Suffolk clergyman supports Archbishop

THE Bishop of Edmundsbury and Ipswich has spoken out in defence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Rowan Williams has caused a storm after he said he believed the adoption of some parts of Islamic sharia law in the UK “seems unavoidable”.

THE Bishop of Edmundsbury and Ipswich has spoken out in defence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Rowan Williams has caused a storm after he said he believed the adoption of some parts of Islamic sharia law in the UK “seems unavoidable”.

He said he thought there was a place for finding a “constructive accommodation” in legal areas such as marriage - allowing Muslim women to avoid western divorce proceedings.

But he immediately came under fierce criticism from some faith and secular groups, as well as some senior bishops of the Church of England.

However, in Suffolk the Rt Rev Nigel Stock said he had 'every confidence in the Archbishop and hopes he will lead for 'many years to come'.

He said: “I have carefully read both the full text of the Archbishop's lecture and the transcript of his interview with Christopher Landau on the BBC World at One programme.

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“It is clear to me that Dr. Williams is certainly not proposing parallel legal systems, or the possibilities of any religious or cultural group opting out of the legal system of this country. He explores in the lecture the question as to whether a secular legal system might be able to accommodate some aspects of religious conscience.

“It saddens me that as a society we seem unable to have a reasoned public debate in this area. It is a sensitive and difficult subject, and not one that can be easily conducted by sound bites. The level of misunderstanding that has been exposed shows the necessity of having that debate.”