When Yasmin met Archy

Yasmin A-B explains what Archy doesn’t get. Too bad he didn’t ask her before he jotted down the speech.

What Rowan Williams wishes upon us is an abomination…He would not want his own girls and women, I am sure, to “choose” to be governed by these laws he breezily endorses. And he is naive to the point of folly if he imagines it is possible to pick and choose the bits that are relatively nice to the girls…Look around the Islamic world where sharia rules and, in every single country, these ordinances reduce our human value to less than half that is accorded a male; homosexuals are imprisoned or killed, children have no free voice or autonomy, authoritarianism rules and infantilises populations.

Apart from that, it was quite a good idea. Or maybe not.

There is no agreed body of sharia, it is all drafted by males and the most cruel is now claiming absolute authority…The morality police hound women and girls, beat them up, imprison them for showing an ankle, walking too provocatively or singing in the streets. They fight back but are ground down eventually…Go to Afghanistan if you fancy a 12-year-old bride – a practice approved by the mullahs. That’s sharia for you. Many women, gay men and dissidents came to Britain to escape Islamic tyrants and their laws.

Only to encounter Rowan Williams. What an unpleasant surprise.

No women are allowed to be imams or serious jurists, so cannot help make their own fair and free set of female-friendly sharia. All the systems insist on ultimate truths, hard certainties.

Which the Archbishop himself points out several times in his speech (I’ve read the whole thing now) but without being dissuaded from his absurd idea. But then of course he’s part of a system of ultimate truths himself.

Taj Hargey, a historian and Islamic theologian, runs the Muslim Education Centre in Oxford. He, with me, is a trustee of British Muslims For Secular Democracy which is attempting to educate Muslims out of authorised obscurantism…He is incandescent that Dr Williams backs a perilous Islamic conservatism, already too powerful in Britain.

Well the thing about that is that Archy isn’t all that keen on secular democracy. He thinks it ought to ‘overlap’ with the theocratic kind.

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