In one breath the Archbishop says
Nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that has sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states: the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women,”
Well, yes, I would certainly agree with that. But then he goes on to say:
“But there are ways of looking at marital disputes, for example, which provide an alternative to the divorce courts as we understand them.”
Arrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Sorry I couldn't come up with something more eloquent, but I did say I was nearly struck dumb with the stupidity of it all.)
Doesn't he get it? Doesn't he understand? Enforcing sharia based decisions in matters of family law - and especially in matters of divorce - is exactly what underlines the barbaric attitudes to women.
There's nothing to stop two parties coming to an agreement based on sharia and abiding by it under current UK law. Women - in case of separation, do you want to hand over custody of your children? Do you want to have a "mosque-based" marriage in which you have no rights when it comes to property? Hey, fine by me. Do what you want.
But no way, no how should British courts be enforcing such decisions or routing women of Muslim origin into sharia based civil court hearings. That's what a tandem system of sharia law for Muslims would mean.
Equality before the law. One law for everyone. We may not always get it, but we must always , always aspire to it.
*head honcho bishop in the Church of England
UPDATE: At Harry's Place, just as one would have expected there's a discussion about this. They call for the sacking of the Archbishop and the disestablishment of the Church of England. No need. When the head of the CoE calls for sharia law - the church done been disestablished.