Anglican Church leader Rowan Williams sparked open confrontation with the Labour government Thursday by suggesting that the introduction of some aspects of Islamic (sharia) law was “unavoidable” in Britain to promote social cohesion.
Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is also the head of the worldwide Anglican Church with more than 70 million members, said in a BBC interview that there needed to be a debate on whether the existing legal system could fulfil the demands of a “multi-faiths society.”
Responding swiftly to the call, a spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that while the application of sharia could be considered on a case-by-case basis, it was unacceptable that Islamic law should be used “as a justification for committing breaches of English law.”
“The Prime Minister believes that British law should apply in this country, based on British values,” said Brown’s spokesman.
However, Williams, known in Britain as the “thinking archbishop,” said an approach which simply said there was one law for everybody was “a bit of a danger.”