As Winston Churchill once commented about Stanley Baldwin, Britain's ineffectual and incompetent Prime Minister in the mid-1930's, "he will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on." Were Churchill alive today, he could well make the same remark in regards to Britain's Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, who has called for allowing a parallel legal system with Sharia law to be recognized in Britain. And indeed, Churchill's commentary on Baldwin applies essentially across the board to the U.K.'s socialist elite, all of whom seem to live in a cloistered world of pure fantasy. Unfortunately, in Britain, it is this 'chattering class' of socialist elitists who hold all the reigns of power in government, the judiciary, academia, and even the Anglican Church. Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice, strongly backed Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, over his suggestion earlier this year that aspects of Sharia law should be adopted in Britain. I have to intercede here. What the Lord Justice has said is incredibly disingenuous. Yes, it is possible for parties to a contract in the UK, just as in the U.S., to enter into a choice of law agreement specifying that another country's law should govern the terms of that particular agreement. However, it is a long established doctrine at common law that no court will enforce an agreement - or any law requiring a specific interpretation of an agreement - that contravenes the public policy of the state. There is no question that Sharia law, particularly as to marriage and family, is at odds with the values - and thus the public policy - of the West in many respects. See the links discussing this below. To continue with the Telegraph article: He said: "There is no reason why principles of Sharia law, or any other religious code, should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution." Read the entire article. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the Anglican Communion, doubtless thought he was making a positive contribution to interfaith relations when he gave a speech on February 7 suggesting that some form of official recognition in Britain for elements of sharia--Islamic religious law--is "unavoidable." . . . Read the entire article.
A few weeks ago, Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest priest of the Anglican Church - a man who has praised Islam, damned America as an imperialist nation to a crowd of Muslims, blamed America for Muslim violence against Christians in the Middle East, and who refuses to proselytize for Christianity among Muslims - himself advocated implementing at least parts of Sharia law in Britain. Today, Britain's Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips - the man who has overseen the gutting of Britain's anti-terrorism law, the man whose judiciary has made it impossible to deport the terrorists and radical Islamists from Britain, and the man who has helped make of the British justice system a joke as a deterrent to crime - has himself now joined this supremely misguided Archbishop in calling for at least the partial enforcement of Sharia law in Britain.
For the past millenium, it has been a foundational element of Anglo-Saxon law that no person was above the law and that one law applies to all in the kingdom. Yet now Britain's highest judge, who seemingly should be prepared to defend the ancient Anglo-Saxon legal system with his very life against any hint of encroachment, is prepared to jettison it as no longer relevant. He is calling for the impostion of two different legal systems in Britain - systems with wholly incompatible values.
One wonders if these socialist elites have a clue as to the nature of Sharia law? Do they understand the harm they are doing to all of British society - not just the majority of Muslims in the UK who wish to live in freedom - by calling for this? Do they understand that there is a war going on at this very moment for the heart and soul of Islam? Do they understand that it is a war between those who wish to live and pursue their faith under Western freedoms versus those who wish to do away with the West and impose Sharia law? All one needs to do to understand what is at stake is listen to Parts II and III of the debate on this issue between the Muslim reformer, Dr. Zhudi Jasser, and a Salafi Imam (see here).
One wonders if these socialist elites understand so little about Islam that they do not know its basic precepts. One of those precepts is that calling for Sharia to be imposed in a non-Muslim country 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." The call to Sharia in the UK is not made in respect of traditional Islam, but in the name of radicalization and triumphalism.
One wonders if these socialist elites understand the relationship between Sharia law, the subjugation of women and honor violence? Perhaps they would do well to read the report on it from the UK Center for Social Cohesion that played so prominently in the U.K. papers a few weeks ago.
One wonders if these socialist elites understand that the call to Sharia comes from the fanatics who reject British law and who do not want Muslims to integrate into British society. Do they understand that these same fanatics wish to impose their belief system on all of Britain and precisely what that means? When the head of the Muslim Council of Britain calls for the stoning of adulterers in Britain as part of the country-wide imposition of Sharia law, perhaps that should be a clue to these socialists that they are living in a fantasy world. Or when converts from Islam face death threats and are hunted down in Christian Britain, mayhap there is a need to fully establish the primacy and exculsivity of British laws in Britain.
With no written Constitution, with no system of checks and balances between co-equal branches of government, and with Parliament over a century ago having claimed for itself unlimited sovereignty, Britain lives in a tyranny of parliament today. Ancient rights of the British have been taken away at Parliamentary whim over the past century. Labour and Tory offer essentially the same brand of socialism. Democracy is near death in Britain and, with the transfer of sovereignty to the EU, it will be in fact be dead in all but name. The socialists are in total control and are imposing their suicidal and destructive values by fiat. They are deconstructing society at an ever increasing rate even as they hold open the floodgates to massive immigration (with corresponding massive emigration). The virulent strain of Islam now dominant in Britain and being homegrown on British soil in Deobandi seminaries is, according to the Times, even more radical than the strain animating the brutal Taliban. This is suicidal insanity. It truly is a race to see whether Britain's socialists will completely destroy what remains of Anglo-Saxon society before the rank and file of Britain revolt and either retake their country or are defeated, ending once and forever the Anglo-Saxon kingdom that has been such a positive force in the world.
The Telegraph provides the sordid details of Lord Phillips perfidy:
This from the Telegraph:
The archbishop's remarks sparked a national debate and led to calls for his resignation.
Risking inflaming that controversy again, Lord Phillips has said that Muslims in Britain should be able to use Sharia to decide financial and marital disputes.
The judge did add that only the criminal courts should have the power to decide when a crime has been committed and when to impose punishment.
But his suggestion that different religious groups should run their affairs according to different rules sparked warnings that community cohesion could be undermined.
In a speech at the East London Muslim Centre in east London, Lord Phillips said it was "not very radical" for Dr Williams to argue that Sharia law can be used to help govern issues like family disputes and the sale of financial products.
Lord Phillips said: "It is possible in this country for those who are entering into a contractual agreement to agree that the agreement shall be governed by law other than English law."
Therefore, he said, he could see no reason why Sharia law should not be used to settle disputes in this country.
He added: "It must be recognized however that any sanctions for a failure to comply with the agreed terms of the mediation would be drawn from the laws of England and Wales."
Sharia law suffered from "widespread misunderstanding" in Britain, Lord Phillips said.
"Part of the misconception about Sharia law is the belief that Sharia is only about mandating sanctions such as flogging, stoning, the cutting off of hands or death for those fail to comply with the law," he said.
"In some countries the courts interpret Sharia law as calling for severe physical punishment. There can be no question of such courts sitting in this country, or such sanctions being applied here."
The judge said Dr Williams had been misunderstood when it was reported in February that he said British Muslims could be governed by Sharia law.
Lord Phillips said that the archbishop was saying only that "it was possible for individuals voluntarily to conduct their lives in accordance with Sharia principles without this being in conflict with the rights guaranteed by our law".
There is already scope in English law for some communities to use their own religious codes to resolve disputes. Orthodox Jews can use the Beth Din rabbinical courts to decide on matters including divorce.
However some critics say that women marrying under Sharia law do not have the same rights as in English law, and could lead to them being treated as second class citizens as far as divorce settlements, custody of children and inheritance go.
Muslim and Christian politicians expressed fears that at a time of heightened tensions, encouraging Muslims to live by their own distinct rules could make it harder for different communities to integrate.
Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar and a practising Muslim, said that allowing Sharia law in parts of the UK would be divisive.
He said: "This would create a two-tier society. It is highly retrograde. It will segregate and alienate the Muslim community from the rest of British society.
"The majority of British Muslims want to live only under British law and they would reject anything that means they are treated differently.
"What Lord Phillips and the archbishop are discussing is something that is completely outside their area of understanding."
Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley, said Lord Phillips' suggestion was "totally unacceptable."
He said: "It is very unhelpful for community cohesion. This is the sort of thing that builds up tensions in areas like mine, in places like Bradford. Sharia law has got no place in any shape or form in British law."
Andrew Selous, a Tory MP and chairman of the all-party Christians in Parliament group, said calls like those made by Lord Phillips and the archbishop were "worrying."
. . . A spokesman for Dr Williams said: "We welcome the speech given by the Lord Chief Justice as a positive and constructive contribution to this important and ongoing debate." . . .
You can find the links responding to why the Archbishop of Canterbury's calls for Sharia law were so misguided here, here and here. They apply with equal force to the foolish Lord Chief Justice. But perhaps the most articulate statement of just how suicidally misguided acquiescing to calls for recognizing Sharia law in the UK is comes from the Sufi Muslim author and Executive Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP), Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, who writes:
Britons--some 3 percent of whom are Muslims--were disturbed by more than Williams's naiveté. Many Muslim immigrants came to the West to escape the excesses of Islamic ideology in countries like Pakistan, where extremism is advancing. Imposition of sharia could deny these immigrants' children opportunities to become successful in British society or elsewhere in the West.
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. George Carey, Rowan Williams's predecessor as archbishop of Canterbury, warned in the Sunday Telegraph of February 10 that sharia might perpetuate Muslim ghettoes in Britain.
But sharia is not a sound-bite topic. Paradoxically, ignorance of sharia among non-Muslims is matched by a similar void among the radical agitators, who chiefly seek publicity with their demands and threats. Unschooled in Islamic law, they equate sharia with their own improvised notions of religious justice. In reality, sharia is a complex system of jurisprudence, differently applied by four different Sunni and two Shia schools of interpretation.
One aspect of sharia governs religious customs that are not normally the subject of public law in the West--things like diet, prayer, burial, and zakat, the obligatory contribution for relief of the poor. Non-Muslims need not be concerned about, say, clerical supervision of the slaughtering of meat. In this limited sense, sharia already functions on a voluntary basis in Britain and wherever Muslims live, and poses no threat to Western legal systems.
. . . Further, a "shadow sharia" already exists in Britain: informal courts, usually handling family matters or alleged apostasy, that impose forcible marriage and divorce. But sharia fanatics call for something more: They 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.
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.
Traditional sharia also forbids antagonizing the local majority in non-Muslim societies. Through most of Islamic history, jihad against non-Muslims referred to warfare between states and armies, not infiltration and conspiracy. For normal Muslims, there is a duty to protect one's family and community by showing a good civic example to non-Muslims.
Many great Islamic polities--including the Ottoman empire, the most powerful Muslim state in history--refused to grant primacy of sharia over common law. The Turks maintained a legal standard, kanun, for administration of government, taxation, and related affairs and left sharia to family and religious matters. Exclusive authority for sharia is an Arab and Pakistani fixation, occasionally sprouting in the margins of the Islamic global community--in parts of Nigeria, northern Malaysia, and the Muslim diaspora in the West.
Family law is the most controversial aspect of sharia, because radical Muslim concepts of modesty, and traditional regulation of marriage and divorce, violate Western canons on women's equality. Many Muslim clerics in Western Europe acquiesce in, and offer mendacious legal interpretations to support, such offenses as wife-beating, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honor killings, forced marriage, forced divorce, and the Saudi practice of "tourist marriage." (Late last year, the Saudi daily al-Watan claimed that Saudis have spent $25 million over the past three years on this scam, in which Saudi men on vacation deceptively marry local women for a summer, then divorce them before returning to the kingdom. Some of this behavior is derived from local cultures, but it has been assimilated by Islamist ideology.)
In practice, government recognition of the jurisdiction of sharia courts over matters of common law in the West would mean either sharia on the cheap dominated by ignorant radicals depriving British Muslims of their due rights--or an extremely elaborate system making room for the six main schools of Islamic jurisprudence, providing for an administrative apparatus, certification of judges, appeals, and so on, creating a major burden on the public budget. Sharia as a basis for strictly voluntary mediation of family or business disputes might sound well and good, except for the likely appointment of radicals as arbiters.
Archbishop Williams failed to see that demands for sharia in the West have little to do with increased respect for Islam and everything to do with the continuing radicalization of Muslims. His lightminded remarks aggravate, rather than diminish, the growing tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain, the West's main center for expansion of radical Islam.
Update: For a good view of how many in the chattering class seem to approach this issue, see UK columnist Peter Osborne in the Independent today. His take is that the problems associated with Islam are all a "Islamaphobia" - mere figments of the imagination of the BNP types. For some reason, he chose to ignore in his article all of the attacks and attempted attacks by Muslims occurring after 7/7, the most recent being an attempted massacre just a little over a month ago. In that incident, Muslim fanatics had armed and sent off a mentally retarded young man who attempted to massacre a lunch-time crowd at a busy UK restaurant. A phobia is an irrational fear. I would say the average Brit's concern with radical Islam in their borders is quite rational.
This is such misguided leftist fantasy as to defy belief. But the UK's left is no different from the elitist, fantasy based intelligentsia in the U.S. There is no more shining example of that than Obama. He believes he can meet and reason with the fanatical and deadly theocrats in Iran because, he believes, they will respond to economic incentives. That shows a complete misunderstanding of the motivations of Iran's theocracy. Perhaps if it was just Iran, it could be forgiven as merely a lack of knowledge on this existentially important topic. But it is more fundamental than that. Recall Obama's 'bitter people cling to guns and religion' remark. He likewise sees all people even here in the U.S. as having no principles more important than their immediate economics. He lives in a fantasy world where all share his values or can be rendered benign and brought to share his values with economic incentives. He is no less dangerous than the socialist elites who today control Britain.
Western civilization is in for one hell of a rocky ride. I wonder if we will recognize that which is left at the end of it.
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice, strongly backed Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, over his suggestion earlier this year that aspects of Sharia law should be adopted in Britain.
I have to intercede here. What the Lord Justice has said is incredibly disingenuous. Yes, it is possible for parties to a contract in the UK, just as in the U.S., to enter into a choice of law agreement specifying that another country's law should govern the terms of that particular agreement. However, it is a long established doctrine at common law that no court will enforce an agreement - or any law requiring a specific interpretation of an agreement - that contravenes the public policy of the state. There is no question that Sharia law, particularly as to marriage and family, is at odds with the values - and thus the public policy - of the West in many respects. See the links discussing this below. To continue with the Telegraph article:
He said: "There is no reason why principles of Sharia law, or any other religious code, should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution."
Read the entire article.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the Anglican Communion, doubtless thought he was making a positive contribution to interfaith relations when he gave a speech on February 7 suggesting that some form of official recognition in Britain for elements of sharia--Islamic religious law--is "unavoidable." . . .
Read the entire article.