Williams under continued pressure over Sharia law speech

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Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury is preparing to defend himself following his comments on Sharia law during his address to the Church of England General Synod in London tomorrow.

Since saying that the adoption of elements of Sharia law in the UK “seems unavoidable”, he has been under attack from all sides.

The previous Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey wrote in the News of the World: “He has in my opinion overstated the case for accommodating Islamic legal codes.

“His conclusion that Britain will eventually have to concede some place in law for aspects of Sharia is a view I cannot share.”

But he added: “This is not a matter upon which Dr Williams should resign. He is a great leader in the Anglican tradition and he has a very important role to play in the Church.

“He has my full support. I telephoned him to say this to him and to tell him he is in my prayers. I understand he is horrified by what has happened.”

Yesterday, Dr Williams, denied that he called for the introduction of Sharia Law. In a statement he said that he “certainly did not call for its introduction as some kind of parallel jurisdiction to the civil law”.

He said that he was “exploring ways in which reasonable accommodation might be made within existing arrangements for religious conscience”.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, who leads the Catholic Church in England and Wales said told the Sunday Telegraph: “When people come into this country they have to obey the laws of the land.”

He added: “There are aspects of Sharia that are practised that we certainly wouldn’t want in this country.

“The laws of this country don’t allow forced marriages or polygamy.

“It seems to me a government and a country has a right to make sure that those laws are kept.”

Alison Ruoff, a Synod member from London, said: “He is a disaster for the Church of England. He vacillates, he is a weak leader and he does not stand up for the church. I would like to see him resign and go back to academia.”

Tory MP Ken Clarke said: “He’s just one of the most unworldly men I have ever met, together with being one of the most intelligent and plainly one of the most saintly, and he has got himself into an absolutely classic British row and has angered a lot of people because they have all been persuaded that he has been talking about bringing back the stoning of women for various moral offences, and so on, which plainly he is just about the last person on earth to contemplate.”

Homosexuality is punishable by death under Sharia and hundreds of gay men have been put to death in Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979.