Statement from Christian Muslim Forum on Archbishop of Canterbury's lecture

 The Christian Muslim Forum issued the following statement on Saturday in respond to the Archbishop of Canterbury's lecture on religion and law: The Archbishop of Canterbury's significant and important lecture, 'Civil and Religious Law in England: a religious perspective', has raised the vital issue of how to allow for religious conscience and belief within the overall framework of English and UK law. We welcome this discussion, but also recognise that this is a complex and emotive debate in which it is easy for misunderstanding and stereotyping to arise, especially in relation to shari'ah law. We encourage everyone to read the full text of the lecture at: The Archbishop has opened an important debate, not primarily about shari'ah, but about 'the broader issues around the rights of religious groups within a secular state', he uses shari'ah as an example, while mentioning Jewish religious courts and Christian concerns about some laws. The big religious question that he raises is 'whether there should be a higher level of attention to religious identity and communal rights in the practice of the law'. The Christian Muslim Forum is committed to enabling better understanding and discussion of these complex issues and how they might be developed in a positive way. We will be undertaking a considered discussion of these matters in the months ahead. We hope that this will lead to a better understanding of issues affecting the relationship between law and religion, and of shari'ah which goes beyond stereotype. Signed: Dr Mohammed Saeed Bahmanpour, Rev Esme Beswick, Bishop Richard Cheetham (Co-Chair), Bishop Michael Evans, Dr Musharraf Hussain (Chair), Khalil Kazi, Dr Ataullah Siddiqui, Dr Nicholas Wood Presidents of the Christian Muslim Forum More information about the Christian Muslim Forum can be found at

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