James wrote:I agree completely with Tigger here... and I think you're seriously underestimating this problem, Ranbir. The Muslim community has been muscling in with its laws through Europe for quite some time now and they are steadily gaining ground. Ignoring the problem and depending on it to right itself will be just as effective as ignoring Germany's advances during World War II. The problem won't go away, the threat is devoted and dedicated.
What bothers me most about the courts is the involvement of the women inside them. Sure, they can say all involved parties gave consent, but those women didn't have much choice. To decline would have surely been affront to their culture and their families, and that would have been a big mess in many cases. Laugh if you will, but sometimes a strong arm and a good smack is what you need to deal with an awful problem.
I still think it's rather naive to think that even moderate Muslims, with their strong sense of civil society, will not want to be actively involved as Muslims in their own community affairs, and even more naive to think that Christian churches haven't already been doing this for centuries (and to a certain extent, still are). The more alienated a religious group feels from civil society, the more attractive more radical options look to them. Unless you are suggesting - as Ranbir rather satirically pointed out - that we should also consider as 'threats' rabbinical law and the influence of Christian churches on law (in both the United States and in Britain), this view seems more than a bit alarmist. Also, there's something about the 'strong arm' and the 'good smack' that disturbs me a little bit - I think the Russian Tsarist justifications for pogroms against Jewish communities (which were considered 'an awful problem') used similar language, and I don't think that's a route you really want to seriously consider, lest Britain take the Yugoslav road to hell.
It's better for those representing the law of the land in Britain to be engaged in discussion with those in the Muslim community who are willing to sit down and discuss, so as to better equip the Muslim community and the society at large against the extremists who don't want to sit down and discuss what it means to be a Muslim and Britain, but would rather blow up subways. That's the essence of what Dr Williams was trying to convey at the Royal Courts of Justice, and I think his view was quite prescient.
James wrote:Having mosques around is religious freedom.
Altering society's laws or legal structure based on a religious perspective is quite another thing, especially when it is such a lop-sided religious view. Preaching the standard 'love thy neighbor' stuff is fine, but demonstrating an interest in relegating women to the rank of second-class citizen, among other things, is quite another matter.
I'd agree, but again, you want to have a forum of open communication in which to discuss this. The Cromwellian option in this case would be more than a little ridiculous in a society which over the past 300 years has made religious tolerance one of its defining marks.