Saturday, February 9, 2008

Islam in Britain

A British friend of mine wrote me today wondering if I might write something about Islam in Britain. It was a coincidence because I have been mulling over the idea for a while now. I have been to Britain numerous times, and I have heard about and witnessed the social angst that is bubbling to the surface in Britain as ethnic and religious demographics change. The tension is acute and apparent, making Britain an interesting place to study what many are labeling a conflict between Islam and the West. The recent uproar over an interview on Radio 4 with Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, in which he said that the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law "seems unavoidable," is just a reminder of how contentious the question of how to integrate Islam within a Western Democracy has become. The fact that the Archbishop's remarks were presented thoughtfully and intelligently within a larger discussion on Islam's place within Britain, have, unfortunately, been lost as the uproarious admonishments have spread throughout the British media. And that is why, perhaps, it is time for someone across the "pond" to do an objective article on Islam in Britain. I am going to begin working on the piece Monday, and hopefully I will have it up by the following Monday (revision: probably not; the books I need will take a little longer to get than I expected. In two weeks probably). Check back often for this Main Issue special report: Islam in Britain.

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