Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, slightly hedged his recent comments in which he urged the British nation to accept sharia law. He claimed earlier in the week that some aspects of sharia law in Great Britain were “unavoidable” and Muslims should not have to choose between “cultural loyalty or state loyalty.” He now believes there can not be two “parallel jurisdictions” in the United Kingdom but all he wanted to do was extend the choices available to Muslims. Williams admitted that many women, both Muslim and not, were furious at the intent of his statements since they regard sharia law as controlled by bearded elderly men who regard women as second class citizens.
There are occasions when those advocating “respect” for diverse beliefs assume that anyone who belongs to a group — British Muslims– shares the views of others in the group. All contemporary cultural and religious groups contain a wide spectrum of beliefs and there is no such animal as a “British Muslim.” His failue to grasp the extent of diverse views within the Muslim community is shocking to say the least.