court already
operative in US law.

It is not a matter of "if" but a matter of "when"
with regard to sharia civiil arbitration courts in
the US. We could go the way of Canada and ban
all faith-based arbitration courts. But,
it may be that this would not stand
up under a Supreme Court test, by the
same legal argument used by the
lord chief justice in Britian.

I would point out that
such legal structures as neighborhood covenants,
which could easily turn into Sharia-neighborhood
covenants, are also examples of civil structures
that might be amenable to faith-based
tampering.