“What a burkha” declared the Sun newspaper, alongside a picture of a head-covered figure making a rude gesture. To judge by the tone of the British press (and not only the tabloid press), the archbishop—who is also the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, numbering 80m people—might have been advocating the mandatory covering of every female British head, plus the instant introduction of amputation, whipping and stoning for the most trivial misdemeanours.

In fact, of course, he said nothing of the kind. But what he did advocate was not uncontroversial: he suggested there could be a “plural jurisdiction” in which Muslims could freely decide whether disputes (in which only co-religionists were involved) were resolved in secular courts or by Islamic institutions which offer an alternative forum for arbitration.

This is from an Economist article titled “What role for sharia in the West?” My answer: the same role it should have in the Islamic world — none or heavily burried under a pile of secular laws. Unless you want to let everybody use religious law at the personal level, scratch this idea. The next thing you know, European countries be even more balkanized and segregated than they are now, looking more like Lebanon than themselves. And Lebanon is not a model for anybody to follow (neither is Egypt or Jordan or other places where this practise exists between communities).* One law for all.

Vaguely related: What’s up with Western opposition to not having interest?

* [ I will explain why Lebanon is not a model in a later post. ]


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