Time I think for a few reflections on Rowan Williams’ remarks that the adoption of parts of Sharia law was inevitable in the UK.
- There is a I think little doubt that Williams comments have been hugely misrepresented and that he has been unfairly treated.
- There is also little doubt that Williams has made a huge gaffe. I don’t know who looks after his PR but his remarks are extremely ill advised in the current climate.
- Williams’ remarks have shown yet again that he is out of step with mainstream Anglican opinion, something he has managed to demonstrate on just about every major issue on which he has spoken. Unfortunately in an age of spin we are constantly being told it is a misunderstanding based on his superior wisdom and the stupidity of the rest of the world. In which case it is an unfortunate brilliance he possesses.
- Whilst some have sought to defend Williams not many have rushed to agree with him. Notably there have been many Muslim voices who have disagreed with him. What does this latter fact tell us about Sharia law?
- One response to Williams’ statement by a Muslim was to ask which version of Sharia law should be introduced? Williams statement may help people understand Muslims better if they understand that Islam, like Christianity, is not monolithic.
- Many have observed that the UK’s laws are based on Judaeo-Christian values. Hopefully Williams remarks will cause many people-Christian, secular and Muslim- to think carefully about that and what we are in danger of surrendering if the UK continues headlong in its pursuit of political correctness at every turn. The ‘liberal’ values which so many cherish are deeply rooted in Christian values.
- One Muslim commentator remarked that Sharia law offered protection to minorities. That was once true in the past in certain cases. But sadly it is seldom the case today as many Christian minorities in Muslim dominated countries could testify.
- Sadly Williams has done little to encourage true dialogue between Christians and Muslims. Instead his remarks have helped whip up further hysteria which may only lead to the further alienation of Muslims in the UK. It is therefore incumbent upon Christians in the UK to befriend Muslims and engage them where it truly matters, not on the public stage, but at a local level.
As mentioned above in PR terms Williams’ statement has been a disaster. But it may inadvertently have the spin-off of causing people to think more carefully about the issues he has raised. Hopefully it will also cause Christians to think more carefully about how they engage with their Muslim neighbours and not push them into some kind of knee-jerk reaction.