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February 08, 2008



And you call yourself a marxist! That looks awfully like a conservative's account of the sort of liberal society that he'd like to see conserved.


The first problem with your account of Sharia law is that those who wish to follow it don't see it as part of civil society, they see it as _the_ law.

The second problem is why they see it as _the_ law: because it is, as far as they are concerned, embodying the wishes of their god, which cannot be disobeyed. The good thing about ordinary law is that it is made by people, and as such can be changed by people. Laws made by god can't be challenged so easily. That's why Sharia is claimed to be the law of god.

Now I know that Sharia isn't really made by god; the claim is intended to make the law harder to challenge. Which is precisely what is wrong with sharia, and precisely why it can't be part of civil society. It, by its own words, doesn't belong there.

Mark Wadsworth

Dr W is an idiot and I despite Sharia law, however, if Courts are told not to interfere in Sharia divorces, how on earth can our meddlesome legal establishment refuse to recognise pre-nupital agreements between consenting adults as perfectly valid? I am all in favour of the State not interfering in prviate agreements (esp. in marital and employment law), so things will get even worse for Muslim women but better for the rest of us. Which is a net benefit to society.

D Smithies

Well said that man - but surely the difficulty with allowing a separate system of 'law' to operate in the sphere of civil society is that we then have two different sets of legal rules operating concurrently? Divorce is a good example: UK law doesn't recognise divoce by text message (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3129013.ece), and that would remain the case whether or not a text-divorce was recognised by the Muslim community.

There have been a few decent posts on this on the Family Lore blog: http://www.familylore.co.uk/2008/02/get-rid-of-get.html


So long British legal law *always* trumps sharia law (or any other method of resolving disputes) I see no problem at all with people resolving their own problems how they see fit.


Ah yes,... the Unintended Consequences of Islamic immigration.

By inviting new people - and, by extension, their own traditions, mores, and metaphysical beliefs - we endanger the very liberties which open-border libertarians such as yourself hark on about ad nauseam.

'Liberty' requires stability. And yes, demographic stability is part of that equation.

So Chris, stop bullshitting about an immgirant's so-called 'right' to move freely. It doesn't exist. It shouldn't exist.

Full stop.


I feel deep despair. Not at what Rowan Williams said but the reaction to it. I tried to engage people at work today on the subject and they frankly didn't want to know. They based their views on what the media had told them, and they weren't interested in exploring what the Archbishop had actually said. Worse, they made assumptions about me, simply for trying to discuss the issue in a constructive way. The destructive soundbite approach adopted to this and all complex issues by the media is to blame.


"so things will get even worse for Muslim women but better for the rest of us. Which is a net benefit to society."

But who will pay for the upkeep of those Muslim women who cannot/will not find employment once they are divorced? The tax payer I'll bet.

Gina McCulloch

"How do you solve a problem like Shariah?" asked Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight last night.

I'd like to suggest a potential final solution to the problem of religion as a whole, if you don't mind a spot of kite-flying (in the spirit of your blog's motto)...

It goes against my pacificst nature to say this but the plan does make sense; basically, secular people should behead the lot of them, every single superstitious beardie*-type of every futile faith.

They'd all get to met their makers right away - which is their dream/goal, right? They'd also get to die as martyrs, without having to harm anyone else.

Meanwhile, the rest of us would no longer have to listen to their cretinous ranting or waste time dealing with their reactionary bullshit when the world faces more important problems. Indeed, it would slow the rate of resource depletion and might buy us a bit of time to try to stop ecological catastrophe.

This might be the first step towards a sane, sustainable future (although I fear that's unlikely to happen, in reality). The plan needn't be nasty - it could all be done in an amicable fashion, with the religious turning up to "salvation booths", each pairing up with an atheist (copying the MPs' system), who would be able to send them off to their imagined paradide at the press of a button.

Whaddya reckon?

*male or female, no beard required.

Sarah Bevins

I think you meant "pacifist" and "imagined paradise", Gina.

Nice idea, though - I'd like to push your button, baby! ;)

Militant Lesbian

I'd like to join in, if you girls are on for some three-way action?

Raise your fists in the air (like you just don't care)

Rattigan Glumphoboo

First he grows a beard, now this - stick to "loving angels instead", Robbie, and stop this shameless attempt to tap into the Islamic market - we're not interested, you fat, caffeine-addicted infidel!

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