The Bishop of Rochester vs. the Archdhimmi of Canterbury

I reported on Thursday about the remarks made by Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, concerning the inevitability of sharia law in at least parts of Britain.

The Archbishop of CanterburyThe Archdhimmi provoked a surprisingly large backlash both inside and outside the Anglican Church. The outraged responses came not just from the usual suspects — Tories, BNP members, and assorted other racists, fascists, and xenophobes — but even from members of the Labour Party, including the former Home Secretary David Blunkett. I was never fond of the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, George (now Lord) Carey, but Dr. Williams’ statements were too much even for him. According to The Daily Telegraph, Lord Carey said “that Dr Williams was wrong to believe that sharia could be accommodated into the English system because there were so many conflicting versions of it, many of which discriminated against women.”

According to This is London:

Bishop of Southwark Tom Butler, a liberal who would normally be expected to defend Dr Williams, said the archbishop had been entering a minefield and added: “It will take a great deal of thought and work before I think it is a good idea.”

He was more blunt in a circular to clergy in his diocese, saying he had yet to be convinced of the feasibility of incorporating any non-Christian religious law into the English legal system.

That’s a relief.

Here’s a voice of sanity from a Muslim Baroness:

Tory cohesion spokesman Baroness Warsi, a Muslim herself, said: “The archbishop’s comments are unhelpful and may add to the confusion that already exists in our communities.

“Freedom under the law allows respect for some religious practices.

“But let’s be absolutely clear. All British citizens must be subject to British laws developed through Parliament and the courts.”

And from an Anglican Tory (in the old days that would have been a tautology):

Tory backbencher David Davies, an Anglican, said: “I am astounded. Dr Williams is a nice enough man, very intellectual, but he has clearly lost the plot.

“He’s one of the most influential Christian prelates in the world and he’s supposed to be standing up for Christianity.

“What he’s doing is abandoning his own religion. If people come to this country they should be prepared to compromise their own traditions to fit in with the host country.”

Michael Nazir-AliOne of the more vehement critics of the Archdhimmi was the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, who drew headlines and criticism last month for having the temerity to describe certain urban neighborhoods in Britain as “no-go areas” for non-Muslims.

Back then Dr. Nazir-Ali was on the receiving end of criticism from his fellow Anglicans (including the Archbishop), and death threats from Muslims, for speaking the plain truth. Now it’s his turn to take a fellow Anglican to task:
– – – – – – – –

The most damaging attack came from the Pakistan-born Bishop of Rochester, the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali.

He said it would be “simply impossible” to bring sharia law into British law “without fundamentally affecting its integrity”.

Sharia “would be in tension with the English legal tradition on questions like monogamy, provisions for divorce, the rights of women, custody of children, laws of inheritance and of evidence.

“This is not to mention the relation of freedom of belief and of expression to provisions for blasphemy and apostasy.”


Debates on sharia “are not an argument for disturbing the integrity of a legal tradition which is rooted in the quite different moral and spiritual vision deriving from the Bible,” he concluded.

Dr. Nazir-Ali is a native Pakistani and a convert from Islam. Having been on the receiving end of sharia, he has some idea of what Dr. Williams is proposing. Also, being a “brown person” himself, he is immune to the charge of “racism” that would normally be flung in his direction for saying such dreadful things.

Dr. Williams is backpedaling as fast as possible on his Archiepiscopal unicycle. He now maintains that he didn’t mean what his critics say he did:

Claiming he never called for the introduction of the Muslim system, Dr Rowan Williams claimed he wanted to “tease out some of the broader issues around the rights of religious groups within a secular state”.

In a statement on his website based on his controversial lecture in London last night, he added he had only used sharia as an example.

Revisit Dr. Williams’ own words and judge for yourself whether he was “teasing out the broader issues”:

“It seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of Sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law, so it is not as if we are bringing in an alien and rival system.

“We already have in this country a number of situations in which the internal law of religious communities is recognised by the law of the land as justifying conscientious objections in certain circumstances.”


“There is a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law as we already do with aspects of other kinds of religious law.

“It would be quite wrong to say that we could ever license a system of law for some community which gave people no right of appeal, no way of exercising the rights that are guaranteed to them as citizens in general.

“But there are ways of looking at marital disputes, for example, which provide an alternative to the divorce courts as we understand them.

“In some cultural and religious settings, they would seem more appropriate.”

The above quote seems pretty clear to me. If it’s just an “example”, it’s a lengthy and detailed one, with no alternative examples — from, say, Buddhist or Mormon law — offered to indicate consideration of a broader juridical theology.

No, Dr. Williams, you will simply have to accept the fact that you were speaking without particular alarm about the inevitability of sharia in Britain. You made your bed; now lie in it.

There have been calls for the Archdhimmi’s resignation, but in my opinion the Anglican hierarchy is too rigid and hidebound to crack under such a minor controversy.

If, however, Dr. Williams were pressured to step down, let’s hope Michael Nazir-Ali is appointed to succeed him. Now there’s a Defender of the Faith.

Hat tips: TB and Queen.

19 thoughts on “The Bishop of Rochester vs. the Archdhimmi of Canterbury

  1. Bp. Nazir Ali is a convert from the Roman Church to Anglicanism. His father was a convert from Izlam to the Roman Catholic faith.

    If Abp. Williams can be induced to step down (Oh, that life could be so sweet!), then perhaps Bp. Nazir Ali could be named in his place. Then the Church of England could have a real leader and we might see it get back on track.

  2. That Jonestown Saint has been slurping the kool-aid with religious abandon.

    I wonder if he practises astrology as well. He’s probably an Aquarian Age charlatan as well. He’s a Satanic inflitrator rotten with subtle spiritual self deception and self flattery. ‘Prelest‘ they call it. If Rowan Williams participated in Druidic rituals in his earlier years then he is most certainly held in thrall to the sweet sweet beautiful Satan.

  3. Horse, are you not aware that one of the last things he did before leaving Wales to be invested as Archbishop of Canterbury was to be made a Druid? It got a fair amount of publicity at the time. He played down the significance, but it is clear that it was highly significant.

  4. The scapegoat – it seems everyone is piling in on him.

    Let us look at the roots of this furore. All the Archbishop said was that some elements of shari’a should be recognised in Britain. So what? Some elements of shari’a are already recognised in Britain. And this is a consequence of unfettered and large-scale immigration of Muslims to the UK. This, combined with the high birth rate of Muslims, make not just some elements of shari’a unavoidable, but shari’a itself, inevitable in the UK in less the 50 years, and consequently the end of the historic cultural identity of this nation.

    The fault for this catastrophic state of affairs does not lie with the Archbishop. I don’t recall the Archbishop or the Synod defining immigration policy, or allowing shari’a mortgages, shari’a banking, inhumane Halal methods of slaughter, turning a blind eye to the oppression of Muslim women, recognition of polygamous marriages – it is successive governments, and New Labour one in particular, that has allowed these to happen, and has placed the nation in mortal peril. We would not be in a state of hysteria over some statement over shari’a were it not for these facts, and the Archbishop had nothing to do with any of them.

    Then there is the duplicitous handing over the powers of parliament to an un-elected bunch of commissars in Brussels. If the main opinion forming papers in the UK had made half the hue and cry over this issue as they have over the Archbishop’s comments, we would now be preparing for a referendum on the EU, recovering our parliamentary powers, and thus be able to do something concrete for the defence of the nation.

    So what we have here is that main newspapers, the so-called opinion forming broadsheets, have ignored two huge elephants in the room threatening to squash us – the EU constitution and unfettered immigration and growth of the Muslim population, and instead concentrated their fire on the goat.

    Whatever one may think of the Archbishop, his incomprehensibility, or wishy-washy liberalism, I find this huge attack on one man, a genuinely good man, a scurrilous and disguised attempt to shift the blame for the current state of affairs.

  5. Does nobody else smell a rat here?.

    To me, this has got all the hallmarks of a Nu Labour toe tester.

    First they appoint one of their many minions to enter into the public domain, an idea so radical that it has peoples from all walks of life and social sectors up in arms.

    Hell; – Even though it was their idea in the first place, – even government ministers will shake their heads disapprovingly.

    Then; – When the initial furore has settled down – they introduce the idea as policy – quietly at first, – and let it travel as far as it can, – for as long as it can.

    If at any point the public relaunch a furious tirade – they quickly drop it! – and blame some government underling for putting into practice – a policy without any governmental jurisdiction.

    It’s been a tried and tested tactic of this “shower” for over a decade now. – Don’t believe this issue has gone away. – I forcast now, this is but the very start!!.

  6. To tell the truth, I’m glad some sort of hell has been raised over William’s idiotic statements and I hope he’s hounded off his high seat. I also hope this damned foolishness shocks right-minded Britons into the realization of just how far down the wrong road they’ve allowed themselves to be led and that they get angry about it.

    If Britain gets up on its hind-legs, the rest of Europe will follow.

  7. Sad racist tought:

    It is sad to see that (maybe just one of) the one who stands for the Church of England is a “brown man” who looks so ridiculous, as a “brown man”, in that kind of uniform that reminds me one of those underclass men of the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. The only day of the year, except Christmas, when the guy in question forgets how sad the World really is.

    It just prooves my point that the problem is not the Non-Europeans (who many times do not integrate or belong in this societies, simply as that, it’s not theirs or our fault.) but our LEFTIST EUROPEAN BLOOD.
    Those are our enemies.

    When the LEFTIST EUROPEAN BLOOD is to be controled, the immigrants will be controled too.

  8. Alfonso;

    The only reason Nazir-Ali can openly comment on this subject is because of the very fact that hes “Brown skinned”.

    If he were a white indigenous Britain, Gormless Gordon Browns thought police would have drummed him out of dodge city quick smart.

    “In the kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king”.

    Desiderius Erasmus.

    But much to the disgust of our one eyed patriarch Brown, – Nazir-Ali casts light so we may see.

  9. Curiouser and curiouser…

    Report: Sharia Courts Already Operating in England?

    Saturday, February 09, 2008

    Just as the Archbishop of Canterbury was facing calls to step down for advocating Islamic law be added to the British legal system, reports surfaced that sharia courts already were tackling crime in London, The Daily Mail reported.

    The Daily Mail reported that teen members of the Somali community in Woolwich were arrested on charges of stabbing another youth, but the victim’s family told police the case would be settled out of court and the suspects were released on bail.

    At the hearing, the assailants were ordered to pay the victim.

    “All their uncles and their fathers were there,” said Aydarus Yusuf, who helped set up the hearing. “So they all put something towards that and apologized for the wrongdoing.”

    In Leyton, another Islamic council also said it had been handling cases — more than 7,000 divorces — while sharia courts in the capital were said to have settled hundreds of disputes regarding money.

    Meanwhile Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams faced widespread condemnation after calling for an “accommodation” with parts of the Islamic legal code and calls to quit. Culture Secretary Andy Burnham described his action as a “recipe for chaos.”

  10. Englishsummer,

    my name is AFonso Henriques, not ALFonso. Can’t you people get it?

    AFONSO Henriques, instead of Alfonso, is the name of one anti-jihadist who expelled the muslims from the Southwestern half of the Iberian Peninsula in his lifetime. He conquered more land to Europe than any ALFonso available.
    In my Nation, if you want to become a King or someone important, you will have to consider “Crack the muslims head” as a hobbie. In the old days.

    Now, answering to your comment, you are pretty in line with me. It’s sad that we have came this low.
    Despite the fact that where I live the things are a bit better than in the Great Britain.

  11. “Tories, BNP members, and assorted other racists, fascists, and xenophobes”

    Did you mean to say that Tories and BNP members are racist, fascist and xenophopobic? If not, you should remove the word ‘other’.

  12. blogagog, it’s satire. The tories have been called all of these things in the not so distant past (and much more besides). The BNP have been called these things in the past; whether it’s true in their case is open to debate, though it would seem that this is no longer the case.

    Satire. Sarcasm. Call it what you will.

  13. Blogagog —

    Sorry — I wish I could use and tags to indicate when I’m being ironic.

    I never use the word “racist” in a serious manner. I’ve been called that so many times that I consider the word meaningless, like “phlogiston”. If you see the word “racist” in this blog, it’s either ironic or a quote.

  14. Haha. Doh! I’m too much of an idiot to catch satire these days. Which is even sadder than it should be since almost all of my commenting on blogs is satirical.

    Sorry about that! 🙂

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