The chief of the 70-million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion
advocates the establishment of Islamic law in Britain, drawing a
rebuke from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who suggested that perhaps
British law would serve better.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio 4's "The World At One Today,"
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams confirmed adoption of sharia
"As a matter of fact, certain conditions of sharia are already
recognized in our society and under our law, so it is not as if we are
bringing in an alien and rival system," Williams said.
"We already have in this country a number of situations in which the
internal laws of religious communities is (sic) recognized by the law
of the land as justifying conscientious objections in certain
circumstances," he said.
However, according to published reports, Brown was of a different
"Our general position is that sharia law cannot be used as a
justification for committing breaches of English law, nor should the
principles of sharia law be included in a civil court for resolving
contractual disputes," a spokesman for Brown's office said.
"If there are specific instances like stamp duty, where changes can be
made in a way that's consistent with British law and British values,
in a way to accommodate the values of fundamental Muslims, that is
something the government would look at," the spokesman continued.
"In general terms, if there are specific instances that can be looked
at on a case-by-case basis, that is something we can look at. But the
prime minister believes British law should apply in this country,
based on British values," the spokesman said.
In the BBC interview, William advised the UK to "face up to the fact"
that some residents do not relate to the British legal system and that
Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters
handled by a sharia court.