Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Citizenship and Public Affairs
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Other Political Science | Political Science
As a part of a series of lectures on “Islam in English Law,” for the 2008 Temple Festival, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, gave a lecture titled, “Civil and Religious Law in England: a Religious Perspective.” The lecture referenced Sharia (Muslim divine law) as an example in which the state of England could tease out some of the broader issues around the rights of religious groups within a secular state. Williams intended the lecture to offer a space for serious discussion on what it means to have within society “the presence of communities which, while no less ‘law-abiding’ than the rest of the population, relate to something other than the British legal system alone,” however, many in Britain viewed the lecture as the archbishop’s attempt to implement Sharia in Britain.
The misinterpretation of the archbishop’s lecture created an uproar in Britain, which, I thought, highlighted the problem of multiculturalism in the West, particularly, the ignorance that surrounds Islam in the West. The following project examines the archbishop’s lecture, its purpose and misinterpretation, in both its religious and legal dimensions. I argue that beyond sparking discussion on how religious motivation affects law, I thought one of the main points of the lecture was a call for an interfaith, intercultural dialogue to address the ever-changing societal issues of a multicultural state.
Pennington, Kaitlin H., "Civil and Religious Law in England: A Student's Perspective" (2009). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 492.
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