MCB calls for a thoughtful discourse on Sharia

LONDON, Feb 09 (APP)-As calls ring out for the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to resign over his comments on the Shariah law, UK’s largest Muslim organisation-the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has called for a thoughtful discussion of the place of Islam and the Muslims in present day Great Britain.
In a statement, The MCB said it has observed, with some sadness, the hysterical misrepresentations of his speech which serves only to drive a wedge between British people.

“The Archbishop is not advocating implementation of the Islamic penal system in Britain. His recommendation is confined to the civil system of Shariah Law and that only in accordance with English law and agreeable to established notions of human rights’, said Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the MCB.

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He said British Muslims are not calling for creation of different legal systems, nor is the Archbishop. “We do not wish to see a parallel system or a separate system of judiciary for Muslims. The Archbishop sought in his speech to explore the possibilities of an accommodation between English law and some aspects of Islamic personal law.

Dr.Bari said British Muslims would wish to seek parity with other faiths in particular the followers of the Jewish faith in the United Kingdom in facilitating choices for those who wish, as Muslims, for their personal relationships to be governed by a Shariah civil code.

“This legitimate aspiration requires full discussion in an atmosphere of understanding and tolerance. It is worthy of note that already enshrined in

English law are provisions for Islamic Shariah compliant finance which have become very popular and now enable billions of pounds of fresh investment to come into the UK.”

He added: ‘Our common mission to live in cohesion and harmony is better served when men of conscience and authority speak out for justice and equal opportunity. Silence is much more likely to engender prejudice, injustice and inequality. On the issue of giving individuals choice of law but only in private and personal matters, we call, as does the Archbishop, for a mature debate in an environment that reflects mutual respect.’

Meanwhile, Rowan Williams last night hit back at criticism, amid growing calls for his resignation. A statement on his website said he made no proposals for sharia, and “certainly did not call for its introduction as some kind of parallel jurisdiction to the civil law”.

He was “exploring ways in which reasonable accommodation might be made within existing arrangements for religious conscience” and his core aim was “to tease out some of the broader issues around the rights of religious groups within a secular state”.