"Sharia comes for the Archibishop"

Interesting piece in the current edition of The Weekly Standard by Stephen Schwartz who casts a critical eye at the call earlier this week by Rowan Williams, who, because he is the Archbishop of Canterbury is the global leader of the Anglican Communion, for official recognition in Britain of sharia or Islamic religious law:

What the archbishop ignored is that British Muslim radicals raise the demand for sharia as an ideological banner. They hope to separate Muslims from their non-Muslim neighbors, the easier to recruit and indoctrinate believers for jihadism . . .

sharia fanatics … want the public enforcement of religious decrees. Obligatory sharia for Muslims, enforced by the British state, is the ultimate threat implicit in Archbishop Williams's call for accommodation.

Schwartz, it ought to be noted, was once on the political left, but now describes himself as a political conservative. He not only underwent a political conversion; he is a religious convert as well. Born of Jewish and Protestant parents in Ohio, he is now a practising Muslim and earns a living mostly as the executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism. He has a book on Sufism coming out this fall. He has more to say in the Standard article about the introduction of sharia in the West:

Counterintuitive as it may seem, the Islamists' call for introduction of Islamic religious law in the West is an innovation, not heard in Europe or the United States before the radicalization of Muslims at the end of the 1970s. This is because it is actually a violation of traditional sharia, which commands that Muslims living in non-Muslim lands obey the law and respect the customs of the host countries. This requirement is spelled out, for instance, in the sharia volume A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West (1999), which quotes the moderate Iraqi Shia ayatollah Ali Sistani pronouncing that Muslims living in non-Muslim nations must commit themselves “to abide by the laws of that country,” as they implicitly promise to do when they sign an immigration form. If they cannot do this, they should return to Muslim territory . .

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