Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Assim Sidiqqui (The Guardian): Reinventing Sharia

[...] It is perfectly fine for consenting Muslim adults to resolve their disputes according to Islamic law within the framework of UK civil law and provided that either party has recourse to it (as is currently the case). Wherever English law and "Islamic law" differ, "Islamic law" must give way.

The archbishop is right to suggest ways to integrate alienated Muslims into the mainstream. Part of that is to educate more religiously and/or culturally assertive Muslims on what sharia actually should mean in a modern context. This is the work for Muslim scholars to reinterpret practices considered by some to be "Islamic"; such as women witnesses being worth half that of men, men having up to four wives, custody of children transferring to the father, inheritance etc. In each case, there are multiple interpretations. It is for progressive Muslim scholars to ensure the more liberal and tolerant interpretations that are rooted in the Islamic tradition and part of Britain's libertarian heritage become dominant over time. That would do far more to aid Muslim integration than introducing a work in progress into statute. Read more
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