The Archbishop's Sharia Amour By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, February 07, 2008 Europe: Civilization took a low blow Thursday when a pillar of its values, the archbishop of Canterbury, decided that Islamic law is now "unavoidable" in the U.K. as a matter of progress and tolerance. He's off the deep end. In Rowan Williams' own mind, it all seemed so reasonable. "People may be surprised," he told the BBC in justifying his insistence that Shariah law is inevitable, "but I hope that surprise will be modified when they think about the general question of how the law and religious community, religious principle are best and fruitfully accommodated." After all, wasn't it all happening anyway? Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams called upon Britons to accept the 'unavoidable' and adopt Shariah law in the U.K. for Muslims. "As a matter of fact, certain provisions of Sharia are already recognized in our society and under our law," said the Church of England leader, citing legal provisions for faith-based objections to abortion. But the issue isn't about a right to refrain, but the wholesale forcing of Britain's Muslim subpopulation into an alternative legal system run by an unelected theocracy. "In a plural society, all citizens are equal under the law and the archbishop's comments directly undermine this," Alastair McBay of the National Secular Society told the U.K. Press Association. It's part of a slippery slope Britain's already skidded well down on. "We have segregated schools, segregated scout groups and even segregated toilets for Muslims," noted McBay. What's worse, Britain has an especially vulnerable system because so many of its laws are unwritten except through the stubborn tradition known as common law. So what the archbishop is proposing, under cover of tolerance, is nothing less than to get rid of the invisible architecture of the law. Naturally, the archbishop premises his proposal on what he presumes are good intentions. "No one in their right mind, I think, would want to see in this country a kind of inhumanity that sometimes appears to be associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states â the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women as well," Williams said. So it's not the beheadings, amputations, forced marriages, stonings, female circumcision, the veil, sex apartheid and jailing of rape victims that he's advocating. Just a tolerance for differences. But it amounts to stripping Britons of legal rights, and that's a slippery slope he can't quite get to the bottom of. He opens the door to it by saying Shariah would be useful for family and marriage matters to start. Though that looks innocuous and insignificant, it's really not. What he's proposing could end prohibitions on polygamy, revoke female inheritance rights and make divorce a cheap verbal affair. It wouldn't stop there. Heaven help any Muslim seeking to change his religion (it's against Islamic law) â or one who wants to write another "Satanic Verses," as Muslim apostate Salman Rushdie did. It also goes against the Council of Europe's European Court of Human Rights 2003 ruling that Shariah is "incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy." But no matter to the archbishop. In his preening statements on tolerance and progress, he's congratulating himself on his open mind at the expense of the rights of Muslims, many of whom have fled Shariah tyrannies to practice their religion freely, and in peace. The saddest thing about Williams' proposal is that it repudiates Britain's historic distinction in Europe as a safe haven for religious dissenters since the days of the Pilgrims. No longer would a Somali Muslim dissenter like Ayaan Hirsi Ali find in Britain a safe haven. With the archbishop backing the mullahs, she'd find her tormentors waiting for her in London instead. For an archbishop supposedly upholding the oldest traditions of the West, his support for such notions are the height of intolerance.