What Role for Sharia in the West

When the Archbishop of Canterbury announced last month that British authorities should accommodate Sharia, he placed the Anglican church in the middle of a heated controversy. For many Brits, sharia is associated with amputation, whipping and stoning for even small infractions. Though others reject these associations, the prospect of a “plural jurisdiction” in which Muslims could choose to resolve disputes in secular or Muslim courts is no less appalling. The Archbishop’s statements have triggered debate about whether individuals have the option to “opt out” of secular institutions, as would be the case with the establishment of a parallel sharia legal system in Britain. This debate is closely watched by other Western countries who will be affected by Britain’s precedent.