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Do British Muslims Want Shari'a?
by David J. Rusin • Aug 1, 2008 at 11:36 am
A new poll commissioned by the Centre for Social Cohesion paints a troubling portrait of the views held by Muslim students at British universities. Based on data from a dozen campuses with large Muslim enrollments, including Imperial College and Kings College London, the prevailing opinions about Shari'a law and secular society are as follows:
These numbers are in line with other recent surveys from the UK. According to a study released in 2007 by the Policy Exchange think tank, 40% of Muslims between the ages of 16 and 24 would prefer to live under Shari'a law — over twice the percentage of their fellow believers aged 55 and above. A third of British Muslims expressed similar views to Channel 4 in 2006.
However, Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz of the Center for Islamic Pluralism argue that Shari'a is not as popular among Muslims as the aforementioned groups have claimed:
Their complete study should be interesting and perhaps even controversial. However, one observation is already beyond dispute: when Archbishop Rowan Williams and Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips endorse the adoption of certain aspects of Shari'a law in civil matters, their words embolden radicals and marginalize moderates. And that does little to aid the nation that these two men are charged with serving.