If Qatada won't go to Jordan, let Jordan come to Qatada - maybe

If Qatada won't go to Jordan, let Jordan come to Qatada - maybe

Norwich : United Kingdom | Nov 13, 2012 at 9:37 PM PST
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Abu Qatada has spent most of the last seven years in jail in Britain

Like many people in England, the latest legal let-off for deportation-dodging radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada makes me wonder how well this country is being served by its commitment to Westen principles of human rights.

It makes me wonder if it may be time to revisit the reasoning behind former Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams' suggestion that persons in Britain's Muslim community who are not currently answerable to society under Sharia law be made liable to that system of jurisprudence.

Perhaps the answer to what seems like the abuse of the English legal system by persons who would destroy that system, if given the chance, is a legal facility or accomodation like that Williams proposed in February 2008, in a lecture he gave to the Temple Foundation at the Royal Courts of Justice.

There was a media and wider furore over the suggestion then - a case of reactionary behaviour by sections of the press and and some priests, largely.

A classic case, really, of the immature, iresponsible "pedagogical pedophilia" denounced by this writer repeatedly. Some journalists can be excused, or at least, not judged too harshly, one might say, as the coverage of religious matters can be quite complex.

The behaviour of some English clerics and mature lay people - comparable to the opportunist, fundamentalist Christian biblical bullying of American mining magnate Robert E. Murray - merits less sympathy. As I recall, Archbishop Wiliams was actually calling for an expansion in the use of Sharia law, which is already allowed in some forms of commercial and domestic litigation among Muslims living in England. As Wikipedia notes, the retired Archbishop, who is a poet-philosopher as well, also made comparisons with England's judicial accommodation of Orthodox Jewish practice (Beth Din) and with the recognition of the exercise of conscience of Christians.

Perhaps the rationale behind Dr. Williams' proposed supplementary use of Sharia alongside English law could be applied to the prosecution of terror offences - not just the settlement of domestic (especially marital) and commercial (especially "marital"; see footnote) disputes.

Such an expansion of Sharia law into the realm of criminal offences - which should probably be a very limited extension, perhaps applied only in immigration and terrorism-related matters, for example - would allow the application of Islamic laws and legal principles in the prosecution of Qatada. A case of if Qatada won't go to Jordan, let Jordan come to Qatada, virtually.

British Prime Minister David Cameron may appreciate the imagery.

According to a Sky news report, expressing frustration over this latest twist in the 11-year and counting Qatada deportation saga, Cameron said "He has no right to be here, we believe he is a threat to our country. We have moved heaven and earth to try to comply with every single dot and comma of every single convention to get him out of our country."

Yesterday, just outside the Millenium Library in Norwich, I overheard a frustrated resident recommending revolution in England, along the lines of what the people of Egypt and Libya have achieved in the Arab Spring.

I don't know what particular ill or ills afflicting England that frustrated Englishman is thinking an Arab Spring-like revolution would remedy. His comment may have had nothing to do with the Qatada legal quagmire.

But as indicated in my book "The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled", I have felt for some time that Britain's, America's and other Western countries' best possible response to the challenge of Islam involves an exploration and possible appropriation of ideas some people may consider "Islamic" - like multi-party marriages (polygamy) and other social arrangements already accomodated in England, consistent with this countries' obligations under European Union and other international human rights treaties.

It is not as radical a suggestion as it may seem. The derivation of much of Western culture - especially in the area of the sciences - from ideas traceable to Arab Muslim knowledge legacies is well documented.

Hence, "alchemy" is clearly a derivation of "al chemy" and "algebra" is derived from "al gebra" - and not just as a referents; not just lexically. These terms are descendants phenomenologically.

A Christian leader with a part-Muslim heritage - like American President Barack Obama's - may be too liberal an idea for conservative English people to entertain comfortably.

And anyway, I am not at all convinced that a non-white Prime Minister of England is either desirable or necessary.

Mind you, the UK-US special relationship itself may be looked to, possibly, as a source of paradigms or patterns of how a legislative "special arrangement" between Britain and Islam could be conceived.

And of course, whereas Obama did "take out" Osama, the mining magnate Murray seems capable only of "putting out" large numbers of his employees.

Just as his compatriot, nihilist Jared Loughner and the Norwegian butcher Anders Breivik exceled in demonstrations of cultural self-hatred and suicide, arguably.

Maybe an extension of existing Sharia law facilities in Britain is not the mountain that some detractors would make it out to be.

Maybe an "importation" of a little more Sharia is just the ticket deportation-dodging Abu Qatada needs.





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Archbishop Rowan Williams has acknowledged a problem with bullying in the church
Archbishop Rowan Williams has acknowledged a problem with bullying in the church
Junior Campbell is based in London, England, United Kingdom, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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