Dr. Rowan Williams, the newly installed ‘Imam of Canterbury’, has spoken favorably on an introduction of mohammadan law within Britain. Thursday, the seventh of February, he made remarks on radio and later in public. A good deal of the population were flummoxed. The previous month, the anglican Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, stated that within Britain there are “no-go areas” for those who were not, or did not look like they were mohammadans. Immediately, he and his family needed police protection.
There is an old concept of ‘personalities of law’: people of different nations or subjects of different states living in the same area being bound to different systems of law: one law for the romans, another for the burgundians, another for the vandals and another for the franks. With the rise of stronger, centralised states this concept disappeared. All governments gravitate to increasing their jurisdiction and are very jealous of competition.
There are overlapping, co-existing constituencies. There is civil law and canon law. As the english kings Henry pointed out, with rack, rope and blade, they claim all law for themselves. The Anglican Church was such a product of civil jurisdiction over the universal Church.
North Africa and the near and middle east have been, since the mohammedan conquests of previously christian territories, quite familiar with sharia law based on the koran and mohammedan interpretations. The non converting dhimmis were, by definition, lesser subjects. Pretty much, because of the french revolution, it is considered that in the west we are all citizens with equality. Social rank and religious creed are supposed to be of no consideration in respect to law and justice. Mohammedan law is incompatible with western society, unless that society is overcome.
Now, there are anglicans, and other christians in some eleven states in northern Nigeria who are suffering persecution under mandatory sharia law. Such talk from the head of the Anglican Communion, does them harm and danger, alongside of great discouragement. In Pakistan, the erstwhile home of Nazir-Ali, the very accusation that someone transgresses, especially a dhimmi, the koran or insults the prophet is often a death sentence by popular acclamation.
A good deal of the african anglicans have been, already, put out over their mother church's acceptance of female and, then, sodomite priests. The ties that bind are being gaining more slack. But, the anglican church has prided itself on its freedom and diversity of tolerance of opinion, at least recently, and the only “no-go area” is Rome.
In Rome, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a change in a Good Friday prayer that asks for the conversion of the jews. The american militant, Abraham Foxman, and the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo di Segni, were joined with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and others in displeasure. Some were not aware that the pope was under their jurisdiction and that the mission and invitation of Jesus was to reach all men.
“Let us pray for the Jews. May the Lord Our God enlighten their hearts so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, the savior of all men.” ― an unofficial translation of the contentious statement