Denmark: Responses to British sharia law idea

Danish bishops were surprised by the British archbishop, Rowan Williams' proposal last week to implement part of Sharia law in the British judicial system. Rowan Williams think it will strengthen society's cohesion, but several Danish bishops don't agree. They think that accepting religious law will encourage parallel societies.

Kjeld Holm, bishop of the Århus diocese says he see nothing wrong with an imam contributing to settling a conflict between two parties. When it comes to law though, Jews, Christians and Muslims must argue impartially for their wish, so he doesn't agree with William on this issue.

Biskop Karsten Nissen of the diocese of Viborg, also rejects the idea that Islamic family law will have a special status in Denmark. Family law also means women's equality and the right to choose one's marriage. Rowan William expressed himself unwisely in this context and even if he was talking to jurists he should have known his comments will be publicized.

The bishop of Roskilde, Jan Lindhardt wonders what the archbishop is thinking. He says it might be logical in England, that as a former colonial power has been accustomed to working with several judicial systems, but that it has no meaning in Denmark. Never say never, but implementing the idea in Denmark seems Utopian.

In Lolland-Falster diocese Steen Skovsgaard thinks Rowan William's proposal is so interesting that he will bring it up in the next meeting of the diocese theological think-tank. But, he says, he thinks that the archbishop's proposal will strengthen the parallel society and that the only thing to prevent that is that people will be equal before the law, and that it will be the same law.

Source: DR (Danish)

See also: UK: Adoption of Sharia law 'unavoidable'

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