34. Benefit of the Doubt
As the popular saying goes, if you don't want to start a fight there are two subjects to avoid in conversation, politics and religion.
That being the case, the Archbishop of Canterbury is probably going to get in trouble every time he opens his mouth. It’s his job to talk about religion, and as the leader of a worldwide movement numbering 80 million people there's not a small amount of political relevance to his position.
Inflammatory subject matter notwithstanding, it is still quite interesting to see the emotional levels of reaction over the last few days to an academic lecture.
Possibly one of the main reasons for all of this is the fact that the very word 'Sharia' is now a very emotive word in itself. For many it equates directly with extreme forms of punishments and repressive regimes. When a word or concept takes on a particular form in the public popular consciousness, it makes it difficult to have a rational debate about the subject. I'm no expert on the matter so I had a quick look at this page on the BBC website to get a quick overview.
I also took a quick look at this radio interview he did on the day of his lecture.
Regardless of what one believes, my first reaction to this story was to consider which of two scenarios was likely to be underway...
Personally (and this is just my personal opinion), I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.
By Peter Muriuki