Peter Hitchens: Archbishop not much worse than his government


The poor old Ayatollah of Canterbury doesn't actually deserve all the slime now being tipped over his modernised mitre. Just some of it. Of course it is absurd for the chief of the Christian Church in this country to cringe publicly to Islam. But at least Archbishop Williams is open about his unwillingness to defend the faith - as is his colleague, the wretched Bishop of Oxford, who recently announced that he was perfectly happy for loudspeakers to blare the Muslim call to prayer across that city.

Even on their own liberal terms, this pair are clueless about sharia and its scorn for women. It was exiled Iranian Muslim women who defeated a similar proposal in Canada. They had travelled thousands of miles to escape sharia law and didn't want it in Toronto, thanks very much.

Compare that with the Government, which poses stern-faced as the foe of "terror" and noisily jails figures of fun such as Abu Hamza while greasily pretending that there's no connection between Islam and terrorism. Gordon Brown's Cabinet has also quietly agreed that Muslim men with more than one wife can now claim benefits for these extra spouses - while bigamy remains a criminal offence for everyone else, punishable by up to seven years in prison.

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A British Muslim woman comments on the the flea-brained archbishop's support for Sharia law: "Look around the Islamic world where sharia rules and, in every single country, these ordinances reduce our human value to less than half that is accorded a male; homosexuals are imprisoned or killed, children have no free voice or autonomy, authoritarianism rules and infantilises populations. What's more, different Muslim nations claim to have their own allegedly god-given sharia. ... There is no agreed body of sharia, it is all drafted by males and the most cruel is now claiming absolute authority. In Pakistan, on the statutes are strictures on adultery introduced by the military dictator Zia ul-Haq. Women activists in that country have given their lives protesting against the injustice of those laws where women suspected of adultery, or rape victims, are punished in hideous ways and the man goes free. The Iranian theocracy changes its regulations from year to year, capriciously playing with the lives of females. .. Two Iranian friends chose to die rather than live under the demeaning religious orders. Go to Afghanistan if you fancy a 12-year-old bride – a practice approved by the mullahs. That's sharia for you. Many women, gay men and dissidents came to Britain to escape Islamic tyrants and their laws. Dr Williams supports those laws and, by default, makes the refugees victims again."

"Honor" abuse in the UK: "Up to 17,000 women in Britain are being subjected to "honour" related violence, including murder, every year, according to police chiefs. And official figures on forced marriages are the tip of the iceberg, says the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). It warns that the number of girls falling victim to forced marriages, kidnappings, sexual assaults, beatings and even murder by relatives intent on upholding the "honour" of their family is up to 35 times higher than official figures suggest. The crisis, with children as young as 11 having been sent abroad to be married, has prompted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to call on British consular staff in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan to take more action to identify and help British citizens believed to be the victims of forced marriages in recent years."

Posted by John Ray

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