'We want to offer Shariah Law to Britain'.

One thing I know is that a piece on Sharaiah law should never start with or contain the phrase '...on the one hand...'.

I simply wanted to reply to this story and not to extrapolate any points so that they might be directed at a community I respect. I know many hard working, decent, funny Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Muslim people generally.

However, an offer has been made of 'Shariah law for Britain'. A request has been made that the hadith, the siri, and the Qu-aran be given legal authority. The request includes an example. It is the example of the practice of recognising the particular Muslim legal ethic during the British Raj in India. Those employing the example want it to be revived here.

No.

I have a copy of the Abdel-Haleem Qu-aran on my desk next to the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, the King James Bible and Thomas A Kempis's Imitation of Christ. I respect your tradition. But, No. You call for harsh punishments, like amputation and stoning. No. You demand that human failings go unforgiven. No. You hang the moral authority of a human life on something as silly and complex as sexual activity. No.

I want the rule of law and the love that can be seen in the example of Jesus Christ. Sorry. I don't want to accept that offer.

And yes, I am a Roman Catholic and I went to a Roman Catholic comprehensive school where the majority of funds were provided by the state, and yes I go to mass every Sunday and yes I love my faith and yes my family were immigrants whom some people viewed as fodder for terrorism. So yes, I understand you a little, I hope.

But I want to be a citizen in a country of law where people argue from reason. I think that you could come to something very similar to a Catholic position through reason. I think that that could apply to several dozen other traditions. If you think the same of your tradition, argue with me in the great style of the Muslim past, of tea and elegant calculations. As free men, we shall decide what we can do in common and how we can live and get the things we all want.

But I do not want any of my fellow citizens of the world ruled according to clerical tribunals, and nor, I suggest, would any free man.

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