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Archbishop explains his comments on Sharia la -

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LEIGH SALES: The Archbishop of Canterbury has been forced to defend his comments on the sensitive
subject of the place of Sharia law in the United Kingdom. Dr Rowan Williams drew heavy criticism
last week when he said it seemed unavoidable that parts of Islamic law would be adopted in Britain.
After days of silence he admitted his handling of the issue was clumsy, but stopped short of an
apology. Stephanie Kennedy reports from London.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: The spiritual leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans has been shocked by the
angry backlash to his view that elements of Sharia law should be incorporated into British law.
After days of stony silence, addressing the Anglican synod, there was a small act of contrition but
no apology.

DR ROWAN WILLIAMS, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY: But I must of course take responsibility for any
unclarity in either that text or the radio interview and for any misleading choice of words that's
helped to cause distress or misunderstanding.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: The Archbishop admitted his handling of the issue had been clumsy and
misleading, but he did not repent.

DR ROWAN WILLIAMS: We're not talking about parallel jurisdictions, but I tried to make clear that
there could be no blank cheques in this regard, in particular as regards some of the sensitive
questions about the status and liberties of women.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Conservative members of his flock have called for his head.

with what he'd said and feel that it requires much more careful thinking and debate before it can
be assumed that the Church is fully supportive of him on this very contentious matter, that it was
important to indicate that there were some of us who had deep reservations.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Dr Williams' allies have jumped to his defence arguing the controversy is being
used against him by those opposed to his stance on homosexuality.

REV. DR GILES FRASER, INCLUSIVE CHURCH CHAIRMAN: There's one or two people who have been calling
for his resignation but to be absolutely frank, they're very fringe people, they're people who
would stick the knife in whatever he says.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: There was also support from the British Prime Minister. Gordon Brown described
Dr Williams as a man of integrity and he paid tribute to his dedication to public and community
service. But Mr Brown added that religious law should always remain subservient to British law.

Stephanie Kennedy, Lateline.