The judge speaks coolly of not allowing stonings and amputations, but how will he keep them out once the principle that Sharia can be applied in Britain is accepted? The next step will be challenges to the principle that whenever British law and Sharia come into conflict, Sharia must give way. And soon enough that principle will give way also.
“Muslims in Britain should be able to live under Sharia law, says top judge,” by Christopher Hope and James Kirkup for the Telegraph, July 3 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Muslims in Britain should be able to live according to Sharia law, the country’s most senior judge has said.
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice, strongly backed Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, over his suggestion earlier this year that aspects of Sharia law should be adopted in Britain.
The archbishop’s remarks sparked a national debate and led to calls for his resignation.
Risking inflaming that controversy again, Lord Phillips has said that Muslims in Britain should be able to use Sharia to decide financial and marital disputes.
The judge did add that only the criminal courts should have the power to decide when a crime has been committed and when to impose punishment….
Lord Phillips said: “It is possible in this country for those who are entering into a contractual agreement to agree that the agreement shall be governed by law other than English law.”
Therefore, he said, he could see no reason why Sharia law should not be used to settle disputes in this country.
He said: “There is no reason why principles of Sharia law, or any other religious code, should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution.”
He added: “It must be recognized however that any sanctions for a failure to comply with the agreed terms of the mediation would be drawn from the laws of England and Wales.”
Sharia law suffered from “widespread misunderstanding” in Britain, Lord Phillips said.
“Part of the misconception about Sharia law is the belief that Sharia is only about mandating sanctions such as flogging, stoning, the cutting off of hands or death for those fail to comply with the law,” he said.
“In some countries the courts interpret Sharia law as calling for severe physical punishment. There can be no question of such courts sitting in this country, or such sanctions being applied here.”…