Talk about Newsnight

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Friday, 8 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 8 Feb 08, 04:43 PM

williams203x100.jpgThe Archbishop of Canterbury has attracted widespread criticism after appearing to back the adoption of some aspects of Sharia law in the UK. Dr Rowan Williams said the UK had to "face up to the fact" some citizens did not relate to the UK legal system.
Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said such moves would create "social chaos”. But Bishop of Hulme, the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, criticised the "disgraceful" way in which the archbishop had been "ridiculed" and "lampooned" by some.

We'll be devoting the whole of the programme tonight to the main issues surrounding this story. Both traditionalists and liberals in the Church of England have criticised Dr Williams' comments. With just days to go to the meeting of the General Synod is his leadership now an issue?

We'll also be examining the reaction to this story. Is it Islamophobia or is there a genuine threat to British culture? Join the debate

The Bishop of Hulme will be debating these subjects with a critic of Dr Williams, a leading Muslim academic and a writer on social cohesion in Britain.

Newsnight Review
Joining Martha on Review are Sarah Churchwell, Mark Kermode and Ekow Eshun.

Detail from Reflection by Peter DoigThey'll be discussing British artist Peter Doig's retrospective at Tate Britain (Watch an extended version of Martha's interview here and read her thoughts on the show here); the film Juno with rising star Ellen Page; BBC One's new near-future surveillance drama The Last Enemy; and a new production of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming at the Almeida Theatre, London. Read more on the Review website and leave your reviews below.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:59 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Robertson Magruder wrote:

This argument is not about religious differences, although there are many. Noor are they about the law. Shiria is administeered by the clergy or tribal leaders.

English law is based in the common law and is administered by courts and judges.

Islamic "honor" killings and use of group rape as a punishment are all within Shiria Law.

The Arch Bishop should be careful what he asks for. His church and position are against Sharia Law.

Who is to deceide if a transaction is covered by Sharia Law? The local Imman?

What remains to protect Islamic Women if such a law were to be inacted?

Get real!

  • 2.
  • At 07:05 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Pat wrote:

It's not arrogant to hold a point of view (it's not arrogant to believe that fairies don't exist or that other religions are false). Surely the only bad thing is when you don't love other people because of your religion (and Jesus says, very clearly, that the two most important commandments are to love God and neighbour, and St Paul says that you can have faith to move mountains but if you have no love then it is all useless.
So Christianity is ultimately about love (including faith in Christ / The Trinity) not faith alone. And arrogance is anti-love. So you cannot be a true Christian unless you have love (and only God can decide who is a true Christian is or not).

  • 3.
  • At 08:39 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • anne wotana kaye wrote:

One hopes that history is not going to repeat itself. Murder in the Cathedral?

  • 4.
  • At 09:31 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Jenny wrote:

Having now studied the entirety of the Archbishop's speech at the Courts of Justice, in the version on his own website, my opinion of him is worse. It is obvious he used the controversy that his mentions of Sharia would certainly bring to cover his main thrust, which is to denigrate concepts of universal equal, secular legal rights in favour of special allowance being made for religions. In other words, in the UK context, he stirred anti-Islamic sentiment in largely promoting freedom for Christian prejudices.

He makes quite clear that Christian desires to continue to persecute their traditional bêtes noires, homosexuals, as threatened by recent legislation, especially the pressure on Roman Catholic adoption agencies, has been his prompt. One cannot but imagine that preventing further advancement of women in his church's structure, separating it further from Rome and it's African mutant offspring is another.

At the core of the very densely worded, and verbose, argument are several false, or at best ignorant assertions, which make me wonder if he is nothing more than an over-promoted vicar prancing dangerously on a world stage, but perhaps it is best to assume he knows what he is doing.

He asserts that the concept of universal equality before the law is based upon Christianity, when obviously it is far older, and Christianity has often been totally opposed, causing the cruel deaths of many of their victims. He smears that equality led to the massacres of the French revolution and Mau's China. He make out that religions merely wish space for their own members when it is a long and continuing tradition of Abrahmic religions to demand that all around them obey their rules: anti-abortion pressure, restricted Sunday opening, lesbians and gays not allowed equal marriage, compulsory acts of worship in state schools. Need one list more? The man is mendaciously disgraceful.

  • 5.
  • At 09:37 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Rabia Sultana wrote:

People who disagree are most likely afraid of the idea of certain controversial areas of shariah law (such as renouncing ones faith attracts the death penalty) becoming part of British law. That is not what Dr. Rowan was saying. Of course Britain can not accept laws like this. It is only certain areas such as divorce which he was saying that should be included. Because it can be rather difficult and distressing for a Muslim woman to get divorced and get custody of her children. I agree, perhaps our British judges can give the justice these women need.

But I think the law should apply equally to all and everyone and not some laws for muslims and some for others- we could perhaps encouroage Muslism women to insist on a civil marriage so that they can use the British courts for a divorce.

  • 6.
  • At 09:50 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Phil wrote:

It has become common place for the suffix 'phobia', to be attached to different words. Hence this topic. This often includes an implied pejorative connotation, which belittles. Like all our words, it can be and is misused. If a word is used incorrectly enough, it can become, through general usage, accepted in its changed form, as correct.

Currently, a phobia includes a degree of behavior which is considered to be irrational.

However, with faith, what would be held by someone, who does not share that faith as irrational, may well be accepted by someone else, who does share that same faith, as rational. This can be the very essence of faith.

What through faith is rational for one person. is without that faith, irrational to someone else.

Thus, if you hold to a faith for your eternal destiny, it would NOT be rational for you not to 'fear' - it is not a double negative -, the teachings and consequences of another faith, which you believe to be contradictory. Rather, it would be irrational of you not to fear the teachings and consequences you believe to be false, regarding your eternity.

With eternity, there is only one way to know before you get there. It is through faith!

There are many contradictory faiths. Rationally, only one of them can be right.

  • 7.
  • At 10:59 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Iain wrote:

Get the man from the cultural cohesion centre off the television. He's an embarrassment.

  • 8.
  • At 11:04 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • no2idbrit wrote:

"Islamic "honor" killings and use of group rape as a punishment are all within Shiria Law."

reference, please.

  • 9.
  • At 11:09 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Jason Morris wrote:

I just watched tonight's programme. Worst...debate...ever. Paxman should be ashamed of himself for letting what could have been a rational discussion turn into a tabloid-style shouting match. And worse still, he seemed very happy just let "Tory Boy" run roughshod over the other two guests, who were trying to have an adult debate, but never got a chance to speak. Appalling - I feel greatly let down by what is supposed to be a program for grown-ups.

  • 10.
  • At 11:11 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • nwnt wrote:

I think it is a thread to the British culture, but not in the way that is perceived by the British media. I am white, citizen of UK, female, living abroad for many years due to my work and I do feel the consequences of anti-islamisation, even though I am as far from Islam culture as one could possibly be. You know how I got referred to in London during my last visit? Immigrant whore. And that is the result of our society getting islam-phobic and imigrant-phobic, for it affects also the "normal" people.

  • 11.
  • At 11:11 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Dave wrote:

I have way more respect for Christianity after the comments from the Archbishop.

The only people I have lost respect for are the radical Christians who are up in arms about this.

The uproar this has created within the Christian society is more likely to create Christianiphobia!

  • 12.
  • At 11:13 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Seb Falk wrote:

I was appalled by the contributions of Douglas Murray. He took unfair advantage of his position in the studio to ignore, traduce and interrupt the views of his fellow contributors. Tariq Ramadan was little better at listening, but the Bishop, who was talking good sense, was allowed little time as Paxman unfortunately allowed the discussion to turn into a bad-tempered shouting match.

Murray sounded like a tabloid journalist, sounding off about the unfairness of Sharia law, which was completely irrelevant since if it would only ever be permitted to operate within existing British law those irregularities could be ironed out. I think it is quite reasonable for sharia traditions to be given some sway within British law, as Dr Williams suggested.

The main lesson for me has been the clearest message yet that public debate is now completely unable to take a nuanced or balanced approach. Murray has clearly taken on board the fact that it is now all about shouting the loudest.

  • 13.
  • At 11:13 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Chris Tomlinson wrote:

So, to be brief;

Are we all equal under the law of the United Kingdom;

Should those laws apply to all irrespective of faith or creed;

Are we all, who live in the UK, part of the same community, or can we all decide that we don't somehow fit in and need our own little, separate, communities

Is it now, in view of the underlying thoughts behind the Archbishop's comments, time that the Church of England should be disestablished

  • 14.
  • At 11:14 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • M. Brodie wrote:

Why is it that even highly educated Muslims like Prof Tariq Ramadan never honestly answer questions about the more disturbing aspects of shariaa law? Prof Ramadan was questioned on a number of occasions about specific aspects of shariaa law that are disturbing to non-Muslims (the testimony of women being worth half that of a man, death sentence for apostasy etc) but never confronted and dealt with these questions. He just fudged the issue by saying that 'there are many different interpretations of shariaa' and accused Douglas Murray of spreading Islamophobia.

Why is Islamophobia the constant refrain from Muslims in the UK when questioned about some aspects of their religion? They want to play the victim but are unwilling to critically examine their own religion or cultural norms. All of us have to face up to questions about our values and address them honestly. Secular atheism has its problems, as does Catholicism, Judaism etc. Why are Muslims so unwilling to engage with critical thought and respond honestly? They expect non-Muslims to accept their beliefs with tolerance yet they are not willing to come half-way and compromise or examine their own norms critically. It is disappointing to see this narrow-minded stubbornness. Surely there is so much they could learn from this debate on shariaa law? Instead they are just retrenching further into surly victimhood and hostility. Where is the enlightened Muslim intelligentsia that can openly debate and engage with honestly-meant criticism?

  • 15.
  • At 11:15 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • mehdi wrote:

I am born in a loslem family but have chosen not to practice it. I thought that the legal system and polices in this country were seperate from religous. Religeon is a personal matter as far as I am concerned. This is why also I wanted to live in this country. Does the church leader wants to enforce a law that some people like me do not want to hear any thing about. I am astonished by the arch bishop idea. Even the channel four programme last week,, represented only a very secular view from my point of view. I thought policy and legal system are separate from religeon!!! I think the perception of any faith superior to others reflects peoples own pride and idea of being superior to others rather than a true superiority. I do believe because of this the civil law must remain seperate from religeous ideas.

  • 16.
  • At 11:15 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Hriday wrote:

Perhaps those British Muslims who want to be ruled by Sharia Law be allowed to do provided they observe all the Sharia Laws.This will mean that if he/she steals something then that person's hands will be chopped off but a non Muslim thief will be given suspended sentence or may be asked to do community service.No cherry picking of Sharia Laws.Fair enough?

  • 17.
  • At 11:15 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Olga wrote:

English Country English laws.

What's next? I know. England will soon be called something else and the Queen will soon have to be multi-coulor with many heads on to reflect a multi-cultual country's Queen.

  • 18.
  • At 11:15 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Ian Bell wrote:

Watching Newsnight tonight, I was extremely disappointed at the way Jeremy Paxman allowed Douglas Murray to shout down the other two participants in the discussion.

Murray was allowed to rant at length in an extremely angry tone, making statements about the Archbishop of Canterbury's comments that were at best ill-informed, and at worst downright untrue.

The other two participants, on the other hand, were giving considered and insightful comment, and were allowed very little time to speak.

As a secular atheist, I have no interest in any the laws of any religion being incorporated into British law. However, that is not what the Archbishop was arguing for. He was arguing simply for respect within the framework of British law for freedom of religion for all cultures in our society.

  • 19.
  • At 11:17 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Scott wrote:

Is it about time we take religion out of British law. Relgion is a personal choice of faith.I do not want to be governed by someone elses' religious beliefs. The debate about Sharia Law is baffling. Most of the conflicts in the world are religion based. It is superstitious nonsense!!!!

  • 20.
  • At 11:18 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • m khan wrote:

i feel sorry for the bishop.for all this years he has done all the good work and one comment, which has been misinterperted has been a world wide issue. hasnt this guy been doing all the good work. where is his credits now? who do we blame? i know who ever is reading will now the answer.

  • 21.
  • At 11:18 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Paul Burland wrote:

Sharia law

Very disappointed with the way the BBC treated this subject on Fridays program.

I think Jeremy Paxman showed bias in how the subject should be put across to the public and manipulated the speakers to reflect this bias.

Another example of the news media trying to create rather than report a story. Going for ratings rather than the truth.

  • 22.
  • At 11:19 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Tim wrote:

The format of the program was bias towards the studio guest, who really had the same perspective as all the papers which i'm not really are interested in.

I was most interested in the view of the Dr from Oxford who the program completely disrespected by cutting to the other guests.

I was disappointed by the way in which the program handled this debate.

  • 23.
  • At 11:19 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • nadir wrote:

as you now the archebishop said that tgere should be some sharia laws in the uk does he now what sharia is no so people like this man should not talk about other religons because if he does he would not like what will happe to him because all the muslims in the uk are getting bullyid that is not good and we are muslims and it saws in the quran that if people are triting you bad you can fight for your religen that is the only way because we all had enough of all this shit that people like the archbishop are talking about he should shut up and do his job also he should not be working i this job because he critisisd the muslims in the uk and that is not good christians will not like it if we came and start talking about there religion.

  • 24.
  • At 11:20 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Fred wrote:

"Islamic "honor" killings and use of group rape as a punishment are all within Shiria Law."

Could you please kindly give us reference?

Thank you.

  • 25.
  • At 11:22 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Hassan wrote:

Everytime I watch TV, I see a person cutting a hand or hanging someone. What is going on? no one said this is what people want in the uk.

The media are making a good bit of money out of this!

  • 26.
  • At 11:23 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Razia Desai wrote:

Well done Archbishop. Although fed up of being the centre of such attention and a daily tirade of insult at being Muslim in one way or another, I as a Muslim, am grateful to the Archbishop for raising this issue in the correct context.

We need a level playing field here and he was in a way reflecting this in his speech. Let common sense prevail and because the Archbishop opens a discussion about Sharia (and this is not a swear word!!) within the context of the British legal system, let us debate it in an adult way.

  • 27.
  • At 11:23 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Parviz Sigurdsson wrote:

We are in Europe and a Christian country with laws made accordingly
We have nothing to do with Islam or their strange retarded rules.
We are mostly protestant, because the old chatolic rules are modernized.
Now the Archbishop want to bring Muslim laws?
If he wants to make a change (slogan used now a days), he should try if he can convince protestants to go back to the original Catholic's laws - as a Christian.
We turn the other cheak not chop of the other hand.
It shows he has a hitten sick mind

  • 28.
  • At 11:24 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • julie smyth wrote:

I watched the Newsnight programme and was digusted at the biased way the interviews were conducted by Jeremy Paxman, with Mr Ramadam barely being given a chance to speak, while allowing Mr Murray to shout down everyone else with his biggotted and xenophobic opinions. Perhaps if we had been able to hear more of what Mr Ramadam had to say it might have been an intersting and enlightening dicussion, instead of just a one-sided slanging match. At least the Archbishop has opened a debate and is trying to create a better understanding between religions and cultures

  • 29.
  • At 11:24 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Elvis wrote:

The debate would have been less idiotic if the pompous new-con twit Murray was replaced by someone with a brain. I love his body language! It looks like the church is admitting that more and more muslims are seeking formalizing an alternate dispute resolution system. And that's all that's wanted. I personally know of no muslim that wants an overhaul of the legal system. Look at sharia finance, this has given comfort to muslims (and some non-muslims) that they are conforming to their relegious requirements.
The UK is an allegedly accomodating country, well lets walk the walk without all the islamaphobic hysteria.

  • 30.
  • At 11:24 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • m.mwangi wrote:

Paxmans handling of the debate tonight had more Islamaphobic overtones than those of Murray who clearly outperformes the vile bnp. Shame.How do you explain jews carrying out divorces etc,within their own(laws)? The Arch Bishop desrves praise for bravely addressing the hypocracy. And I am not Muslim or Christin!

  • 31.
  • At 11:25 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Stuart Harris wrote:

As a non-believer of any faith I was embarrased by the only member of the debate that was not affiliated with a religion.
The spokesperson of the centre for social cohesion came across as nothing more than a sensationalist, tabliod-like bigot. That, through his aggressive demanor, rubbished the views that are representative of the majority of the people of Britain. If we are ever to achieve a larger degree of social cohesion in the UK we will have to look elsewhere for leadership, prehaps to religious bodies, who have dislpayed mature, proggresive and more enlightened contributions to this argument.

  • 32.
  • At 11:26 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • John Creighton wrote:

When did Jeremy Clarkson start presenting newsnight? Jeremy Paxman was clearly Islamaphobic given the fact that he continually interupted the Islamic professor and gave the racist Mr Murray time to rant and rave. As an atheist I have no axe to grind in the debate, but I must say that it is inadvisable to meld law with formal religious dogma. The BBC are becoming more and more extreme in the manner that they allow partisan presenters to badger reasonable participants in debates. The Scottish female presenter did the same with the Scottish First Minister not that long ago when he displaced her pal, the ex-SFM. Shame on you BBC!

  • 33.
  • At 11:27 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • David Mills wrote:

The conduct of Newsnight program this evening on the subject of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his lecture concerning Sharia Law was disgraceful and below the standard I would expect of Jeremy Paxman

This was an example as with the Pope’s lecture where extracts were taken out of context and the Pope was vilified, just as the Archbishop is now being vilified

Jeremy Paxman this evening was rude and out of order, by continually interrupting and preventing the two speakers from trying to clarify the situation and lecture, while allowing free reign to the speaker condemning the Archbishop.

We are continually told by the Politicians and media that there is a great benefit to the introduction of other cultures and their people – some of these people come from background with Sharia Law. If as we are told their cultures are of benefit to the UK we have to understand how to incorporate their religion and beliefs which inconveniently includes Sharia law.

The problem with the Archbishop’s comments, is that he introduced a fact of life, that if you welcome people of other faiths, you have to also deal with all aspects of their culture which includes their religious beliefs and religious laws.

There is also a difference between religious law and legal law – those wishing to make mischief are trying to confuse the two aspects of this. No one would suggest that because a person is a Britain and of the Church of England, that English law should be imposed in a Muslim country, but we do expect to be able to practice the laws of our Christian religion in non-religious countries.

We also have the problem in the UK of those who would try to make politically correct rulings where Easter and Christmas are to be changed so as not to offend the Muslims. There is some hypocrisy involved when we ban Christian festivals and object to a discussion about how Sharia Religious law will be accommodated

  • 34.
  • At 11:27 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Rose Howard wrote:

If nothing else this debate has shown the depth of feeling in this country about the way it is going.
It is very obvious that the government and now church leaders should be listening to the people of this country not giving so much emphisis to others, especially when
we are being dragged back into the dark ages,too many fought and died for our freedoms and people coming from elsewhere must respect our laws as there are some laws which are not compatible with ours and never will be.Religion obviously has a place in our way of life, but in its place.

  • 35.
  • At 11:29 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Duncan Greenshields wrote:

Every responsible person within the UK is happy that two paralell legal systems in both inaplicable and unworkable. It is a very good thing that two of three of the guests on this evening's show recognised this.

The "social cohesion writer" who appeared on the show appeared not to have paid any attention to the intention or even the words of Williams. He instead chose to rant in a manner I'd more attribute to a member of the BNP rather then anyone looking for true cohesion.

I feel that we live in a very sad state when the tabloid newspapers can whip up a national outcry by misinterpreting one of our nations true intellectuals.

If you asked even the most right wing person in the street whether Muslims should be able to marry in a mosque I've a feeling that most would say yes. If you asked them if the local religious leaders could mediate in divorce proceedings then again I doubt they'd say no. These things are allowed within the Jewish community and I believe that the voluntary nature of these courts can be benificial to the communities in which they reside.

The British legal system will always stand as a bastion of fair treatment and equality and as long as there is no pressure not to fall back on the true legal system then I whole heartedly support the notion that these ideas can be supported (as they are already) in the UK.

  • 36.
  • At 11:30 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • C. Nicholson wrote:

Having just watched tonight's programme I would like to point out to the guest bishop that the Archbisop of Canterbury is not the Head of all churches in this country unless, of course he considers 'this country' to be only England. Why are we even having this debate, is this not just another example of the way we give some from without this country the opportunity to change our way of life without considering the indigenious population. it is high time the silent majority stood up and were counted.Why are we always considering the muslims? there are many other religions in this country who live quite happily within our communities and have integrated well without all the publicity and considerations e.g Hindus, sikhs, jews.

  • 37.
  • At 11:32 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

Just where on earth did the BBC get that rabble-rouser " a writer on social cohesion in Britain."

What a disgusting display of intemperence and downright bad manners by the representative of the "Center for Social Cohesion".

Paxman totally overplayed his hand as agent-provocatuer - not a good performance at all, Jeremy.

The centre for Spcial Cohesion was founded in 2007 by Civitas to promote new thinking that can help bring Britain's ethnic and religious communities closer together while strengthening British traditions of openness, tolerance and democracy.


  • 38.
  • At 11:37 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Marcus wrote:


As Phil has stated it is common place to add 'phobia' onto anything now in our English language and I can see big problems arising to this.

A phobia is an irrational fear, meaning that, for example, if you were a claustrophobic, you'd be scared of confined spaces even though you have no idea of why you were. This could be diagnosed from a psychiatrist who may hypnotise you and find you were locked in the coal shed on numerous occasions as a child.

However, our language has been hijacked yet again from people who want to force their views on us, most notably the very people whom the problem is against. So the word Islamaphobia really is a word that is totally irrelevant in today's society. I do not fear Islam as I neither believe or don't believe in God. I do however feel very wary of the belief system behind Islam, how it came about, it's predictions and more importantly it's Law of Sharia.

Many people have not spoken of the serious implications of what would happen if Sharia were to be introduced in this country.
It would be a case of bringing in Sharia to deal with divorce settlements that would then grow many arms and legs. It would move onto dealing with Muslims and the way they want to live in our society. It would allow men to marry pre-pubescent girls and consumate their marriage before the girl had reached puberty. In our society that is called paedophilia. It would also free men who had raped women as the women would not have the recommended four witnesses to back up her case against the accused.

What is more worrying is that Muslims in the UK would, if Sharia was accepted to eventually bring the rest of it so that it existed here as it does for example in other Muslim Countries. If we refused them, I could very well see them taking the UK to the European Courts of Human Rights to challenge the UK in not allowing it to them and of course, the courts would grant them what they desired, even though their rights of Sharia would mean their 'victims' losing all of theirs.

This country removed all involvement of the church and religion in deciding our judicial system however the Law of Sharia translate means "system of divine law". This law is not a logical law and more important a law that is not allowed to be questioned and very pro-male and anti-female.

Sharia Law may possibly be very helpful in Third World villages where people are uneducated but in First World Countries it would be completely out of place and comparable to dropping a fox in a chicken pen.

If people want to practice Sharia Law then by all means let them, but Sharia Law must never and I mean never ever be allowed any form of existence in a civilised, democratic, secular society such as the UK. Not only would it insult Pagans, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jews Agnostics and Atheists, but also those women who have fled Sharia controlled countries as well as Apostates whom Sharia Law would seek out for imminent execution.

  • 39.
  • At 11:40 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Jenny wrote:

It is being repeatedly stated around this story that a separate Muslim marriage law is being operated in this country, with women sometimes being tricked out of their UK marriage law rights by marrying under Muslim law, including polygamy. This would seem to be illegal, deception, and one consequence would seem to be sex without informed consent, in other words rape. Why is this allowed? Why are UK authorities picking and choosing which laws to enforce?

  • 40.
  • At 11:47 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • no2idbrit wrote:

Please explain where in British law it says that 2 parties cannot agree to be bound by the decision of an arbitrator whose decision they both agree to respect.

If the decision breaks UK law, then it can be refered up to a higher court, that of the state. If the state cannot decide, it can be refered up to the EU, in some cases.

What is the difference between binding arbitration between a Trades Union and the government, and binding arbitration in a divorce case in a Sharia court?

Both can be appealed, both are subject to UK law.

This is a complete non-controversy. I give it 2 weeks before people will have trouble recalling it.

  • 41.
  • At 11:47 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • John Hetherington wrote:

I have just rung to complain about the BBC Newsnight coverage of the Rowan Williams triggered debate on the relationship of religious perpectives alongside British law. I will not directly comment on the issues - but want to express deep concern about the way the BBC is falling for short of its mission to "inform". The example tonight of Jeremy Paxman's handling of the issues was an illustrative of the rapidly lowering standards of BBC Journalism. Yes the BBC needs to probe - but it needs to be informed and use journalists with subtle and deep awareness - and Jeremy let himself down tonight.

The BBC is not the gutter press - it has a licence fee based mission to inform and educate - thus applying knowledge and intellectual rigour to the way it develops programmes and covers news. Over recent years it has lowered its standards of coverage on the 6 O'clock and 10.00 news, repeating everything at least 3 times, never including the depth of an issue and always presenting issues in black and white polarised ways.

Newsnight set up a similar approach tonight - polarised and extreme in some ways. Jeremy was rude to the Muslim speaker and cut him off just as he was seeking to explain the complex plurality of British Islam, which of course is also true of British Christianity. Both faiths have both liberal and deeply and reactionary conservative wings - and the latter would wish to sit outside the enlightenment framework of UK tradition and law. The BBC needs to make sure that open, progressive voices from within the faiths are used - or we will be in deep trouble in the UK

Every DG from Reith onwards would have been turning in their graves at how the Sharia issue was handled - all heat and no light except for the Anglican from Manchester and the Muslim speaker, when he was allowed to contribute.

My complaint is that the BBC should ensure that speakers are selected and be given enough time to allow mature informed calm discussion to take place - and if that cannot be possible then it is better not to try.

The effect of the BBC's headline coverage on the main bulletins with clips of beheadings, etc to Characterise Sharia - is NOT something the BBC should do if it is to "inform" and "educate". Coverage needs to be subtle and at a higher level - and always make clear that issues are complex and nuanced.

The BBC has lost its way if its coverage leads to angry headline only over simplifications on what are vitally importnat for mature and informed debate within British society.

I for one am increasingly desparing of BBC journalism - and the BBC Trust certainly needs to review what happened in the coverage of the Story. Its tragic enough when large sections of the press oversimplify and echo back ill informed opinion. The BBC needs to become a bastion of sound information and careful structured coverage of the subtlety of the key issues that face us. The BBC has added flames to the fire by letting Newsnight be planned and run as it was tonight.

  • 42.
  • At 11:47 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • karl wrote:

if christians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus, were such good and caring for others then there would be no inocent childrens being killed in this world.

  • 43.
  • At 11:49 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Dianne Roberts wrote:

I was so disappointed that Newsnight chose as one of the speakers against Dr Willams' views, that horribly belligerent and opinionated man whose name I have forgotten and cannot find on the website. But anyone who watched the programme will know exactly who I mean.

I was also appalled that Jeremy Paxman chose to question the Muslim speaker on an aspect of Sharia that had nothing at all to do with Dr Williams' suggestions and then to interrupt him so rudely when he was attempting to reply. He was completely correct to say that he was being treated unequally.

There has been enough of an hysterical response in the newspapers and the rest of the media and from the public on various internet sites. Where are we to go to hear a considered discussion of the real issues without being sidetracked into diatribes against Sharia by people who have a particular, and I would consider anti- muslim, agenda? I thought I could rely on Newsnight for balance.

I do not think that I agree with Dr Williams ---though I have not read his speech--- just as I did not agree with the requests by the likes of Anne Atkins, Anne Widdecombe and other members of the Cathollic Church and C of E that there should be an accommodation in the ant- discrimination law for those who did not want to provide equal services, such as adoption and bed and breakfast, to homosexual couples.

Perhaps these are the kind of things that we should be discussing and not the killing of people for apostacy--a totally irrelevant issue when discussing the law in Britain.

  • 44.
  • At 11:53 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Richard Walker wrote:

Good lively debate. Ramadan his usual filibustering self. Bishop a museum piece. Douglas Murray very eloquent and destroyed the others' arguments.

  • 45.
  • At 11:54 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • ch-gujar wrote:

I cant believe that he has said it that the way alot of people have taken it.I am a muslim that is born and bred in britain i have no problems following the laws of this country.Britain is not a MUSLIM COUNTRY so therefore it hasnt got shariah laws as these can only be applied in a muslim country.Once again muslims are being tarnished by what a non-muslim has said.Jews in this country have hearing and tribunals according to jewish law but they are not held up like british law now i dont have a problem with that as in a court of law british law prevails,muslims have hearings to sort out inheritence and divorces nothing against the british law so equally i have no problem with this aswell.But the exremist anti-muslims are coming out with this rubbish that muslims want shariah law in this country INSTEAD OF BRITISH LAW and stiring up hatred now this is totally rubbish.WE WANT TO ABIDE WITH THESE LAWS OF THE UK,NOW THIS IS A MUSLIM SPEAKING!

  • 46.
  • At 11:56 PM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • ch-gujar wrote:

There is nothing islamic about HONOUR KILLINGS AS EARLIER MENTIONED,



  • 47.
  • At 12:08 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • LuM wrote:

I feel, as do many of the people whom I have conversed with on this matter, that what is really happening here is 'a brilliant thing' to quote a viewer of the BBC. However, I use her quote, and I say 'her' because it was a female voice speaking, in a way she may not have meant. I sarcastically use her words to say 'Congratulations' to the media for giving themselves, not the Rev Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, all this attention. 'You' - the media, oh and I should not forget to include the big wigs we have in parliment, - you who are supposed to have enough brain cells together,and I emphasise 'together', to run this country. I choke on my words, but I continue. Education, Health . . . need I say any more? And no I am not giving the 'other' parties the opportunity to heckle at Mr Blair, I mean Mr Brown. Rather I am looking for a reminder of how France, Switzerland and other EU countries do it. Sorry, did I say I would continue?

However, for You (plural); the media and the big wigs, my point is - (you will have noticed I lost it there,but you will understand as parliament seems to do this everyday) you have completely mis-quoted the Arch-bishop! Have I lost you yet?

It seems you have uttered words from the Arch-Bishop's mouth without his permission. I forgot, neither media nor parliament do respect or permission. What you have done is misinterpret and use his words simply to express your own fears! I suggest you RE-READ and LISTEN to his speech. He did not say that . . . Oh go on, re-read it. By the way I speak as a Roman Catholic Labour educationalist dare I say it! - which I infact I do say in advance so that Mr Paxman can get his questions ready . . . questions for discussion I hope rather than 'let me tell you . . . discussion closed!' - an interview tactic he tried with Mr Ramadam against the attractive, yet quite pompose and 'straight' Mr . . ., what was his name? Mr Paxman will know I am sure!

Oh, score! well done Jermey! Good idea to put a halt to the comments 'suggesting' that Britain was responsible for the Jewish genocide - who could think such a thing! And of course you would not wish to let the 'B' 'B' 'C' and your Queen and country down Mr Paxman - better to deny it all! Oh and I say this as a white British citizen - born and bred, and don't forget a Roman Catholic.

Please can our British media TRY and get it right and learn what justice and truth mean - in the 'universal' sense rather than the 'Exclusive American' sense. The media - aka 'lets kill for a story', and the House aka 'let us live on behalf of the other' need to change their ways. What comes around goes around. Oh, don't get me started . . . and you thought I'd finished!

Would be good to hear from you Mr Paxman. PS. I love to watch you on University Challenge.

  • 48.
  • At 12:12 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • DR Amy BEST wrote:

The Archbishop of Canterbury is of a course a religious leader, but he is also an intelligent person. He has a moral right and duty to reflect and opinonate views of other religions. The fact that he spoke of sharia law has been taken out of context.

Where has the the idea of free speech gone, that is what worries me, if a respected member of the church cannot make a mark of reflection then i believe free speech has gone stright out of the window.

The media has made this a playing field, it very much reminds me of the uproar that the danish press caused when they made a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed. The press had the right through free speech, but when the archbishop expresses an idea, out of free speech he is assinated by the very foundations that the media has been fighting for , and still is . The media has become somewhat hypocrtical on this particular issue and has taken it out of context, and made it more of an islamophobic issue.


  • 49.
  • At 12:12 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Noel Foy wrote:

I have just watched Jemery Paxman conducting a three way interview on on the Dr. Rowan Williams lecture. I am a fan of Mr. Paxman but his performance this evening I felt fell far short of his usually high standard. Calmness and rationality is surely required on this issue and that was lacking. The exaggerations of the studio guest were appalling and his rant was neither checked or seriously challenged. Prime Ministers have been treated more robustly than this and deservedly so!

Sensationalism should have no place on a serious current affairs program such as Newsnight. Neither should the program pander to the tabloid hysteria currently whipped up on the issues raised by Dr. Williams. And why not get Dr. Williams on your program as soon as possible so that we can have his views first hand?
Noel Foy

  • 50.
  • At 12:14 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Khandu Patel wrote:

Once upon a time the Archbishop was one of the most learned man in all of England and who was the right hand man of the king. Law was the innovation first properly introduced to the land by Alfred the Great. Christianity brought peace to the British islands with the acceptance of King Canute. It took a thousand years for the traditions of the different tribes to be welded into the common law. Thus we get the rule of law and equality before the law. It is true that Sharia has been operating in parts of Britain in the same way that there are 4,000 odd Muslim men have taken on more than one wives. We might be grateful to the Archbishop for bringing up the subject of Sharia law which is not only close to the Muslims hearts, as is their desire to convert the UK into an Islamic state. The traditions and customs of the Sharia could hardly be described as law because Islam requires unquestioned obedience to the words of the Koran. The idea of law was developed by the Romans on rule based logic which is absent in the traditions of Sharia. Christianity and Judaism have been able to accept an overarching law while Islam enjoins their followers to Jihad and the use of force to turn the UK into an Islamic state. There is a saying that one should be careful what you wish for. Introduce Sharia and the full blast of Islam will be felt later. The sorry state of India and Muslim states generally should be enough reason why the Archbishop should not have entertained the idea at all. His support for the idea means that the Muslims will now feel emboldened to demand Sharia. What will the Archbishop do when they start setting the country ablaze to get their demands as is the case in India and elsewhere? I am sure the Archbishop means well but don't kill the rest of us with your kindness!

  • 51.
  • At 12:24 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Julia cavner wrote:

The spokesperson for social cohesion, has degraded himself.
He somewhat disgsuted me by his comments which were at times agressive and he showed total disregard for the other religious speakers Dr Tariq Ramadan and the Bishop of Hulme.
I am assuming his job is to study and look into ways in which society can be brought together from all corners of race, sex and religion. He has failed miserably in potraying that idea. He has created a sense of islamaphobia brought on by an ideaology of fear, something which i think the Archbisphop was trying to reflect upon in his speech.

  • 52.
  • At 12:26 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • John Hilley wrote:

The Archbishop may or may not fully understand the implications of Sharia law - I suspect he does - but the real import of his contribution is a seemingly sincere attempt to illustrate the evolutionary nature of multicultural relations.

While I see little merit in moving beyond secular, universal law for the general protection of all citizens, it does no harm to understand the ways in which Islamic jurisprudence informs the customs of a large section of our community.

There's a depressing failure of intellectual engagement afoot, part of the tabloidisation of what passes these days for educational debate.

Rather than talking-up the 'crisis' the Archbishop's remarks have caused, it would be helpful if the BBC and others took this opportunity to highlight the kind of shrill racism emanating from the Daily Hate et al and the poverty of ideas it encourages.

Rev. Stephen Lowe on Newsnight has just made the valid point that the BBC has itself been instrumental in misrepresenting this lecture and debate, by interpreting the Archbishop's remarks as an attempt to introduce a "parallel legal system".

Many of the mainstream reporters, he notes, also "reacted to the word 'sharia'" without even scrutinising the lecture.

Jeremy Paxman added to the trivialisation by quipping: "How do you solve a problem like Sharia?"

Are the BBC as guilty as the tabloid press here? It's fine for the more 'analytical' Newsnight, to 'question' the Sun's "What a burkha" headline and other such smears. But what kind of message does the BBC deliver beyond its supposed 'responsibility' to 'inform' the public?

Despite a haranguing from Jeremy Paxman, Prof Tariq Ramadan made the valid point that Rowan Williams was speaking more particularly about family law and such matters and where that stands in relation to mainstream law.

Rev. Lowe makes a similar point, adding that he was referring to how things like money, banking and usury fitted with mainstream legal practices.

As Prof Ramadan repeated, those castigating Rowan Williams are party to a "superficial discourse", amplified by the reactionary Douglas Murray's hyperbole that the Archbishop is "promoting sharia law".

Murray's bile betrays a particular kind of narrow Islamophobia.

But Newsnight is also party to this "superficial discourse" in its unwillingness to self-examine the BBC's own headline interpretation of the issue.


  • 53.
  • At 12:30 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Ann winney wrote:

The spokesperson of the centre for social cohesion that was part of debate last night came across as a upstart pretencious individual

He ideas at times were very radical and offensive to me, and i am a devote christian. His remarks and offensive comments i believe will fuel even more hatered and encourage islamophobia. Please do not bring him to the show next time!! I am bitterly disapointed with the BBC for allowing such a media biggot into the debate.

  • 54.
  • At 12:42 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Andy willis wrote:

Jeremy paxman failed miserably tonight at the interviews, I believe he somewhat encouraged the guest for the centre of social cohesion. His remarks at times were highly offensive, and Mr paxan who is usally on high alert for such mishaps, gave him every opportunity to vent his appaulling and at times exaggerated views about the recent comments the Rt Hon Williams made on sharia Law.

Once again we as the public have given into the media circus which has distorted a rather controversal but interesting view from a respected member of the church, the world of thought and intellect. I believe such a debate could encourage social cohesion, and the speaker for social cohesion should probably think of a new job and new direction, as i feel he didnt do his job any justice on newsnight today.

  • 55.
  • At 12:43 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Gail wrote:

I was absolutely disgusted by J. Paxman on Newsnight regarding the controversy over the alleged comments by the Archbishop. Yet again he refused to allow an open debate by talking over one participant preventing him from putting his valid and important point across. Indeed Paxman was downright rude and unpleasant - unprofessional. Yet allowing unrestricted airtime to a quite clearly hostile aggressive man of opposing views who judging by his comments had no idea of what the Archbishop actually said. Be careful BBC racism comes in many forms. Do you really want to look like you are participating and encouraging hostility to certain sections of the British population? Do you think this would be helpful?
Having watched the Archbishops lecture it is quite clear that what he was actually saying and what he has been reported as saying are clearly not accurate and HE needs the apology. Especially from those who have purported to be aware of the contents of his lecture - Mr. Paxman!!!
BBC what is happening to you. You used to be respected for your ability to report the facts and create the opportunity for fair debate thus allowing us to make an informed decision. Sensationalism rules now does it?
I am deeply disturbed by the irresponsible way certain subjects are being reported in the press and the news. The media have created this situation not the Archbishop.

  • 56.
  • At 12:44 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Amjad wrote:

Quote: Islamic "honor" killings and use of group rape as a punishment are all within Shiria Law.

God himself told you that did he?

I blame in part individuals such as yourselves who have no concept of Sharia other than some skewed up view based on the reporting s of a select newspapers I wont name here.

Just for your reference if someone commits a crime and it by happens to be in a Muslim country that does not imply Islam sanctioned such actions. I have yet to see Hindus being associated with suicide bombings. Yet the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) pioneered the concept as we know today. However if an Iraqi girl is stoned to death by her community Islam is again put on trial. The only problem being the community involved in this particular where not Muslims. If you could prove your allegations of honour killing being within Islam I would like to so hear your explanation.

  • 57.
  • At 12:47 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Zeyshaan Rafiq wrote:

As intellectualy inspiring these threads are, I am in complete disbelief at how all barring one of the contributors have not reacted to Robertson Magruder's erroneous and ill-informed comment that:

"Islamic "hono[u]r" killings and use of group rape as a punishment are all within Sh[a]ria Law"

The sharia does not use either of these methods as forms of punishment, which cultural practices of a small number of people from ASIAN background that does not have any association wth religion; it is a derivative of rules and regulations from the Quran, Hadith - i.e. teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (in accordance with the Quran) and for the 1400 yrs since slight additions by islamic jurists (in the light of the Quran). There has been a prevalent mood in the media of negative-islamic sentiments for a long time and this is just another exasperation of that trend. People without any understanding of what the sharia is are relaying the stereotypical views that they obtain from others which in many cases are far from the truth.

I'm currently doing a dissertation on Islam and print-media representation, and education is strongly needed in order to facilitate understanding of islam and its ruling.

For more on Islam and the media, see Poole, E (2002);(2006); Richardson, J (2004).
To find out more about sharia see ''; better yet, read the Quran.

  • 58.
  • At 12:50 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Chris Gordon-Smith wrote:

The law should be based on reason, not on religion. It should apply equally to everyone,

  • 59.
  • At 12:59 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Zeyshaan Rafiq wrote:

"Islam enjoins their followers to Jihad and the use of force to turn the UK into an Islamic state"

There have been Muslims in the UK for hundreds of years (see Visram, Rozina 'Asians in Britain' - looking at the past 400 yrs); how many documented cases have there been of attempts for jihad against the state? You will find more frequent cases of Parliament actng as 'jihadis' (English Revolution, 17th Century)

"The idea of law was developed by the Romans on rule based logic which is absent in the traditions of Sharia"

These are just generalisations - there are innumerable laws created on the basis of 'logic' (e.g. abolishment of slavery)

  • 60.
  • At 01:21 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Conrad Konig wrote:

It was very unfortunate to see Paxman during tonights program. Total lack of respect and balance at this very sensitive issue.
That Douglas Murray is the worst person chosen to represent social cohesion of any sort. The man is vile, full of hatred against Islam. Dont see what his problem is. The Jewish in UK are allowed
to deal with certain issues their own way. Why not allow some devote Muslims to do the same? Greedy man Mr Murray.

The only ones that talked any sense on tonight's Newsnight were Jeremy (superb as always! 56/10)and Douglas Murray. The rest were a pathetic excuse for a joke. Even if Sharia law was to be implemented for Muslims in the case of divorce,

From Wikipedia,
"A woman who wishes to be divorced usually needs the consent of her husband."

"Men have the right of unilateral divorce. A divorce is effective when the man tells his wife that he is divorcing her."

"If a man divorces his wife three times, he can no longer marry her again unless she marries another man and then divorces him"

Can you imagine how, as Douglas pointed out, many Muslim women would be forced into accepting the Sharia law in the case of divorce (or any other matter) and not the civil law of the land?

It is nothing short of a recipie for disaster if Sharia law is ever implemented. As for Orthodox Jewish courts, again as Douglas pointed out, they run with the civil law of the land, and not an alternative.

  • 62.
  • At 01:41 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Peter wrote:

I can see, as I thought, everyone rushing to the defence of Ramadan on this discussion here.
What worries me here is that people, whom I would gather to be somewhat educated, no doubt the product of a pre-Labour government education, seem to think there should be a necessary, debate amongst adults on Sharia Law?
As Marcus has written, Sharia Law is a Divine Law and must never be questioned. Does any of the above actually mean anything to you? Have you learned nothing of Medieval History when Divine Law, as forced out by so called Christians, destroyed many parts of the World and committed attrocious acts with it's belief system?

Do you honestly believe that any discussion on a law system that was supposedly laid down by God to be nothing but completely bias and outdated from today's society?

Rightly so that Murray acted the way he did as he has no doubt, interpretated the current feelings of around 90% of the British population. But as I can see, the Left Wing, liberal, do gooders, who would no doubt have been consciensus objectors in Wartime, come rallying to the aid of Islam who do not wish to live in the UK under our laws but instead want an oppressive, outdated, totally unlogical, law system to run parallel with our own affecting Muslims.

What planet are you all living on?
Do you not realise that once you allow any aspect of Sharia Law into existence here in the UK the rest of it will follow suit?

"No!" I hear you cry......"'re an Islamaphobe and a're a member of the BNP........"
These are the typical insults given to any person here in the UK who does not want another culture, a minority one at that, to impose their ways of life, from failing societies they've left, onto an exceptionally successfull one, a secular one at that, whicht respects all people and treats all equally.

I wholeheartedly understand if the Muslim Minority in the UK are pro Sharia but for Westerners not affiliated with Islam to be, I find completely and utterly astounding. Moreso, for liberal, left, feminists to contemplate the thought of a discussion on Sharia would be like the parents of abused children by Paedophiles, to discuss whether these people did wrong and should they be punished?

Correct me if I'm wrong but was it not Sharia Law behind the fatwah on Salman Rushdie, who dared to question the Islamic faith? Was it not Sharia Law behind the execution of Theo Van Gogh? Is it not the belief system that drives Al Quaeda and the inexcusable acts committed in their name? Was it not a Sharia Law court in Iran that ordered the death sentence of a 17 year old girl, who stabbed a man, in defence, trying to rape her?

And yet, after I write the above, there are still many of you, worse still, people who are British and have grown up in a free democratic society who would openly welcome a discussion on Sharia Law which would mean the complete and utter end of democracy for many in the UK?

I tell you what shall we have a discussion on Sharia Law? I'll start:

Q: What do you think of Sharia Law and should it be allowed in the UK to run parallel to our legal system, for Muslims here in the UK?

A: Sharia Law, is outdated, archaic, out of touch with reality, biased in favour of men, oppressive, barbaric and should be left in the 7th Century where it belongs. If Muslims want Sharia Law then they should move to countries that offer it as this countries legal system is nearly one and a half millenia more advanced than it could ever hope to be.

The only ones that talked any sense on tonight's Newsnight were Jeremy (superb as always! 56/10)and Douglas Murray. The rest were a pathetic excuse for a joke. Even if Sharia law was to be implemented for Muslims in the case of divorce,

From Wikipedia,
"A woman who wishes to be divorced usually needs the consent of her husband."

"Men have the right of unilateral divorce. A divorce is effective when the man tells his wife that he is divorcing her."

"If a man divorces his wife three times, he can no longer marry her again unless she marries another man and then divorces him"

Can you imagine how, as Douglas pointed out, many Muslim women would be forced into accepting the Sharia law in the case of divorce (or any other matter) and not the civil law of the land?

It is nothing short of a recipe for disaster if Sharia law is ever implemented. As for Orthodox Jewish courts, again as Douglas pointed out, they run with the civil law of the land, and not an alternative.

  • 64.
  • At 02:25 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Mark Cameron wrote:

The show tonight was very well balanced although many seem to disagree.

Ramadan - Pro Islam & Sharia
Murray - Pro Christian & British Law
The Bishop of Hulme - Part of a Self immolating faith.

Many here are crying out that Paxman would not allow Ramadan to finish when all he did was go off on a tangent and answer the question like a politician would.
Douglas Murray, obvioulsy, very passioned about this argument, mirrored how British people feel in this society whose rights are being eroded on a daily basis in favour of minority rule.
The Bishop of Hulme, didn't really know what to say as he's obviously, along with the majority of C of E clergy, finding it hard what to believe as he has clearly questioned his faith too much very possibly coming to the realisation that Darwin is right and the Garden of Eden is just a fairytale.

All of the pro-minority rule, pro Sharia, left wing, anti right, pro this and that are clearly in the minority when it comes to the views of the British Public on many things, none moreso than Sharia Law. I have to laugh when I read your ramblings as you behave like children having a tantrum because your beliefs are so farcical.

What I would like to know is what you find so hard in understanding that British people would like to continue being British, under British Law, living in continuing harmony with Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Agnostics, Atheists, Pagans et all, drinking cups of tea, producing useless football teams, having a laugh, being allowed to question life - Monty Python Style and moving forward. We do not however want any other Religion( we have enough of those already thank you very much) trying to dictate how we should live our lives.

And please, please, please, stop trying to pull the wool over my eyes and everyone elses when you say that Islam does not want to control you but to have a law system that is fair to deal with them and their religion as that is complete and utter poppycock. There is a law system here in the UK that is impartial and exceptionally fair. It has people who have studied law from centuries past, who are exceptionally well skilled at what they do, instead of 4 elderly men who graduated to become Sharia Law QC's because of the length of their beards!

I would like to finally point out to you that those who say that living in a democratic country that holds free speech in high esteem, who complain that Paxman never allowed Ramadan to answer, I would like to ask you a couple of questions:

If Sharia Law is such a wonderful Law then why are thousands upon thousands of Muslims choosing to live in the West when, as we are constantly told, they hate the West so much?

If you truly hold Freedom of Speech in such high regard and believe that it should be allowed here in the UK regardless, how do you feel about those Muslim fanatics who marched through London at the time of the Danish Cartoons, carrying Slogans stating such horrors as "Kill the infidels.....Behead the Westerners....Jihad, Jihad, Jihad...." etc etc?

Freedom of Speech is certainly a great thing of any civilisation, but when we allow freedom of Speech from those who seek to destroy our very foudations and democracy, then freedom of speech, to them must never be given. And if you look at many Islamic states you will see that Freedom of Speech is something that has been strictly forbidden.

Now what was that story about the Afghan Man who downloaded something on Woman's rights off the Internet again.........

  • 65.
  • At 03:16 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Erik wrote:

Standards of professionalism at the BBC are apalling.

An absolutely diabolical Newsnight debate.

J Paxman floating his own associated debates.
(e.g. "Is it true OR NOT that sharia law says this or says that...")

  • 66.
  • At 03:18 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Erik wrote:

Standards of professionalism at the BBC are apalling.

An absolutely diabolical Newsnight debate.

J Paxman floating his own associated debates.
(e.g. "Is it true OR NOT that sharia law says this or says that...")

  • 67.
  • At 08:53 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Dianne Roberts wrote:

Mark Cameron and others who have posted similar comments--read before you make judgements on people who were disturbed by last night's Newsnight.

But then, I don't think you are really interested in proper discussion of what someone actually said, or wrote.

I feel so sad that the Enlish people--of whom I am one--can be so tunnel- visioned and anti-intellectual. Perhaps ,after all, we have the media we deserve.

  • 68.
  • At 09:14 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Chris S wrote:

Sharia can co-exist perfectly fine within the secular laws of a country as a voluntary code and means of arbitration. In Malaysia many million chinese, hindus and even muslims live without being affected by the sharia laws that applies only to parts of the population. And it doesn't mean that you get beheaded for having a pint of beer. I really do wish some of these wide eyed hysterical commentators could just do a little bit of homework before commenting.

Almost all organisations have rules that govern their members behaviour, and as long as membership is voluntary (an important point), and the rules (and their sanctions) are not contrary to law then there is nothing wrong with allowing individuals to subject themselves to such rules.

Tonight's programme:
1. Jeremy was far too quick to interrupt Tariq Ramadan in the middle of his attempts to answer. His very valid points were almost completely obscured by this.
2. The "Centre for Social Cohesion" is seriously mis-named, having an all too obvious anti-Islam agenda. Their representative should have been ejected for his disruptive behaviour.
3. The Bishop's contribution was excellent, and he should have been allowed more time.

My opinion, of course.

Namaste -ed

  • 70.
  • At 10:23 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Mahmud Ibrahim wrote:

Once again the BBC has followed the footsteps of the British tabloid press in dishing out ignorance over substance and chose to promote anti-Muslim hysteria rather than inform the British public rationally.

The learned Archibsop was merely referring to certain aspects of Sharia in regards to family law - marital, divorce, burial, inheritance etc. He was not advocating for incorporation of Sharia Law within the English Law.

What is the problem if as a muslim, I want to get married through Islamic Law just as Christians would marry in a church or Jews in a synagogue. How does this affect any other individual or the British people?

I also suspect that individuals like Douglas Murray are a front for other darker forces bent on creating hate between the Christian West and the Muslim world.

Erik (67),

"(e.g. "Is it true OR NOT that sharia law says this or says that...")

Truly deplorable and unworthy of Paxo.

Namaste -ed

  • 72.
  • At 11:21 AM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Rumana wrote:

hello there people,
just want to say, this whole debate has gone totally out of proportion. I am a muslim and I don't think that the Sharia law should be implemented into British laws, for god sakes people majority of the Muslims are not even saying that. at the end of the day Britain is not an Islamic state so Sharia law can not be fully encorporated, what we are merely saying that some aspects such as marriage, finance are dealt within the Sharia context and it's up to the Muslims to choose that option. that's all it is and this whole thing about cutting off hands, majority of people don't even know the facts about this. Islam is not like that the word Islam itself means peace and do you think that cutting off hands would be acceptable in Britain even if Sharia was allowed, even i would be horrified. it's not going to happen. why can't we all just cut the crap and get real with the issues, instead of giving Islam a bad name. also the programme last night really pissed me off, that Murray guy did not have a clue what he was talking about and kept referring to how women are said to be half of men or something like that. what the hell was he on about, do you think me being a muslim, that i would accept that kind of statement. Paxman, don't get me started with him. the oxford guy could not put a word through and that Murray kept butting in. i really think Paxman should apologise or i know get him to resign and get Galloway on the show or someone. oh and its alright if the Jewish courts are present but for some reason you mention something to do with Islam, everyone gets angry, people just chill we Muslims are not trying to take away the British way of life.

My girlfriend and I watched the show last night and both felt strongly that the leading Muslim academic and the Bishop (whose names I unfortunatlely can't remeber and are not given) were a voices of reason.

Paxman seemed keen to avoid both of their placating and well argued views in favour of Mr. Murray who was a textbook propagandist.

It was a shame that newsnight chose to incite over reason.

We felt that the bishop and the muslim academic were both engaging in a useful discussion.

We expect newsnight to do better research, and be more even handed. I'm not sure how they will achieve that by inviting uninformed guests like Mr. Murray (who is he anyway?) and having Jeremy favour their views over the more intelligent voices in the room.

  • 74.
  • At 12:38 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Peter Nicklin wrote:

Paxman's conduct of this discussion was a travesty and I have made a formal complaint. It wasn’t just that he allowed Douglas Murray to shout down both Tariq Ramadan and the Bishop of Hulme, he did a lot of the shouting himself. He allowed Douglas Murray from the ‘centre for social cohesion?’ to conduct an uninterrupted and lengthy rant against the Professor, Islam and the Archbishop's views. After initially being peremptorily cut-off by Paxman, when Professor Ramadan eventually got to speak again he was repeatedly barracked and shouted down by both Paxman and Murray, with Paxman making no attempt to allow Professor Ramadan the opportunity to make an orderly exposition of his views. As a consequence I now know what Mr Murray thinks, I certainly know what Mr Paxman thinks and I know something of the views of the Bishop of Hulme. I have no idea what Professor Ramadan thinks as he was not allowed to make his case. Prof. Ramadan finally became a little irritated with Messrs Paxman and Murray, but he was a model of restraint, he had every right to be incandescent. Mr Paxman has a reputation for being abrasive, and I have no problem with this, but if he is, he has to be even-handed about it. For the record, my view on the Archbishop's remarks is that I don't think we need sharia (or any other theological) law in this country. However, I would like to see a rational debate on it. It does the BBC no service whatever to see Mr Paxman rabble-rousing with the gutter press.

After the programme, I looked up Tariq Ramadan on Wikipedia etc.. He seems to be seeking an intelligent, informed engagement between European Islam and western values and law. I would have really liked to have heard his considered view on the Archbishop’s comments, but to get it, I will have to look to others. I won't get it from Paxman’s BBC.

  • 75.
  • At 01:09 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Joseph wrote:

Unlike the majority of bloggers on this site, the great British public have spoken, clearly the left-wing idiots who seem to think that the only person who was shouting last night was Mr Murrary are the same idiots who seem to think that Sharia law is a good thing.

67 posters on this site, mostly attempting to defend the indefensible, and 25,000 posters on the HYS attacking the Archbishop for his idiotic and naive comments.

I suggest that for the majority of the bloggers here go away and investigate Sharia law and then explain to their wifes why woman are only worth half the value of their lives.

The UK is not a Muslim country, Saudi Arabia is not a Catholic country, so if you want to live under a specific religious regime you always have the choice.

  • 76.
  • At 01:10 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Alison wrote:

I can't see what all the fuss is about Muslims wanting Sharia Law courts in the UK, when all I hear is that they are already operating.
If they are already operating then why is the Archbishop bringing it light?

I feel there is something far more sinister going on here. As I have stated if Sharia Courts are already in operation and don't conflict with our law system then nothing needs to be said on the matter anymore. However, if this is an attempt of making Sharia Law, not to be questioned or overturned by British Law then this is a big problem and further evidence of Islam segregating themselves from British Society.

Recently a group of somalian youths stabbed another and subsequently were tried in an already operating Sharia Law Court here in the UK. As what is normal in Sharia Law courts the guilty partie's family, paid off the victim's family and no action was taken by both parties to take this to a British Court, where clearly an assault had taken place and a grevious boddied one at that.

Now many people may think, well the situation has be sorted hasn't it?
Yes and no.

It has been sorted out because an agreement has been made but let me state the more worrying factors. What if the boy had been killed and the same thing had happened, only a vast amount of money was paid out? It would give Muslims control over some Muslims to murder whomever they chose in comparrison to how large their bank balance was, there by putting a price on a human being.

This in turn gives Muslims a seperate existence from reality here in the UK to live however they choose to live within the strict boundaries of an already proven archaic law system.

Like it or not, Muslims are a minority here in the UK and must respect that. They must also accept that to live in a society they must integrate. This whole situation has done nothing to improve their existence with other UK residents here in the UK and further prooves of their continuing desire of complete and utter segregation from British Society and Way of Life.

  • 77.
  • At 01:14 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Joseph wrote:

Unlike the majority of bloggers on this site, the great British public have spoken, clearly the left-wing idiots who seem to think that the only person who was shouting last night was Mr Murrary are the same idiots who seem to think that Sharia law is a good thing.

67 posters on this site, mostly attempting to defend the indefensible, and 25,000 posters on the HYS attacking the Archbishop for his idiotic and naive comments.

I suggest that for the majority of the bloggers here go away and investigate Sharia law and then explain to their wifes why woman are only worth half the value of their lives.

The UK is not a Muslim country, Saudi Arabia is not a Catholic country, so if you want to live under a specific religious regime you always have the choice.

  • 78.
  • At 01:27 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • knightofchristendom wrote:

this is just another way for muslims to continue the take over of our british way of life, we are not the only ones who face this every country in the world see's this as a growing problem within there home grown muslim populus, and may i add there is no such thing as islamphobia as anyone can criticise ridicule or even hate the islamic faith all they want its called freedom and its what our forefathers fought for, since when was islam a race i might add?

  • 79.
  • At 01:56 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Rosey hayes wrote:

The media has ripped this out of context, esp the newspapers. I am not suprized as most of the newspapers are owned by Rupert Murdock who is known for his anti - islamicism.

The fact is correct if a jewish community can have thier own religious and cultural laws imposed in british society why shouldnt other religions be allowed to. The archbishop wasnt talking of mutilation or stoneing sharia laws that have been portrayed across the media sinse this debate began. He was talking about a basic islamic system where muslims can sort out small disputes, or be able to do weddings in thier own mosques. He wasnt talking about making seprate criminal trials for muslims.

I am a christian and my job involves spending alot of time in the middle east, where sharia law is imposed. Believe me it is imposed in the minority, and i mean a fraction. Sharia Law is just a system that has instilled fear in the muslim community and that is reason why there is such a low crime rate in arab states.

This is just a media hype once again portrayed by the press who are predominantly run by the jewish community.

  • 80.
  • At 02:31 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Zeyshaan Rafiq wrote:


You are relying for information regarding the delicacies of sharia obtained from an electronic encyclopedia that can be appended by any half-witted individual who himself brushes across information and in turn applys it with his own flawed predisposition, to gain an informed understanding of colossal area of knowledge that is sharia?

Any Tom, Dick and Haroon is not capable of giving you the answers you want - you need to ask people who specialise in this area; the sharia is a flexible form of rule which takes in to consideration the issues and practices of the time. Admittedly, some aspects have persisted because they are explicitly worded in the Quran and can not be overruled. For example, the stoning to death for adultery was even overlooked by the Prophet Muhammad when and adulterer confessed of unfaithfulness to his spouse.

The best online resources I've come across are and or just ask to speak to an imam at any mosque in your locality.

  • 81.
  • At 02:49 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Brian Riley wrote:

First of all, a little story to make a point.....
It came a time that a great ecumenical gathering were able to ask God whether he preferred the Catholics, the Protestants, the Shintoists, the Buddhists, the Muslims, the Jews, the Sikhs the Hindus etcetera. After a pause, came the answer from God. "Don't ask me!! I didn't invent all these bloody religions!!"

Now, with regard to "racism", or "Islamophobia", do not the people who constantly scream these words at those who have the temerity to disagree with their particular dogma, realise that the mass of the British population, since the 1950s, have watched with increasing anger, the changes forced upon them and their society, by liberal intellectuals and politicians, until they no longer recognise their own country as the home they have previously known.

And furthermore, to have expressed these misgivings within the hearing of the new liberal/progressive Establishment Gestapo has put them in danger of prosecution and even imprisonment, condemned as "Racists", "Fascists, "Extremists" - haters of all foreigners and probably in favour of Hitler and the Holocaust. Despite the fact that thousands of them had fought in a recent World War to defeat such evil forces in order to defend their own homeland and retain its way of life.

Is it, therefore, suprising that the recent incursion of great numbers of people of a totally different religion and culture into their cities should increase their fears that the culture in which they grew up should now be threatened with increasingly total destruction, whilst the government, who should be protecting that culture, stands by giggling and telling them how wonderful "multicultural Britain" now is?

But they, the people, see that "integration" doesn't mean integration at all. That it means "ghetto-isation" where, far from integrating into existing populations, they are, in fact, displacing the indigenous population, leaving the few original inhabitants remaining isolated in a surrounding area of strangers speaking an unknown language, following an alien religion and alien customs.

And - unbelievable as this may be to the liberal-left - they are NOT happy about it. So does this make them racists, bigots or neo-Nazis??

No!! Just simple, ordinary, decent citizens who are sick and tired of the increasing disappearence of a way of life which they once understood and with which they felt at home.

Islam and Christianity both spring from the Judaic tradition - with the difference that the Jews don't go about trying to convert non-believers. On the contrary, they live comfortably within the British culture whilst retaining their own identity. But since Christ and Mohammed, both of these offsprings of Judaism have been proselityzing religions, prepared to spread their "True Faith" with fire and sword if necessary.

Today the media bring us daily instances of what is, no doubt, the darker side of Islamic fundamentalism, as well as the bombings in Madrid and London Underground - to mention but two instances. Is it then any wonder, that the British indigenous population, given my above remarks, are nervous about the increasing Islamisation of Britain, the indoctrination of young British-born Muslim youths by Imams in British Mosques and the training of Jihadists?

Perhaps now some of the outraged liberals will understand why the Archbishop's words - even misunderstood and out of context - have caused such a furore of protest.

  • 82.
  • At 04:23 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Claire Campbell wrote:

I do not think that the Archbishop's comments should be dismissed so easily. People often equate Sharia Law with people, particularly women, being stoned for adultery and call it a barbaric system. I just remember that is wasn't all that long ago that WE had hanging as part of our laws.
Would it not be worth looking at the individual legal systems first and actually seeing what they are really saying first before we throw the bady out with the bathwater. I know it's a totally scandelous thought but just maybe other types of legal systems have something that could enhance our own.
What about running the various systems in tandem with each other, so a divorce in a Sharia court is also a legal divorce in the UK legal system?
I'd like to know more details about how the various legal systems of the different religious groups work before I cry 'foul'.
Yes, I live in the UK, and yes, I was born a UK Citizen as were my parents etc back as far as I can trace, and while I uphold the UK legal system it doesn't mean that I have to be blind to other systems to be truely British. I feel like it has become illegal to even admit that there might just be merit in other ways of practising law.

  • 83.
  • At 05:00 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Mark Cameron wrote:

Dianne Roberts,

What is there really to discuss, in the public life of British people, the concept of Sharia Law being implemented to run parallel to our law system for Muslims?

This has nothing to do about being adult Dianne and moreso whether or not you want Britain to remain Britain(a secular country) or an Islamic State.

I can quite happily have a discussion about Islam with people. I am more than capable of quoting the Koran, or Islamic Life in Islamic Countries.

However I am certainly not prepared to even enter the thought of Sharia Law being adopted here in the UK.

Firstly, the current mess Islam is in here in the UK and the rest of the World was made so by Islam and not by the West as you may think. I disagreed on the Iraq War and it should never have been fought as one should simply let Muslims get on with their existence in their own countries without outside interference.

For you, as a woman, to even think about giving Sharia Law the light of Day, not only shows your gross stupidity but also your desire to step back into the Dark Ages and give up all the freedoms you currently have, as a Western Woman, that was attained by the deaths of our ancestors.

I am amazed, quite frankly, that people in this country are so adamant to allow another faith to come and completely remove their independence and freedoms let alone destroying any form of Democracy.

If I was a practicing Christian, I'd be livid yet I am more disbelieving Believer when it comes to God but certainly know what is right and what is wrong.

You finish your post with;

"I feel so sad that the Enlish people--of whom I am one--can be so tunnel- visioned and anti-intellectual. Perhaps ,after all, we have the media we deserve."

I think you will find that the majority of Intellectual people left in England are packing their bags and looking for property abroad, trying to escape this insane Asylum created by a Labour Government.
I think you'll also find that the traditional stiff upper lip of English and British people is beginning to falter and the silent majority will now start speaking up, at last for themselves.

What people like yourself, fail to grasp is that we in the UK are not Anti Muslim we are just Anti people who do not want to integrate within our Society.
By trying to implement a law system that has no place in a modern society, because Muslim men are beginning to realise that the west is offering their women a much more rewarding lifestyle, only further goes to show the complete incompetence of Sharia Law when compared next to an 'Impartial' Law system as we have here in the UK.

And in fact, we are debating Sharia Law. I, as part of the majority, here in the UK, DO NOT WANT SHARIA LAW here in the UK, even though it is practicing, illegally here.
Having a face to face discussion with you Diane would be like banging my head against a brick wall.

Without sounding arrogant, putting the words intelligent discussion in the same sentence as Sharia Law is an oxymoron.

What do you find hard to accept that people here in the UK don't want Sharia Law and we really couldn't give two hoots what the minority want?
When will it actually dawn upon you that the people in this country are sick and tired of being forced into this and that with no say whatsoever, when the governments whom they vote in, lie about their pre-election promises and change ourt society for the worse in order to line their own pockets and their beliefs on Utopia by creating something in the UK, multiculturalism, which has been proven can not exist in society, well that is if you put Islam into the equation?

If this government had one ounce of decency it would give the people a referendum on many topics. If one was immediately given to the people of the UK on Sharia Law, there would be a resounding no and that figure would more than likely be in the 90% region with the remaining 10 per cent from Muslims and Muslim sympathisers.

I'm just wondering how you would like it if I came around to your house with my friends and took over your living room, with no regard whatseover to the way YOU wanted to live. When you complained about it and realised nothing could be done then you may start beginning to feel just how the majority of people here in the UK do.

There is one law system here that works perfectly well and should never be paralleled with any other.

  • 84.
  • At 05:08 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Prof Rainey crawford wrote:

for the "knightofchristendom" you should study the quran back to front, get the english transaltion of the complete quran word for word and not scholar manipulations.

you will see that the bulk of the english law espicially when it comes to taxsation has been mentioned in the quran, most of the law that we have today have been mentioned in the quran.

There is a diffrence and every religion has radical elements, extreme scholars it is they who have distorted the quran and its true meaning. Islam is peace loving religion and i implore you to look read the english transaltion before making blown up and contextualized opinions that have been hyped up by the media.

  • 85.
  • At 05:33 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Peter Nicklin wrote:

To Zeyshaan Rafiq.

Point taken about the Wikipedia reference. In my defence, I was looking up Prof Ramadan not sharia law and I did look up other sources, but the problem is always going to be the real authoroity of any source. One thing is clear though, Wikipedia, or just about anything else, is a better source of information about these matters than last night's horror on Mr Paxman's Newsnight.

  • 86.
  • At 06:21 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Jeanette Eccles NW London wrote:

This was bordering on Jeremy Kyle meets Jerry Springer

  • 87.
  • At 07:30 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Dianne Roberts wrote:

Mark Cameron

I wrote a long reply and then lost the page. Can't be bothered to go through it again.

Suffice it to say that you have proved my point. You have misrepresented my views just as elements in the media and in the general public have misrepresented Rowan Williams' views.

I was appalled at the bias in the way the item was presented on Newsnight and the misrepresentation. Read my post (44 I think) before attributing to me ideas about Sharia law that I do not possess.

So Mr Cameron, bang you head against this particular wall as much as you like. Keep on proving my point---I don't mind.

  • 88.
  • At 08:24 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Demographics suggest that secular, liberal-democratic, human rights loving hedonists/anarchists are headed for genetic extinction. Along the way, they appear determined to reject all lifelines.

Now they shoot a messenger because they can't read/understand what he says:

We live in a very dumbed down culture - it's all down to the birth rate and 'human rights' gone mad.

  • 89.
  • At 11:07 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Mark Cameron wrote:


I don't want to continue banging my head against the wall so I'll be shorter than normal.

We have seen just what is happening now within society when we pamper to the minority and ignore the majority.

I understood everything you wrote, crystal. I misinterpreted nothing, but realise from your comments that all form of rational debate with you would be impossible as Sharia Law and Rational go together like oil and water.

Secular societies don't need discussion on Sharia and it's really that simple. However I would gladly welcome the discussion of the removal of Sharia Law from all countries that it currently manifests within.

  • 90.
  • At 02:48 AM on 10 Feb 2008,
  • Chris wrote:

sharia law cant exist in britain even as a means of arbitration. as the tory mp rightly said that " we cant be little bit pregnant" . but i feel sorry for the archbishop he is a very decent and thoughtful man i am sure that he only thought of welfare of the society, but did not realise that his statment would bring about such impact.

  • 91.
  • At 04:59 AM on 10 Feb 2008,
  • wappaho wrote:

I'm listening to Rowan's speech now and it is really far worse than the paraphrasing that has caused outrage and so I fail to see how he can be defended on intellectual grounds. Rowan specifically talks about social identity and of increaing the power, resources and legal recognition of the Sharia Council of Britain. He is unbelievably naive if he thinks that intellectually stating that there would be no blank cheques nor collusion with unexamined systems, can magically disintegrate the structures that we hear about in special reports on the machinations of Islamicism. Islam has always been a religion that spreads by direct action and coercive recruitment. Islam can never co-exist in this country until it recognises the right of all people to believe that their god(s), or lack of god, is the truth.

  • 92.
  • At 08:20 AM on 10 Feb 2008,
  • Mike wrote:

The Archbishop did not think about the logic of his comments. I totally agree with all others - Sharia law cant exist in Britain, this idea should be resisted at all costs and indeed I agreed with everything the Tory MP stated. I also agree very much with the comments of Diane - I am fed up with well meaning loose canons coming up with ideas constantly which focus on the minority and forget everyone else. Its quite simple, if you wish to live in the UK you abide by UK law - that simple, no specials - just UK law. The Archbishop show resign immediately. I do not feel sorry for him at all, he should go, he has shown himself to be dangerous in his views. A successor should be reminded whats important - the values of the Church of England and defending the Christian faith of the Church of England !

  • 93.
  • At 08:24 AM on 10 Feb 2008,
  • Adrienne wrote:

wappaho (#92) Surely this is just a legal matter in the context of Article 10 of the FCHR. Would you accept this, below, as a rationale explanation? Here is the EU Lisbon Treaty, Fundamental Charter of Human Rights, article 10 (of 53).

"Art 10. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion


Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes the freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance. The right to conscientious objection is recognised, in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of this right."

As I see it, the Archibishop's speech was just the opener to a wider discussion on the legal accommodation of Islam within Europe given:

a) the planned further immigration of Muslims by Frattini (20 million from S ASian/Africa, many will be Muslims) to compensate for our low 'Christian/secular' birth rate, plus the higher than replacement TFRs of the Muslims already here.

b) Prima facie difficulties of Muslims having the legal right under the FCHR to practice their religion which is primarily behaviour i.e. duties based (as is much of Orthodox Judaism), amidst other groups who practice different, sometimes abhorrent to their practices/tastes (e.g. homosexuality, infidelity, pornography).

Islam and Judaism have very specific codes of behavioural practice, and Article 10 clearly protects their right to practice them. LEGALLY, the accommodation of Shari'a within British (and EU) law is logically inevitable once we ratify the Lisbon Treaty. Rowan's speech simply airs (albeit in rather arcane language) how this might play out in our pluralistic society. He speaks of how there will effectively be mutual competition between these groups as there is elsewhere in the 'market'.

The flyer for the lecture is worth a glance:

  • 94.
  • At 06:58 PM on 10 Feb 2008,
  • Joanna Keith wrote:

The laws definitely need to be made strong enough to make people not want to brake the law, like Sharia does, but perhaps in a more civilised manner, such as making prisoners serve their full sentences and not just a fraction of it, for example.

  • 95.
  • At 09:23 PM on 10 Feb 2008,
  • Rod Sellers wrote:

Well done Douglas Murray. No pussyfooting about and taking the Muslim infiltraitors by the throat.

We need more 'Muscular Christianity' and less apologising waffle from Rowan Williams.

Toleration has become a vice for the CofE. It was fine when we ruled the world - now we need to be combatative - the Archbishop of Canterbury is supposed to be 'cheerleader' for the Anglican Church, not a multicultural Ombudsman.

  • 96.
  • At 09:53 PM on 10 Feb 2008,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Rod (#95) Douglas Murray is not speaking up for Christianity, he's speaking on behalf of those from much further afield, along with their Socialist International and free-market ecobomics, which has always been threatened by the expansion of 'national socialism' which today, just conveniently includes the Caliphate. There are others, and Iran was a guest of honour last year.

This is not all it seems, it's just part of an EU/USA/Israel rally call.

  • 97.
  • At 10:49 PM on 10 Feb 2008,
  • Suffragette's Daughter wrote:

I am a very old woman. Both my grandmothers were born before the Married Women's Property Act. When I heard that the Archbishop was talking about the possible introduction of Sharia Law, I was overcome with panic. Perhaps unreasonably so. But our full human rights as women in this country are less than a hundred years old. I gather that the Abp also told the Pope that it was not inconceivable that the C of E would cease to ordain women priests. He may strive to be sensitive and all-inclusive, but how about being sensitive to the needs, aspirations and fears of women too? - half the population, in fact.

  • 98.
  • At 11:49 PM on 10 Feb 2008,
  • Adrienne wrote:

#97 "half the population, in fact" and shrinking precisely because of this great socialist 'victory' ;-)

But how many are bright enough to grasp this today given three generations of differential and dysgenic fertility? Guess what the basic driver of that has long been? Emancipation of females, the rest is at attempt to compensate. Here are the consequences:

See the Leitch Report for the bleak prognosis for the UK (and don't believe the Lysenkoist panaceas).

  • 99.
  • At 01:53 PM on 11 Feb 2008,
  • Cloe F wrote:

Most of the discussions in the media and press focus far too much on the issues related to the Archbishop's 'World at One' comments. The point he actually makes in his lecture is much wider and far worse because he purposes that (any?!) religious beliefs should be put above and beyond egalitarian 'universal' rights and duties, and that this somehow is supposed to increase cohesion and tolerance.

Jenny's #4 (and to some extent Wappaho's #91) contributions have made this point far more eloquently than I can be bothered to. 'Nuff said...

  • 100.
  • At 11:06 PM on 11 Feb 2008,
  • Gordon wrote:

What I would like to say is at least 4 generations in my family were born in this country that I know of, and to be honest I feel frightened that I'm losing my country, politicians trying with all their efforts to keep all the small minorities in this country happy, and completely ignoring the majority of English people, when I say English people I meen people that have tried to fit in to English ways.

  • 101.
  • At 02:13 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • John Farrell wrote:

Last weekend I was watching the rugby - on several occasions players struck each other in ways that would be considered as assault in other circumstances. The matter was however dealt with according to the laws of rugby by the referee, with the potential for involvement of the citing official.

This did not mean that a player could not, if he so wished, take action for assault. It did however mean that the law did not impose itself into the situation where it was not needed.

Why can we so easily agree to such an accommodation in law for a game and yet react so vehemently against a similar accommodation for a religious faith.

If two parties agree that a dispute between them should be considered following Sharia principles (dispute resolution is the purpose of the majority of law) , without any sacrifice of their rights under "general" law why do we refuse to accept the outcome of that consideration out of hand. Why for example can they not jointly register the Sharia ruling with a civil court so that it has force of law.

If we can accommodate the rules of rugby, and rely upon the wisdom of the sages of association football, surely we can exercise some trust in Islamic scholars (or does that push our prejudice too far).

  • 102.
  • At 02:24 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • John Farrell wrote:

Last weekend I was watching the rugby - on several occasions players struck each other in ways that would be considered as assault in other circumstances. The matter was however dealt with according to the laws of rugby by the referee, with the potential for involvement of the citing official.

This did not mean that a player could not, if he so wished, take action for assault. It did however mean that the law did not impose itself into the situation where it was not needed.

Why can we so easily agree to such an accommodation in law for a game and yet react so vehemently against a similar accommodation for a religious faith.

If two parties agree that a dispute between them should be considered following Sharia principles (dispute resolution is the purpose of the majority of law) , without any sacrifice of their rights under "general" law why do we refuse to accept the outcome of that consideration out of hand. Why for example can they not jointly register the Sharia ruling with a civil court so that it has force of law.

If we can accommodate the rules of rugby, and rely upon the wisdom of the sages of association football, surely we can exercise some trust in Islamic scholars (or does that push our prejudice too far).

Douglas Murray made repeated referred verse 2:282 in the Qur'an claiming that it equates the testimony of two women to that of one man (which is the so-called verse of debt).

Even a modest exposure to the history of the Arabs will suggest that this verse contains a significant amount of material that later jurists categorized variously as recommended or merely instructional (irshad) and without legal import. However, a very few jurists opined that the recording of debts, witnessing, and all other matters dealt with in the verse may be categorized as obligatory.

Murray is seen interrupting other participants rudely and repeatedly. Is it to hide the fact that
he has little exposure to Muslim societies and even lesser knowledge
of Arabic? Murray is not acclaimed knowledgeable in Islamic Sciences
but has cultivated an obsession to challenge scholars and steer debates to less meaningful trajectories.

Douglas Murray repeatedly referred to verse 2:282 in the Qur'an claiming that it equates the testimony of two women to that of one man (which is the so-called verse of debt).

Even a modest exposure to the history of the Arabs will suggest that this verse contains a significant amount of material that later jurists categorized variously as recommended or merely instructional (irshad) and without legal import. However, a very few jurists opined that the recording of debts, witnessing, and all other matters dealt with in the verse may be categorized as obligatory.

Murray is seen interrupting other participants rudely and repeatedly. Is it to hide the fact that
he has little exposure to Muslim societies and even lesser knowledge
of Arabic? Murray is not acclaimed knowledgeable in Islamic Sciences
but has cultivated an obsession to challenge scholars and steer debates to less meaningful trajectories.

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