The Archbishop of Canterbury is unrepentant. He thinks that the Shari’a, or at least the family law part of Shari’a, or at least some part of the family law part of Shari’a, would not contradict the laws and mores of Great Britain. He is quite wrong. And someone who relies on Tariq Ramadan for his understanding of Islam, and of the intentions of Muslims in Western Europe, has no business being Archbishop of Canterbury or being much of anything else.
As for that touchingly transparent attempt to liken the recognition of the imposition of parts of the Shari’a as “unavoidable” to the existence of Beth Din courts, for a handful of Jews, in a handful of matters, where not a single element contradicts, in spirit or letter, the prevailing English law — practically on the level, in this particular discussion, of Rowan Williams telling us that “some of my friends are Jews” or “I really enjoyed ‘Fiddler on the Roof,– that won’t wash. It won’t justify his original endorsement — not a mere discussion, as he now attempts to reinterpret his own words — of parts of the Shari’a being recognized as a parallel system, in the interests of “social cohesion.”
He is defending himself, and is making it impossible for anyone decent and intelligent to take him seriously, or even to stand him. He is now the single greatest weight on the Anglican Church. For its sake — if one cares about it — he must be removed.
The difference between the imposition of any part of the Shari’a and whatever a very limited role is allotted to Jewish (or possibly Hindu) family law, is that there is no real challenge, by the latter, to the supremacy of English law. There is no long-term program to use whatever small place has been allowed for there to be some kind of use of Jewish (or Hindu?) family law, in very limited ways, and ONLY when those ways do not contradict English law, to undercut the supremacy of the law of the English state. There is no program to undo the legal and political institutions of the English state.
The situation is quite different from Islam. The pretense, that the uninformed and terminally naive Archbishop of Canterbury has fallen for, that Muslims “only” want this little concession, should be seen in light of the steady and inevitable Muslim desire to remove everything that stands in the way of the spread of Islam. Shari’a imposed on Muslims — many of whom do not want it (see the example of Canada, where female Muslims led the fight against it) because their legal position under the Shari’a-supplied family law is far inferior to what it would be under the laws of any Infidel land — in the supposedly limited area of family law may, and indeed does, contradict the law of the land in Great Britain. That is quite another matter. And so too is the fact that this is not a final demand, but merely an opening one. If granted, it will lead to more and more such demands — demands that swell with each new victory, as a sense of triumphalism is at the heart of the matter. That sense must never be encouraged. It must always be discouraged and disappointed.
Last I looked, neither Jews nor Hindus had a plan for world ideological conquest so that Judaism, or Hinduism, rules everywhere. At the very most, some Jews would like Israel to be able to retain what that state currently possesses, for having given up more than 95% of the land area it won in the Six-Day War, they think — how outrageous of them, how impossible! — that they have a right, under all the settled rules of warfare and of post-war territorial adjustments, and under the express terms of the Mandate for Palestine, as established by the League of Nations (and the U.N. accepted all of the terms, in toto, of the Mandates, of the League of Nations, in its own founding charter), to hold onto what they have.
As for Hindus, what do they want? Nothing, except not to be continually unsettled in their lives by Muslim demands, and to be allowed to continue to recover their own past, the past of that “wounded civilization” (in Naipaul’s phrase), and not to be subject to Jihad either that in the Indian-held parts of Kashmir (Pakistan already holds anoteher part), or against Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh (who have been murdered, or driven out by the millions), or not to be the objects of Muslim terrorism inside India proper. And that’s it. As with Israel, it is not exactly much to ask.
But the Muslims who want Shari’a, in whole or, to start with, in part, imposed on other Muslims, are out for much more than merely having that Shari’a imposed in the area of family law.
That is what the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn’t understand. He’s taken in even by the likes, even, of Tariq Ramadan. And in his book-blurb of praise for Caroline Fourest’s “Brother Tariq: The Double-Speak of Tariq Ramadan,” Christopher Hitchens correctly notes that with this book Fourest “has done culture and civilization a service by exposing the surreptitious and insultingly obvious manner in which a pseudo-intellectual has bamboozled so many of his peers, and a generally adulatory media, into becoming accomplices to their own annihilation.” Insultingly obvious, except to some, and among those some, high up on the list, is the name of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.