What part of theocracy does this man not understand?This is the same Lord Phillips who says life sentences are cruel and unusual.
Friday, 4th July 2008
After the Archbishop of Canterbury, now England’s most senior judge, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips, has given a green light to the growth of sharia law in Britain in family matters and the arbitration of disputes. It’s not really a surprise that Lord Phillips thinks like this since he actually chaired the meeting where the Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, had his sharia moment. Dr Williams, said Lord Phillips, had been misquoted. Not so. It is Lord Phillips who does not appear to understand the significance of what Dr Williams was saying because, as Lord Phillips demonstrated in his own lecture last night at the London Muslim Centre, he is clearly just as ignorant and confused about Islam, sharia and the accepted relationship between religious minorities and the state.
Admitting that he knew little about sharia law, Lord Phillips said he had taken advice in Oman and that as a result of this (clearly highly partial and inadequate) briefing he was able to state:I understand that it is not the case that for a Muslim to lead his or her life in accordance with these principles will be in conflict with the requirements of the law in this country.
But how can that possibly be the case, when the whole point about sharia is that it recognises no higher authority than itself? Sharia law is therefore by definition inimical to the fundamental rule of British society, that the law of the land is the law for all. Because he clearly doesn’t understand that crucial point, it appears that Lord Phillips thinks that, while reaching out to the Muslim minority, he is nevertheless holding the line for the principle of one law for all. He is wrong. He is destroying it.
He thinks that, because Britain wouldn’t allow sharia punishments to be inflicted – such as stoning or amputation – there would be no problem. He ignores the fact that sharia law is founded upon principles which are inimical to western values, such as the inferiority of women or the requirement to sacrifice free speech in the interests of maintaining the honour of the faith, because the sharia is said to be God’s own law.
He muddles up allowing informal dispute resolution by sharia courts – anyone can informally resolve a dispute by whatever criteria they wish; that has nothing to do with the law -- with the resolution of marital and family issues, a different matter altogether. Although Lord Phillips did not specifically mention the Jewish Beth Din courts, he seems to be labouring under the same delusion as Dr Williams that what Muslims want under sharia courts is the same as Jews already have under the Beth Din. But the huge difference between Jewish and Muslim religious courts is that Jewish courts administer only informal rulings and are bound by the law of the land.
Marriages or divorces of Jews have to be carried out under English law; and in the one instance where the English law was amended in order to enforce a divorce upon a recalcitrant man in certain circumstances, this was only necessary because English family law had authority whereas Jewish family law did not. Since however Muslims regard sharia as superior to secular law, the Phillips/Williams arrangement would establish a two-tier system offering no protection for women, apostates or homosexuals. Even at present, merely turning a blind eye to sharia means condemning many Muslim women to live in fear of their lives, not to mention those who leave the faith. The idea that they could appeal to the English courts for protection is, given the social circumstances, ludicrous.
Next, Lord Phillips repeats the error -- deliberately promoted by the Islamists -- that Principles of Sharia prohibit the earning or paying of interest when what they actually prohibit is not interest – which is even permitted in Saudi Arabia, for heaven’s sake -- but usury. The prohibition of interest was invented by 20th century Islamists to use ‘sharia finance’ as a means of Islamising the western public sphere.
Next, Lord Phillips says he ‘understands’ that terrorist atrocities such as suicide bombing are in conflict with Islamic principles. In which case, why are suicide bombings mandated as a religious duty by some of the most authoritative legal authorities in the Islamic world such as Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi and (on occasion) Sheikh Tantawi of al Azhar university in Cairo?
If anyone were in any doubt why the Islamists are so overjoyed by Lord Phillips’s most ill-advised remarks, they only have to read the response by the head of the Muslim Council of Britain, Mohammed abdul Bari. He made it plain that he does not want a parallel legal system. He wants English law to become Islamised:I believe I speak for a vast majority of Muslims when I say that we do not want separate Courts or parallel legal system. What we do want is a judiciary that is sensitive to our divine laws on personal relationships and family matters. Judges involved in family matters need to have knowledge of our rights and obligations as Muslims in Sharia law.
Lord Phillips extols ‘equality under the law’. What he does not seem to grasp is that this means Muslims should be treated equally with all other minorities. And all others acknowledge that they live under the law of the land. They do not expect the law of the land to change to accommodate them.
One final point about Lord Phillips’s craven naivety. At the beginning of his talk, he disclosed for the very first time that he has Jewish ancestry in that his maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants to Britain. He presumably vouchsafed this information, which he has never before made known in public, in order to ingratiate himself with his Muslim audience on the presumed grounds that they would warm to his identifying a common experience with them of being in some sense an outsider to the culture.
However, he delivered his address at the London Muslim Centre. This centre shares the ideology of Jamaat e Islami, an extremist Islamist organisation which aims to Islamise the state and follows the teachings of Maulana al Maududi, who believed that the Jews worshipped Satan. The dignatory who opened the Centre a few years ago was one Sheikh Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais, who has in the past called the Jews ‘calf-worshippers, prophet-murderers, prophecy-deniers... the scum of the human race whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs.. these are the Jews, a continuous lineage of meanness, cunning, obstinacy, tyranny, licentiousness, evil and corruption’.
This is where Lord Phillips chose to use his Jewish background to grovel to those who would destroy the very values which afforded his maternal grandparents sanctuary. How can England’s most important judge be quite so clueless?
Why do I think Lord Phillips is a man our own Justice Kennedy looks to for his "evolving standards of decency?"