Sunday, February 17, 2008

What the Archbishop didn't say

Yet another Daily Mail front page (well, Mail on Sunday, actually, but they're the same bastards) alluding to the Archishop of Canterbury's "advocacy" of Sharia Law. It's truly astonishing the depths to which the media, and the newspapers especially, will stoop. Who cares about the truth, eh? We've got targets to hit.

I am not a churchgoer. I was baptised into the Church of England at the age of 13 because I wanted to go to a Catholic school (work that one out). Not, as has been the subject of various newspaper reports bemoaning the standard of modern-day parenting, because it was a good school and my parents wanted me to go there (in fact they were deeply reluctant), but because it was where my best friend was going and I was so desperately insecure that I felt I had to follow him. I am one of those dreadfully cowardly people who label themselves "agnostic", partly, I suspect, because I went to said Catholic school and had the gospel of John Mark drilled into me for three years. I am now trying to learn about different religions when I get the chance - Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism among them - not because I intend to folow any of them, but purely because I believe it is important to understand different cultures to better interact with them. So my willingness to stand up for the Archbishop is not born of any religious deference. It is born out of despair at the manipulative expediency of the media.

Dr Rowan Williams never said anything about the adoption of Sharia Law in certain parts of the counntry being "inevitable". I know, because I've read the transcript of the lecture, rathr than relying on what the papers say, much of which is bollocks. He gave a wide-ranging lecture on the concept of allowing community jurisdiction to act alongside the rule of law in certain cases in certain areas. He touched on Jewish customs, Catholic customs, Christian customs and, yes, Islamic customs. His point was that in certain cases, on certain issues - including, for example, abortion, divorce, marriage, family-planning - certain communities recognise a code of conduct and customs which is particular to membership of that community and this should be understood in the context of UK law which prizes the rights of the individual above all else. With the legal ystem apparently creaking under the weight of litigious traffic in our blame-obsessed, fear-driven society, is it really beyond the pale to even consider such a thing?

No, but it doesn't sell papers, does it? What's next, the special commemorative Enoch Powell DVD, complete with quiz and "Rivers of Blood" rafting game for the kids?

By the way, this issue does fall within the remit of this blog because lots of people on the train read the Daily Mail. Oh, and I'm not just being what Richard Littledick would call a "bleeding heart liberal" - The Guardian is just as bad.


At 5:31 PM GMT , Blogger DJ Kirkby said...

Hear, hear! well done for reading the actual transcript instead of trusting the and media, bit of an oxymoron really...

At 10:20 AM GMT , Blogger SEAN RECKLESS said...

"jurisdiction" - "act along side" only words .....
Leaving media aside jd- what do you think allowing community jurisdiction: (the right and power to interpret and apply the law) actually means to all the little communities through the world, and now just focus on a mountain community in Afghanistan,Egypt, Africa- whereever.
Now think about the law/ jurisdiction, sorry (we're the jury, and we dictate) and Female circumcision in such places- I know FC is not particulary an "age-old Muslim ritual," but let us not dwell on that --in fact it predates Islam and is even believed to be pre-Judaic.
You might think I way off field, but how many english citzens send their daughters to these places to have their jurisdiction carried out, breaking the law as it is.
I shudder to think.
Do you see where I going with this, you can't start breaking up written law, even if it is only small settlements about this and that. I fear it would suit the powers that be in that it would save them money, and we would be left in chaos. Do you thik the Law could control thousands of communities, and their actions- god, it would be an absolute quagmire. Even with the law in place- human rights, an estimated one hundred million women have undergone the sexual mutilation.
only words ..... giving away our constitutional right, over to the crowd/community.
Sorry jd, you're out of line on this one. I sorry if it hurts.
Love hurts old friend;-)

At 12:09 PM GMT , Blogger JD said...

To be honest Sean, I'm not coming down either side of the line on this - my point is about the media coverage, not about what he actually said. As an idea, I'm not convinced by it, but then nor do I think it should be immediately discounted without giving a decent hearing ot the views of a decent guy.

At 2:58 PM GMT , Blogger reckless said...

The Media is an ass, we all know that.
"Be very very quiet
Clock everything you see
Little things might matter later
At the start of the end of history"
;-) ;-) ;-)

At 4:24 AM GMT , Blogger Rish said...

"There is no fool like an educated fool". I have no idea who said that, but I did hear it in reference to the Archbish's comments.

At the risk of plugging my own project, did you see the excellent programme "Extreme Pilgrim" a couple of months ago. I have (rather amateurishly) reviewed it on

At 4:25 AM GMT , Blogger Rish said...

Oh yeah, and you still don't seem to have found me on Facebook! If all else fails, drop me a line to Don't know who all these other Rishes can be, I thought I was unique!


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