East Meets West: Sharia Law Sanctioned in UK

Economics & Law, Other Religions — By on September 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Upon hearing about the government sanctioning Sharia law in the United Kingdom, I was immediately concerned that western law was being subverted in an ally country with whom we share a unique history. There are two levels on which there might possibly be concerns. The first possible concern arises when one compares Sharia law to a traditional, Western sense of justice. The second possible concern arises when this event is viewed from a historical perspective. Upon thinking through these possible concerns, I believe that the first one raises interesting questions that Christians especially ought to consider and the second may actually be troubling.

In his speech on the rise of Islam in the United Kingdom and the coming sanctioning of Sharia law, Archbishop Rowan Williams best draws out the nature of the first concern.  Williams said,

And what most people think they know of sharia is that it is repressive towards women and wedded to archaic and brutal physical punishments; just a few days ago, it was reported that a ‘forced marriage’ involving a young woman with learning difficulties had been ‘sanctioned under sharia law’ – the kind of story that, in its assumption that we all ‘really’ know what is involved in the practice of sharia, powerfully reinforces the image of – at best- a pre-modern system in which human rights have no role.

Off-the-hip criticisms of sharia law, especially in the media, will tend to focus around the easiest elements to critique.  Namely, criticism will focus on the areas where sharia law tends to most barbarically separate from traditional, Western ideas of justice.  The contrast between sharia law and Western law is especially easy to notice when one compares the rights of women within the two systems.   In an election year where Hillary Clinton was almost a presidential nominee for one ticket and Sarah Palin is the Vice-Presidential nominee for another, it seems pitiful that there is still a legal and cultural tradition where a man can divorce his wife via text message while the wife cannot divorce her husband save for impotence or his extended absence. 

Nonetheless, while we believe in the rights of women we simultaneously highly value cultures, especially minority cultures, and their traditions.   We value liberty and the freedoms of those with religious beliefs.  We desire to liberate people from oppressive systems, but we simultaneously believe that we liberate people from oppressive systems so that they may live freely according to their beliefs so long as they are not openly subversive to the state.  At the heart of these beliefs is an interesting tension between free expression and how one chooses to express himself/herself freely.  At the center of the tension are questions about the nature of law which are especially important for Christians to consider.


Archbishop Williams teases out this tension in the last three paragraphs of his speech. 

I labour the point because what at first seems to be a somewhat narrow point
about how Islamic law and Islamic identity should or might be regarded in our
legal system in fact opens up a very wide range of current issues, and requires
some general thinking about the character of law.  It would be a pity if
the immense advances in the recognition of human rights led, because of a misconception
about legal universality, to a situation where a person was defined primarily
as the possessor of a set of abstract liberties and the law’s function was
accordingly seen as nothing but the securing of those liberties irrespective of
the custom and conscience of those groups which concretely compose a plural
modern society.  Certainly, no-one is likely to suppose that a scheme
allowing for supplementary jurisdiction will be simple, and the history of
experiments in this direction amply illustrates the problems.  But if one
approaches it along the lines sketched by Shachar in the monograph quoted
earlier, it might be possible to think in terms of what she calls
‘transformative accommodation': a scheme in which individuals retain the
liberty to choose the jurisdiction under which they will seek to resolve
certain carefully specified matters, so that ‘power-holders are forced to
compete for the loyalty of their shared constituents’ (122).  This may
include aspects of marital law, the regulation of financial transactions and
authorised structures of mediation and conflict resolution – the main areas
that have been in question where supplementary jurisdictions have been tried,
with native American communities in Canada as well as with religious
groups like Islamic minority communities in certain contexts.  In such
schemes, both jurisdictional stakeholders may need to examine the way they
operate; a communal/religious nomos, to borrow Shachar’s vocabulary,
has to think through the risks of alienating its people by inflexible or
over-restrictive applications of traditional law, and a universalist
Enlightenment system has to weigh the possible consequences of ghettoising and
effectively disenfranchising a minority, at real cost to overall social
cohesion and creativity.  Hence ‘transformative accommodation':
both jurisdictional parties may be changed by their encounter over time, and we
avoid the sterility of mutually exclusive monopolies.

It is uncomfortably true that this introduces into our thinking about law
what some would see as a ‘market’ element, a competition for loyalty as Shachar
admits.  But if what we want socially is a pattern of relations in which a
plurality of divers and overlapping affiliations work for a common good, and in
which groups of serious and profound conviction are not systematically faced
with the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty, it seems
unavoidable.  In other settings, I have spoken about the idea of
‘interactive pluralism’ as a political desideratum; this seems to be one
manifestation of such an ideal, comparable to the arrangements that allow for
shared responsibility in education: the best argument for faith schools from
the point of view of any aspiration towards social harmony and understanding is
that they bring communal loyalties into direct relation with the wider society
and inevitably lead to mutual questioning and sometimes mutual influence
towards change, without compromising the distinctiveness of the essential
elements of those communal loyalties.

In conclusion, it seems that if we are to think intelligently about the
relations between Islam and British law, we need a fair amount of
‘deconstruction’ of crude oppositions and mythologies, whether of the nature of
sharia or the nature of the Enlightenment.  But as I have hinted,
I do not believe this can be done without some thinking also about the very
nature of law.  It is always easy to take refuge in some form of
positivism; and what I have called legal universalism, when divorced from a
serious theoretical (and, I would argue, religious) underpinning, can turn into
a positivism as sterile as any other variety.  If the paradoxical idea
which I have sketched is true – that universal law and universal right are a
way of recognising what is least fathomable and controllable in the human
subject – theology still waits for us around the corner of these debates,
however hard our culture may try to keep it out.  And, as you can imagine,
I am not going to complain about that.       

I think that Christians need to read these paragraphs and consider our own position within the American jurisprudential system.   Currently, Christians are facing the encroachment of secular law on religious liberties in the area of family law.   Should Christians be allowed, for the sake of liberty, to opt out of providing services to people’s whose lifestyle undermine core religious metaphors, teachings, and principles?  Should the American people by force of law, for the sake of diversity, provide full legal rights and demand similar cultural treatment of same-sex couples that we currently have for heterosexual couples?  I think that these are important questions which Christians, especially Christian lawyers, need to think long and hard about.  In the United Kingdom, the answer to these questions seems to have come in the form of a separate, module legal system attached to England’s own system which people can optionally choose to submit themselves to.  

I will briefly address the second possible concern that might arise when one considers the historical rise of Islam in Europe.  Not long ago, some authors raised concern about what they see as an Islamic takeover of Europe.  The gist of the argument is that the percentage increase in the number of Muslims relative to non-Muslims in Europe is troubling especially in light of the fact that these Muslims are not assimilating into Western style culture.  Increasingly, Muslims are demanding their own rule of law and demanding that Western governments cooperate with and support their growing sub-culture within Europe.  In the name of diversity and multiculturalism, liberals in Europe support the Muslims in their effort to create this sub-culture.   The authors conclude that Western culture and values will be subverted by Islamic sharia law once the Muslim sub-culture becomes the majority or near majority culture in Europe.

The logic of the argument makes sense to me.  However, my knowledge of Islamic history is limited.  If true, I find it very troubling that Muslims are forming their own, independent sub-culture and not assimilating into the broader Western culture of which they have chosen to be a part.  I think that the trend is worth considering and I can see how one might view the sanctioning of sharia law in the UK as one more step toward the total subversion of Western law in the UK.  Certainly arguments from “diversity” and “multiculturalism” played an important role in the sanctioning of sharia law courts.  However, as Archbishop Williams pointed out, there are bigger, more fundamental questions that need to be addressed.  These questions ought to tamper our potential hysteria on the matter and give people, especially Christians, reason to pause and consider what it means to live in a free society. 


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  • Chris L.

    The Archbishop’s argument is worthless because Islam is not Christianity. Look at what is already happening based on the article.
    It has also emerged that tribunal courts have settled six cases of domestic violence between married couples, working in tandem with the police investigations.
    Siddiqi said he expected the courts to handle a greater number of “smaller” criminal cases in coming years as more Muslim clients approach them. “All we are doing is regulating community affairs in these cases,” said Siddiqi, chairman of the governing council of the tribunal.
    These are not just matters of simple civil/contractual disputes. This is already turning into a move into criminal law.
    Williams is a person who is parsing phrases while his own church shatters and fades into irrelevance.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    From what I read of the article the UK gov’t is not ‘sanctioning Sharia Law’. This is simply private contract. A woman makes a complaint that her husband is abusive, the ‘Sharia court’ orders the husband to take anger management classes (talk about assimilation!). The woman agrees to drop the complaint with police.
    There is no recognition of Sharia Law. If the woman presses the complaint there is nothing the Sharia court can do about it anymore than the Catholic Church can do anything about a woman who insists on suing for divorce. In this case the ‘private contract’ is truely private, it is not even enforceable by the gov’t.
    The other area is likewise not so much Sharia Law as it is private contract law. Two parties agree to let a Sharia Court arbitrate their dispute (presumably because both are Muslim) and abide by its decision. Orthodox Jews have a similiar system (I once worked with a guy who had his own consulting business whose Rabbi pressured him into using the ‘alternative’ arbitration model out of religious loyality….he wasn’t very happy with the results).
    Again what’s being established is not so much Sharia Law as Muslims (and others) using the existing law to enforce private contracts that they make of their own liberty. As with all contract law, it is subserviant to the law of the land hence contracts that call for illegal actions (say death by stoning) are unenforceable.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Boonton,
    There is no recognition of Sharia Law. If the woman presses the complaint there is nothing the Sharia court can do about it anymore than the Catholic Church can do anything about a woman who insists on suing for divorce. In this case the ‘private contract’ is truely private, it is not even enforceable by the gov’t.
    My understanding is quite different.
    The “private contract” here actually carries the full force of binding arbitration, and is thus enforceable by the full weight of the judicial system.
    If I am mistaken, please let me know.
    On a different matter, I found this story via Drudge, on the workings of law enforcement and criminal justice over in your neck of the woods:
    “Cop Loses Badge Over Stolen Breakfast”.
    I’ve happened to have bought several sandwiches over the years at the Quick Chek store in the story – my dad resided in Rockaway.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Binding arbitration is only binding if you agree to it first. This would be the case if you agree to let a private ‘religious court’ hear a civil dispute. In the case of criminal law, you cannot bind someone to drop charges (and keep in mind sometimes there’s a point where you cannot even drop charges). These courts only have power over people to the degree they choose to give them power.
    In many ways this is part of assimiliation, not a reaction against it. Muslims in England are trying to find ways to adapt their culture to the one they are currently in (hence the ‘anger management’ classes for wife beaters which I can pretty much guarantee are not standard Muslim fare in Saudi Arabia)
    On a different matter, I found this story via Drudge, on the workings of law enforcement and criminal justice over in your neck of the woods:
    Yep, I saw that headline on the Morris County’s Daily Record. He was chatting up the clerk who made him the sandwhiches and then just walked out without paying for them. Quck Check gives cops free coffee so I think maybe he was just thinking he could eat for free too….but he agreed to plead guilty & he knew pleading guilty automatically costs you any gov’t job. Seems a shame to kill a long career over something so trivial. On the other hand, you can’t have cops pleading guilty to petty theft and staying on the force.

  • Mark B. Hanson

    For a case study in what happens when the Islamic minority becomes a (near-) majority, I recommend a look at what is happening in northern Nigeria, as the Islamic majority there works to impose the principles of sharia law.
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/nigeria-1.htm
    Of course, the Christians don’t come off very well in this story, either.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Boonton,
    Binding arbitration is only binding if you agree to it first. [ … ] These courts only have power over people to the degree they choose to give them power.
    You are right that all the parties agree to the arbitration. But are you right that all the parties choose to agree?
    Some of the sharia cases have been execution of estates. When women are heirs, they receive only 50% of the male heirs, even though in a British court they would receive an equal share.
    What is going on in these cases? Are women freely consenting to forfeit their own best interests? I really don’t think so. This sounds like a full-blown violation of these people’s rights. I imagine family court is even worse under sharia. If so, then that is a horrible disgrace.
    He was chatting up the clerk who made him the sandwiches and then just walked out without paying for them.
    If he rushed out to respond to an emergency, then he shouldn’t be fired. If, however, he just didn’t want to pay for the sandwiches, then what happened to him was exactly right.
    It’s not trivial to break a law that you have sworn to uphold. It shows a lack of character, and more importantly, it sets the worse possible example for everyone else.
    But other than that, I agree with you ;-)

  • EricR11

    There is a highly significant difference here for Christian Americans, in that the United States was founded upon the principle of separation of church and state – **unlike** Great Britain, whose religious practice is still subject to its government, at least technically. This Blog would not exist today if that had not been the case 217 years ago when the Bill of Rights passed.
    That is also why as a practicing Christian I shudder at attempts to introduce ‘God’ or any particular religious practice into American politics – which seemed to be happening at the RNC big-time, and which has more recently become an Evangelical stance, however well-meaning. How is that any different than what people seem to think is going on here with Sharia law in the UK?
    (Note: McCain’s recent declaration that America is a “Christian” nation first is simply not true, and it is dangerous to everyone, Evangelicals included, to persist in that assertion.)

  • ex-preacher

    The article in the Times relieved the initial queasiness I felt upon reading the headline of this post. As Boonton points out, the cases involved are ones where all parties have consented to this type of arbitration.
    Significantly, the article includes this:
    “Jewish Beth Din courts operate under the same provision in the Arbitration Act and resolve civil cases, ranging from divorce to business disputes. They have existed in Britain for more than 100 years, and previously operated under a precursor to the act.”
    Does anyone object to this? Or is it only when Muslims do the same thing that it becomes objectionable? Is this significantly different than Americans who agree to binding arbitration?
    This reminds me of something that happened several years back to my brother. He was in the employ of fellow Christian in the commercial real estate business. When my brother made a big sale and was denied his rightful commission, he considered taking the matter to court. My preacher dad reminded my brother that, according to I Corinthians, a Christian should never take a brother to court. So my brother and this other man agreed to take it to the church’s elders and to abide by their decision. They decided in my brother’s favor, but the man still wouldn’t pay. He never did. Take home lesson: do all your business with non-Christians so you can sue them if you have to.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Ex-preacher,
    Does anyone object to this?
    I do, I do!
    As I pointed out to Boonton, I strongly suspect that the rights of women and children are being violated, and that they are not giving their free consent. If that ain’t a very serious problem, then I don’t know what is.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You are right that all the parties agree to the arbitration. But are you right that all the parties choose to agree?
    Contract law 101, if your client can make the case that she was coerced into agreeing to a contract it becomes null and void. In the case of binding arbitration the dispute would then enter the regular civil court system.
    Likewise if the woman did agree to arbitration per Muslim rules (or Jewish rules or a game of rock, paper scissors for that matter) you can’t say she isn’t allowed to make such an agreement on the grounds that you’re defending gender equality and freedom!
    Don’t get me wrong. Religion can exert a lot of peer pressure to conform and traditional cultures can put a lot of pressure on women to conform to strict gender roles. The court, though, needs to look at each case to determine the nature of the ‘consent’.
    Some of the sharia cases have been execution of estates. When women are heirs, they receive only 50% of the male heirs, even though in a British court they would receive an equal share.
    Yes, because being a traditional culture men are expected to take care of women hence they get a larger share. So why wouldn’t a woman who believed in this arrangement simply give her surplus inheritance to her brother? Otherwise I’m not sure what this has to do with Sharia law. You can’t rewrite the probate laws by yelling “dad was Muslim” and if you make a will you can divide your estate however you want.
    If he rushed out to respond to an emergency, then he shouldn’t be fired. If, however, he just didn’t want to pay for the sandwiches, then what happened to him was exactly right.
    I’m not sure what he was doing. There wasn’t any emergancy and the paper was a bit unclear how it became an issue. He took the plea without providing any explanation.
    EricR11
    There is a highly significant difference here for Christian Americans, in that the United States was founded upon the principle of separation of church and state – **unlike** Great Britain, whose religious practice is still subject to its government, at least technically. This
    Yes yes but we are kind of talking about a different aspect of law here. It’s not so much religion the law is recognizing but the right of people to use religion to make certain decisions. The Sharia aspect of it makes it the type of story that is very suspectable to easy sensationalism. Also the sensationalized version of the story fits nicely in the ‘clash of civilizations’ idea as well as the ‘demographic time bomb’….but looks can be deceptive.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    As I pointed out to Boonton, I strongly suspect that the rights of women and children are being violated, and that they are not giving their free consent. If that ain’t a very serious problem, then I don’t know what is.
    That is but you can’t just assume that’s the case because a woman is going along with Sharia law. To use the inheritance case, imagine an adult woman chooses to give her brother her extra inheritance to bring it down to what sharia law would require. Does the gov’t pre-emptively void her right to write a check out of her own bank account? Not unless there’s positive evidence she is writing the check under actual threat and it has to be a threat of harm….not one of “the family will disown you if you do X”
    In the case of children, their ability to enter into binding contracts are highly limited.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Boonton,
    … if the woman did agree to arbitration per Muslim rules (or Jewish rules or a game of rock, paper scissors for that matter) you can’t say she isn’t allowed to make such an agreement on the grounds that you’re defending gender equality and freedom!
    I’m not saying she isn’t allowed to make such an agreement. I’m saying she is being coerced, and her coercers should not be allowed to coerce.
    … if your client can make the case that she was coerced into agreeing to a contract, it becomes null and void. In the case of binding arbitration the dispute would then enter the regular civil court system.
    O.K., but if someone is coerced into consent, how is that person supposed to be in a position to challenge the coercion?
    My objection is not semantics; real people’s lives are being seriously affected. Fundamentalist Muslim lobbying has won a significant victory in the U.K., and innocent victims are paying and will continue to pay a terrible price.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    That is but you can’t just assume that’s the case because a woman is going along with Sharia law.
    I agree that some, perhaps even most of the women involved will be happy to participate.
    But how many coerced woman is too many? Fifty percent, twenty percent, one percent? I believe one coercion is one coercion too many.
    In the case of children, their ability to enter into binding contracts are highly limited.
    I was referring to divorce, custody, and inheritance cases, all of which would presumably not involve the consent of the children.

  • http://ateam.blogspot.com David N.

    In the end, this debate is moot anyway. In 50 years there won’t be enough Europeans in Europe for there to be anyone to complain if the majority Muslim population should decide to institute Sharia as the law of the land.

  • ucfengr

    Does anyone object to this? Or is it only when Muslims do the same thing that it becomes objectionable? Is this significantly different than Americans who agree to binding arbitration?
    Not so much. Let’s be a little honest here, ex. There is no one worth mentioning in Judaism that wants to set up the Jewish equivalent of the Caliphate (is there even such a thing?). The same cannot be said for Islam. Also, there is evidence of rather strong coercive measures (honor killings, etc.) being used to enforce compliance among Muslims. None of that exists in Judaism.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Matthew
    O.K., but if someone is coerced into consent, how is that person supposed to be in a position to challenge the coercion?
    I can think of a few methods:
    1. Investigate possible cases of coercion.
    2. Provide resources for victims of coercion to come forward (this can and is done in both the gov’t sector and private sector…see for example the women who leave polygamist Mormon cults and act as activists for other women seeking to escape).
    3. Provide incentives to community leaders to surpress coercion. This, I suspect, is why the UK Sharia courts are giving out the oddly Western solution of anger management classes as a way to resolve accusations of spousal abuse. They want their decisions to be acceptable to the larger legal system so they have an incentive to stop coercion least it jeopardize their entire system. Since they are closer to a relatively closed community than the larger gov’t, secular social services and dissidents they are in a better position to do this than #1 or #2.
    4. Assume that any woman (or man I suppose) making a decision against her best interest (as judged by secular authorities) is not really free and therefore nullify her decision in the interest of ‘true freedom’. This may be acceptable in some extreme cases but it leads to massive subsidary problems. The last real go at this method was the radical feminist school of the 80’s and 90’s (i.e. the “all sexis rape” idea).
    ucfengr
    There is no one worth mentioning in Judaism that wants to set up the Jewish equivalent of the Caliphate (is there even such a thing?).
    And even if some Jews did start advocating such a thing I fail to see how that voids the right of contract for all Jews (and non-Jews as well).

  • ucfengr

    And even if some Jews did start advocating such a thing I fail to see how that voids the right of contract for all Jews (and non-Jews as well).
    As usual, Boonton, you leave me wondering if you even read my post before responding to it. It’s as if I said “The sky is awfully blue today” and you responded with “but what about the Infield Fly Rule?”

  • Chris L.

    Boonton:This, I suspect, is why the UK Sharia courts are giving out the oddly Western solution of anger management classes as a way to resolve accusations of spousal abuse.
    If you look at the article is says that the “anger management” was with the local religious leaders. Considering that Islam allows a husband to beat his wife, it might not be that great for the wife.
    Also, here in the US, once you call in about domestic abuse, the police are going to investigate regardless of what the parties say. There is good reason for that. All too often, the violent party is able to pressure the victim to recant later on.
    ucfengr:Let’s be a little honest here…
    It’s not about honesty. It’s about a worldview that sees all religions as basically the same. Thus there is the inability to make key distinctions.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Chris L
    If you look at the article is says that the “anger management” was with the local religious leaders. Considering that Islam allows a husband to beat his wife, it might not be that great for the wife.
    So UK Sharia courts are not Islamic, ok so what’s your objection then? If they take your advice and issue a ‘true Islamic’ verdict of its ok to beat your wife their decision would not be legally valid (contract law 101, contracts cannot contradict standing law or public policy). Or perhaps you can move to England and apply for a position on a sharia arbiration board. Your surperior knowledge of Islam will no doubt impress them and considering how poorly the dollar is doing you can come back to America after a few years with a tidy nest egg saved.
    Also, here in the US, once you call in about domestic abuse, the police are going to investigate regardless of what the parties say. There is good reason for that. All too often, the violent party is able to pressure the victim to recant later on.
    I know most police in the US have a policy of arrest anyone and everyone if there’s any evidence of a physical altercation. As for what happens to those cases afterwards depends entirely on the circumstances. The fact remains a sharia court has no authority to void standing criminal investigations nor can a person entering into a contract not to press criminal charges on someone be prevented from doing so, at worst they can only be sued for breech of contract.
    For example, say Michael Jackson enters into a contract against a childhood molestation victim not to press charges in exchange for $500,000. He pays the money and then the victim presses charges. At worse Jackson can only sue for the money back (and I’m not sure such a contract could be enforced), the contract cannot be used to dismiss the criminal charges.
    It’s not about honesty. It’s about a worldview that sees all religions as basically the same. Thus there is the inability to make key distinctions.
    It’s about a worldview that holds that it is not government’s job to rank religions, the gov’t’s job is to protect the freedom of the individual to make that call for themselves.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    ucfengr
    As usual, Boonton, you leave me wondering if you even read my post before responding to it.
    Hmmm, you wrote:

    Does anyone object to this? Or is it only when Muslims do the same thing that it becomes objectionable? Is this significantly different than Americans who agree to binding arbitration?

    Not so much. Let’s be a little honest here, ex. There is no one worth mentioning in Judaism that wants to set up the Jewish equivalent of the Caliphate (is there even such a thing?).
    My response was spot on. If some Jews suddenly started getting all radical and were trying to set up a Jewish equilivant to the Caliphate, what relevance would that have to the right of individuals to agree to binding arbitration by Jewish courts?

  • ucfengr

    My response was spot on.
    No, it wasn’t, but trying to convince you otherwise would require more time and patience than I possess; which is why I generally don’t respond to you.

  • qwer45t6yui

    “My response was spot on.”
    And did you know that there is no word in the Arabic dictionary for gullible?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I ask our new blog overlords to have patience with ucfengr, our special needs commentator. Yes he isn’t ready for entry into normal society yet but he has made great progress here. We also ask you to overlook his sock puppet qwer45t6yui. Everyone has setbacks.

  • qwertyu89

    “My response was spot on.”
    Question his grasp of reality, but don’t ever question his narcissism.

  • ucfengr

    I ask our new blog overlords to have patience with ucfengr, our special needs commentator.
    I’m too busy playing with my “special needs” son (and my non-“special needs” daughter) to take the time to respond to Boonton, but his comment does make me wonder why it is usually only conservatives that are thought of as mean or cruel.

  • jd

    ucfengr, qwertyu89 and any others tempted by Boonton:
    Please don’t ever respond to him again. He sounds reasonable. He writes endless posts with links to who knows where (usually Wikipedia). He never accepts the obvious. His stated purpose is to be a “pin(prick) in a bubble factory.” He obviously can’t hold a day job because he actually writes more here than Joe Carter himself. In fact, Joe Carter never responded to him anymore. He is the kind of guy who doesn’t have a clue what people think of him. If this was an actual cocktail party, his eyes would tell him that everyone else had already left, but his brain would object. He is the only man who thinks Bill Clinton was too honest and Islamic wife beaters are being assimilated by going to anger management classes.
    I am convinced that he writes these posts wearing little pointed ears like Yoda and that he has tried to levitate large objects using only his brain.
    I beg you not to respond to him anymore; it’s a trip down a rabbit hole. He truly believes the piffle he peddles here or he wouldn’t be so convincing.
    Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks once wrote a song called, “How can I Miss You When You Won’t go Away?” Let’s give Boonton the chance to be missed. I can live with it.

  • qwer5t6yuio

    ” . . .wonder why it is usually only conservatives that are thought of as mean or cruel.”
    I call it liberal cognitive dissonance (LOG)
    Instead of seeing the log in their own eye,
    they see the gnat in the conservative’s eye and poke it out with the nearest rusty implement. If you say “ouch,” you are being cruel.
    Placating sharia law in England is only one of countless examples of liberal’s moralistic ramblings being contradicted by their actions.

  • qwertyuiop

    “How can I Miss You When You Won’t go Away?”
    Better yet . . .
    “If the phone don’t ring, you”ll know it’s me.”
    Have fun, be blunt, but have mercy. He may be closer than you think to getting saved.

  • qwertyuji

    ooops! The acronym fails, but there is a sermon somewhere in there.
    Maranatha!

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    “only conservatives that are thought of as mean or cruel. ” Tsk tsk, this is what I get for asking that people be patient with you! Seriously, though, I don’t dish anything out that you haven’t given at one point or another. If you want to engage with me in an honest disagreement I’ll engage, when you choose to revert to being a jerk I’ll respond properly.
    And now for a blast from the past

    For those new here jd is a member of the Trinity of Stupidity. Three presons, jd, smmtheory and ucfengr united in an annoying tactic of demanding backup for any and all ‘assertions’. Most of the time they refuse to actually specify which assertions they want you to back up….don’t try to back up everything you say, though, because they will then get upset and complain about your posts being too tedius to read or respond too. When backup is provided they will invariably ignore it or dismiss it with a wave of the hand.

    They don’t actually disagree with you. Or I should say when they do disagree with you they absolutely don’t want to produce, see or hear about any backup, support or facts. No when the demands come to prove how you know something you can almost always bet they don’t have any actual disagreement with what you said. They’ve stumbled on the idea that endless nitpicking actually amounts to something more than pointless spam.

    While smm has been quiet for a time, my faith in this trinity has yet to be disproven.

  • ucfengr

    I don’t dish anything out that you haven’t given at one point or another.
    This is classic. Rather than admit his comment may have been inappropriate (Making fun of the disabled; have you no shame?), Boonton defends his comment by blaming….me. I guess we could call it the “Obama defense” in honor of Obama’s defending his “lipstick on a pig comment” by blaming McCain (“Boo-hoo, McCain said it first, waa, waa, waa”).
    As jd, points out, this is typical Boonton behavior, make a comment irrelevant to the one he is responding to, and then defend it to the death. It’s why I no longer take his comments seriously, or feel the need to address them other than with irreverence.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Nice, notice that the ‘lipstick’ attack was a lie (it was about McCain’s tired old economic policies not Palin…and the expression ‘lipstick on a pig’ is very old). Good company ucfengr keeps.
    I didn’t claim ucfengr was disabled. He’s a special needs commentator. His special need is to be indulged because he is unable to:
    1. Be honest
    2. Mount coherent arguments
    3. Conduct a disagrement in a sane manner
    He’s like a guy who enjoys hanging out at a fight club talking crap but is a wimp in the ring. It’s not quite right for the real players to go at such a character with full force but every now and then he needs to be put in place. Hate the game not the player buddy.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Hi Everybody,
    A couple of modest proposals:
    1) We refrain from making fun of each other [ “special needs commentator” ; “unable to conduct arguments in a sane manner” ]. We refrain from explaining to everyone why someone does not deserve a response [ “trying to convince you otherwise would require more time and patience than I possess; which is why I generally don’t respond to you” ].
    2) If we don’t like someone’s argument, or someone’s response to our argument, we either focus on the specific content by rebutting it intellectually; or we simply take a pass or change the subject. Venting frustration may be satisfying, but it seems a bit provocative to those on the receiving end, and rightly so.
    Boonton,
    Perhaps binding arbitration in the U.K. based upon Jewish law ain’t such a hot idea either.
    Why should Islamist campaigns to establish a caliphate make a difference to contracts among individuals? Because sharia tribunals are a Trojan horse, a way of establishing a legal and psychological beachhead in a land that has been the source of common law for much of the planet.
    Of course, it’s not much of a Trojan horse for anyone who has been paying attention, since the Greek warriors in the horse took pains to hide themselves from the Trojans, whereas the Islamists preach quite openly in their mosques and other media.
    That said, my overriding concern remains that of individual rights, and the violation thereof by discriminatory sharia precepts. The sharia tribunals cannot be justified because they violate the universal natural law principle of equality under the law.
    The safeguards you propose could easily be used to justify many other outrages against this principle. For example, by your logic respect for contractual rights seems to mean we should legalize polygamy, prostitution, and child labor.
    What say you, good sir?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Matt
    Ok ok, fair point.
    Perhaps binding arbitration in the U.K. based upon Jewish law ain’t such a hot idea either.
    Maybe but how do you justify implementing that in law? It’s a pretty old idea in Western law that indivdiuals have a fundamental right to enter into contracts. How do you justify changing the law to say contracts with clauses that are designed to comply with Jewish or Islamic (or any other type) of law are unenforceable?
    Why should Islamist campaigns to establish a caliphate make a difference to contracts among individuals? Because sharia tribunals are a Trojan horse, a way of establishing a legal and psychological beachhead in a land that has been the source of common law for much of the planet.
    This sounds like the slippery slope error. You’re saying that two Muslims cannot enter into a contract with clauses based on their religious beliefs because at some vague point in the future these two Muslims might propose a democratic society adopt a caliphate? Leave aside the other sticky problem that in a democracy you have a right to advocate such a thing just as a person can advocate establishing a dictatorship or monarchy or any number of systems that are non-democratic.
    That said, my overriding concern remains that of individual rights, and the violation thereof by discriminatory sharia precepts. The sharia tribunals cannot be justified because they violate the universal natural law principle of equality under the law.
    This sounds like you’re going to kill equality under the law in the name of saving it. To me this sounds like you’re not really getting how sharia tribunals (and Jewish courts) work in countries like the US and UK versus in countries that have (or try to have) Sharia law. How can a system be discriminatory if both parties have to make full informed consent to use it beforehand?
    These systems might be unfair by your standards but then again the people that agree to them have the freedom to do so. Guess what? The ‘binding arbitration’ you have probably agreed to if you have a brokerage account is probably very unfair too and you’ll learn that if you’re unfortunate enough to get stiffed by a broker, try to sue and learn you agreed to settle first with the board when you opened your account. There is a lot of tinkering the law can do here, especially around what really makes up ‘informed consent’ but when it comes down to it you have a right to agree to an unfair system and if you feel your religion requires you to use that system it’s going to be pretty hard to write laws to prohibit that without seriously stepping on two fundamental freedoms.
    The safeguards you propose could easily be used to justify many other outrages against this principle. For example, by your logic respect for contractual rights seems to mean we should legalize polygamy, prostitution, and child labor.
    Contract law 101: Contracts with provisions that violate existing law or public poicy are unenforceable. Tony Soprano puts out a contract on someone, you kill the person Tony refuses to pay you. Breach of contract? Yes. Can you win a judgement in civil court? No. You pay a Muslim matchmaker to find you 4 wives. Is that contract enforceable? Not in any country that doesn’t have polygamy. Can the contract be rewritten to be enforceable? Sure, it could say that the matchmaker must introduce you to 4 women who meet certain requirements and all agree to marry you in a Muslim ceremoney (not one that recognized by the state). If the matchmaker does that and you stiff him he can then sue you and win a judgement.
    What’s going on here, it sounds like, is less about a beachhead and more about a sensationalist tabloid take on a rather mundane story. Show me how these binding arbitration boards have any special authority in the law to override actual law and then we’ll talk.

  • ucfengr

    Nice, notice that the ‘lipstick’ attack was a lie (it was about McCain’s tired old economic policies not Palin…and the expression ‘lipstick on a pig’ is very old).
    Well, you don’t actually know that, do you? And regardless of what he meant, a lot of people, apparently even many of the people he was addressing, interpreted as a swipe at Palin. A man, rather than a spoiled child, would have accepted responsibility for his statement, however inadvertent, and apologized. His unwillingness to do this is what allowed the comment to become an issue, to his obvious detriment. Rather like your comment and your reaction to being called on it. Lots of people from all political persuasions have “special needs” children, and we don’t particularly like having it implied that they are stupid or having them used as a proxy to insult others. So rather than man-up and accept responsibility, you act like Obama and show that in addition to being an idiot, you are also a spoiled child.
    Perhaps binding arbitration in the U.K. based upon Jewish law ain’t such a hot idea either.
    As long as it entered into voluntarily, what is the problem? Lots of groups in the US agree to submit disagreements to an extra-judicial authority rather than rely on the courts. I am pretty sure the Amish have such a system.
    Why should Islamist campaigns to establish a caliphate make a difference to contracts among individuals? Because sharia tribunals are a Trojan horse, a way of establishing a legal and psychological beachhead in a land that has been the source of common law for much of the planet.
    This, of course is the difference between Islam and Judaism. No one in Judaism is attempting to replace “common law” with “Levitical Law”, unlike Islam which is commanded to impose Islam and Islamic Law on the world.

  • ucfengr

    and the expression ‘lipstick on a pig’ is very old
    Of course, if Palin or McCain had used the phrase “the pot calling the kettle black” or used the word “niggardly” when talking about Obama’s policies, there would have been no end to the accusations that they are racists.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Boonton,
    Show me how these binding arbitration boards have any special authority in the law to override actual law and then we’ll talk.
    In comment 6, I pointed out:
    Some of the sharia cases have been execution of estates. When women are heirs, they receive only 50% of the male heirs, even though in a British court they would receive an equal share.
    In comment 10, you responded:
    Yes, because being a traditional culture men are expected to take care of women hence they get a larger share. So why wouldn’t a woman who believed in this arrangement simply give her surplus inheritance to her brother? Otherwise I’m not sure what this has to do with Sharia law. You can’t rewrite the probate laws by yelling “dad was Muslim” and if you make a will you can divide your estate however you want.
    But the truth is some people have been “rewriting the probate laws” by using the version that obtains in the Sharia tribunals. And yes, that version does override actual law, which stipulates an equal share for everyone, male and female alike.
    Do the females in question give their consent freely? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Most likely some do, and some don’t. If we really want to safeguard all the parties, then the women could get their equal share under traditional British law, and then they could transfer whatever they wished to their male relatives.
    This sounds like the slippery slope error. You’re saying that two Muslims cannot enter into a contract with clauses based on their religious beliefs because at some vague point in the future these two Muslims might propose a democratic society adopt a caliphate?
    No, I’m saying the existing law stipulates that civil rights cannot be contracted away — or rather it did until the arbitration regulation got re-interpreted to allow Sharia tribunals. Once you break that rather clear (and vitally important) principle in one situation, you make it much, much easier to break it in others.
    In other words, you’re setting a precedent. Fretting about precedents is not an “error”, it is understanding how the legal system works. (In fact, you yourself cited the precedent of Jewish tribunals, and even the very tangential precedent of brokerage account waivers.)
    Moreover, in this instance, the precedent is actually something that Islamists admit they want to see a lot more of. Nobody is making that part up. Why should anyone who cares about civil and human rights want to pretend that is not a powerful agenda in the U.K. and elsewhere? Why shouldn’t we point out that terroristic violence and threats of terroristic violence are being used to promote this agenda?
    If we decline to defend rights and liberty for one small group, then there actually is a slippery slope that becomes a danger for the rights of all. Calling the slippery slope argument an error does not make it magically disappear — that would be the “ostrich head in sand” error.
    Two Muslims in sharia arbitration do not a caliphate make. By they give hope and succor to the Islamist imams in the neighborhood and their Saudi sponsors and any jihadis who might want to terrorize their neighbors. And that’s true even if the two Muslims are themselves anti-Islamists.
    Once again, the Islamist movements are not my primary concern, but it is a very strong secondary one.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Ucfengr,
    Rather like your comment and your reaction to being called on it. Lots of people from all political persuasions have “special needs” children, and we don’t particularly like having it implied that they are stupid or having them used as a proxy to insult others. So rather than man-up and accept responsibility, you act like Obama and show that in addition to being an idiot, you are also a spoiled child.
    Are you willing to take responsibility for being impatient with Boonton in comment 21? That seems to have been the trigger for his violations of thread decorum.
    It’s hard to back down when your rival is not willing to do the same. It’s even harder to be self-critical in a public forum when your rival is unwilling.
    If we really, really want to discourage “idiotic” behavior, we have to take it upon ourselves to set a good example, to maintain very high standards. Not because it is hypocritical to do otherwise, but simply because a bad example will be imitated.
    Boonton’s rhetoric was harsher than yours, and from your point of view it probably seems totally unjustified. But it wasn’t unprovoked, and until you admit that, Boonton probably won’t want to listen very closely to your criticism.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Matt
    But the truth is some people have been “rewriting the probate laws” by using the version that obtains in the Sharia tribunals. And yes, that version does override actual law, which stipulates an equal share for everyone, male and female alike.
    Explain to me how it works:
    A
    Mr Bill dies. He has a will
    1. He leaves his son 75% and his daughter 25% with no explanation
    2. He leaves his son 75% and his daughter 25% explaning he feels this is in compliance with Muslim law.
    3. He leaves instructions that his estate shall be divided per the recommendations of his Iman to be in accord with Islam.
    All 3 scenarios are functionally equal and permitted under law (I suspect #3 might be kind of complicated to do in a will but it could be done).
    B
    Mr. Bill dies without a will.
    1. His estate is split 50-50. His daughter, wanting to be a good Muslim, gives her brother half of her inheritance.
    2. His daughter does not split it. The son sues the daughter for the half and asks her to agree to let a Muslim council hear the case. If she says yes she agrees to abide by their call. If she says no it goes to the regular system (which, of course rules in her favor).
    Again these are functionally equal and I don’t see how you could outlaw them without infringing on freedom.
    The only thing I would object too and tell me if UK law does this is:
    3. Son says “wait my dad was a Muslim” and British court says “Ohhh ok even though he didn’t do a will we’ll ask the Imam what the rules are and apply those instead of regular law.
    Do the females in question give their consent freely? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Most likely some do, and some don’t. If we really want to safeguard all the parties, then the women could get their equal share under traditional British law, and then they could transfer whatever they wished to their male relatives.
    The only consent here is the guy making his will. But if you can’t trust the woman consenting to agree to the council how can you trust her if she’s transferring the money to her brother?
    No, I’m saying the existing law stipulates that civil rights cannot be contracted away — or rather it did until the arbitration regulation got re-interpreted to allow Sharia tribunals.
    Exactly which civil rights are you talking about? You don’t have a civil right to inherit your parents money.
    Two Muslims in sharia arbitration do not a caliphate make. By they give hope and succor to the Islamist imams in the neighborhood and their Saudi sponsors and any jihadis who might want to terrorize their neighbors. And that’s true even if the two Muslims are themselves anti-Islamists.
    Perhaps but keep in mind why the slippery slope does not work. Each time you move down the slope you lower the incentive to keep moving and increase the incentive to stop. If you deny people freedom to exercise their freedom in ways that are quite frankly part of natural liberty & not a danger to anyone else you provide a powerful incentive for them to align with radicals. If you do not deny that you give them less incentive to align.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Boonton
    I get the impression from what I’ve read in the New York Post and the London Times that the way it works is:
    Dad dies without a will; family agrees to use the Muslim Arbritration Tribunal; women get half as much as the men; no appeal possible, or rather, any appeal will confirm the sharia splits.
    So in the event of no will, consent by all the family is necessary. But if the women are coerced, and if the children (if there are any) have their consent given by their parents, then you have the problem I’ve been talking about.
    The Post article, by the way, has an excellent summary of how the “slippery slope” could work, and indeed has already worked, even before the tribunals were set up last year:
    “Sharia — U.K.”, by John O’Sullivan
    The way the slippery slope works, apparently, is that refusing to defend universal principles of equality before the law does not appear to defuse latent wishes of allying with radicals, it does not act as a safety valve for aggrieved Muslims. Rather it appears that the slippery slope actually lowers respect for common natural law as opposed to sharia; it whets some people’s appetite for more sharia; and it makes it harder for politicians, police officers, and jurists to uphold traditional legal standards under the ever-growing cultural onslaught.
    If your version of the slippery slope were true:
    Perhaps but keep in mind why the slippery slope does not work. Each time you move down the slope you lower the incentive to keep moving and increase the incentive to stop. If you deny people freedom to exercise their freedom in ways that are quite frankly part of natural liberty & not a danger to anyone else you provide a powerful incentive for them to align with radicals. If you do not deny that you give them less incentive to align.
    then I would be happy to admit my error and defend individual rights purely on its own merits, since that trumps PC Muslim identity-group politics in any case. But it seems that appeasement, merely as an empirical matter, does not work. And why should it, when Muslims are steadily increasing their demographic share of Britain’s population?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Dad dies without a will; family agrees to use the Muslim Arbritration Tribunal; women get half as much as the men; no appeal possible, or rather, any appeal will confirm the sharia splits.
    I don’t think this is the way it works. First of all (and I’m going to warn you I know only a little about estate law) if the wife was alive she would automatically receive the full estate without a will. You cannot will your spouse out of your estate.
    Second, I don’t think you can will minor children out of your estate. Will or no they have to be taken care of before anyone else gets anything.
    So we have to be talking about adult kids here with no spouse. Assuming you can bypass probate court and opt to have a sharia tribunal determine the split, you’re back to where we began. You’ll let men agree to this but not a woman? That’s equality under the law? I’ll ask again how can you trust a woman who gives her brother some money? How do you know that’s not coerced? Are women now under state scrutiny to prove they way they dispose of their own money is not coerced?
    Sullivan says in the article you link that the arbitration council hears both civil and inheritance cases but he provides no examples and mentions in passing they’ve heard all of 100 cases. I suspect he simply erred and the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal is only hearing civil disputes.
    I think the more typical case is what I described. Two Muslims have a disagreement and go to the Sharia tribunal to hear it out. The tribunals power is totally voluntary. Like the court system the Catholic Church runs, it can only tell you what it thinks your religion requires you to do. You are free to ignore it or accept it. The only difference is when two parties agree to have a monetary dispute heard and agree to binding arbitration. In that area the tribunal can make a decision that results in a judgement one party can collect on. Again how do you outlaw that unless you outlaw all arbitration?
    Slippery slope:
    1. This is about equality under the law. All parties to a contract are equal and you can’t void contracts because one seems like it’s motivated by religious convictions.
    2. Whether or not Sullivan’s version of the slippery slope that gets slippier as you go down it is true or not is irrelevant. You evaluate the policy in front of you and in a free society if someone is doing something that is not harming anyone, not violating the law and is part of his or her natural freedoms you can’t outlaw it because you think this maybe will give him or others motivation in the future to advocate a policy that does violate freedom.
    I’ll go along with the criticism that police do not investigate abuse allagations as much as they should in Muslim communities. That, though, is a totally different topic and has nothing to do with arbitration (although instead of trying to outlaw arbitration it would probably make more sense for investigators to forge alliances with arbitration members). It’s also not a topic I think most of us can really talk all that much about since I don’t live in the UK and have no idea how good or bad their police really are.

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  • qwer5t67u

    “We also ask you to overlook his sock puppet qwer45t6yui. ”
    This appears to be a case of a nut without squirrel. Prey without a preditor.
    No one is out to get you, and the ubiquitous accusations of “stupid” people “lying” to you, or about you – is meant only to puff yourself up.
    You routinely insulted the former webhost, Joe, and (on day one) you started the same sophmoric tripe with the new host, who deserves common decency and respect.
    People like you have reduced
    this once interesting forum into a moshpit. In all honesty, after reading this forum daily for years, I have never read one coherant argument presented that would cause me to doubt my faith. On the contrary, the tactics most commonly used has only served to strengthen it.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    It is all well and good that you have never read a coherent argument here that would cause you to doubt your faith. Since I have no idea of your faith’s nature, I can’t comment on whether an argument has ever been made here to challenge it.
    You cannot claim, however, that you have not read coherent arguments here by me if you are honest about being a longtime reader. You are free to pine for even more coherent arguments, but don’t you think it would be nice if you broght some chips to the party rather than mooching off what’s there?

  • qwer456y7ui

    “Since I have no idea of your faith’s nature, I can’t comment on whether an argument has ever been made here to challenge it.”
    No idea, eh? Let’s not mince words.
    “You cannot claim, however, that you have not read coherent arguments here by me if you are honest about being a longtime reader.”
    There have been times when you have NOT reacted like an irate monkey throwing feces around his cage. But that does not qualify as a coherent argument capable of causing an objective person to “doubt” their faith.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    OOo OOOO….tell us again about how much you hate the ‘mosh pit’ that I’m personally responsible for creating here. You’re soooo coherent……

  • qwertyu8io

    “OOo OOOO….tell us again about how much you hate the ‘mosh pit’ that I’m personally responsible for creating here. You’re soooo coherent……”
    Nice impersonation of LL, but you need to throw in a “wa wa wa, mommy, mommy, mommy!” B+

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    That, my friends, was the high note for the Trinity of Stupidity.
    Hopefully the last person here will remember to turn off the lights!

  • smmtheory

    Are you willing to take responsibility for being impatient with Boonton in comment 21? That seems to have been the trigger for his violations of thread decorum.

    Heh, I wasn’t aware that Boonton ever needed a trigger. It seems to me that if he can’t find one, he creates one.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    TRANSLATION: “No I will not take responsibility for my actions”
    Now can we have another rerun of the Trinity bemoaning the lack of maturity here?

  • smmtheory

    Who are the other two you getting to join you Mr Moan?

  • http://www.dailyduck.blogspot.com Robert Duquette

    Williams: “It would be a pity if the immense advances in the recognition of human rights led, because of a misconception about legal universality, to a situation where a person was defined primarily as the possessor of a set of abstract liberties and the law’s function was accordingly seen as nothing but the securing of those liberties irrespective of the custom and conscience of those groups which concretely compose a plural modern society.”
    Williams is choking on the notion that his society has its own customs and conscience, and the notion that a persopn is an individual with a set of abstract liberties secured by law is the expression of that custom and that conscience. One can be true to one’s culture, or one can bastardize it out of some misbegotten notion to build a “plural modern society”, whatever that means.
    Williams: In such schemes, both jurisdictional stakeholders may need to examine the way they operate; a communal/religious nomos, to borrow Shachar’s vocabulary, has to think through the risks of alienating its people by inflexible or over-restrictive applications of traditional law, and a universalist Enlightenment system has to weigh the possible consequences of ghettoising and effectively disenfranchising a minority, at real cost to overall social cohesion and creativity. Hence ‘transformative accommodation': both jurisdictional parties may be changed by their encounter over time, and we avoid the sterility of mutually exclusive monopolies.
    This discussion makes no sense. If the individual were truly free to choose the jurisdiction, then the communal “nomos” would not exist in anything more than name. The transformative power of competing jurisdictions would dilute the traditions of the communal group until the group disappeared. But Muslims in Europe don’t want the right to choose Sharia as individuals. They want the right as a community to use Sharia, without regard to what its members as individuals desire.
    Likewise, the notion that treating all individuals under a universalist Enlightenment legal scheme somehow ghettoizes cultural groups is ridiculous, it does the exact opposite. It prevents these ethnic groups from ghettoizing themselves.
    There are two approaches to recognizing human rights: as belonging to individuals and as belonging to groups. You can’t combine the two in some way that combines the best of both worlds. They aren’t reconcilable, they pose a choice. One or the other. We’ve chosen one way in the West, and it looks like some of us are in the process of unchoosing it.