Forty per cent of British Muslims support the idea of sharia law being introduced to parts of the UK, according to an ICM opinion poll carried out for the Sunday Telegraph,
If anyone was wondering what the limits of multiculturalism are, I think we may have stumbled across them.
We should obviously approach these statistics with caution. A sample of 500 people could never produce concrete conclusions, no matter how sophisticated the profiling or the nature of the questions asked.
It’s worth remembering too that a majority of people asked did not support this idea. But it’s still worrying that any British citizen could possibly favour a system of law that involves punishments such as stoning, lashes, severing of hands and beheading for so-called Hadd offences (which include sex outside of marriage, drinking alcohol and petty theft).
There’s a good opinion piece in today’s Guardian by Marcel Berlins that I agree with, arguing that sharia law is completely incompatible with the values and laws of this country to the point of them being mutually exclusive. It is unthinkable that this could ever be permitted.
Response from the government so far has been fairly muted, but I would favour an outright dismissal of the very concept from the outset. There needs to be a very clear and unequivocal message delivered to the group of people who think it could ever be taken seriously, namely: No. It is never going to happen. This is not even up for discussion.
Now the question remains: how do we ever integrate the people that believe this?