In Rowan Williams' own mind, it all seemed so reasonable. "People may be surprised," he told the BBC in justifying his insistence that Shariah law is inevitable, "but I hope that surprise will be modified when they think about the general question of how the law and religious community, religious principle are best and fruitfully accommodated." After all, wasn't it all happening anyway?

"As a matter of fact, certain provisions of Sharia are already recognized in our society and under our law," said the Church of England leader, citing legal provisions for faith-based objections to abortion.

But the issue isn't about a right to refrain, but the wholesale forcing of Britain's Muslim subpopulation into an alternative legal system run by an unelected theocracy.

"In a plural society, all citizens are equal under the law and the archbishop's comments directly undermine this," Alastair McBay of the National Secular Society told the U.K. Press Association.

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