Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4’s World at One that the UK has to "face up to the fact" that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.
Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.
For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.
He says Muslims should not have to choose between "the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty".
Dr Williams says the argument that "there’s one law for everybody… I think that’s a bit of a danger".
I disagree. The idea that there is one law for everyone, regardless of race, creed, or color IS, in real and practical sense, the essence of social cohesion – much more so than an ethereal concept like patriotism or Britishness.
"There’s a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law."
Dr Williams adds: "What we don’t want either, is I think, a stand-off, where the law squares up to people’s religious consciences."
Ideally that would not happen. Hindsight clearly shows us that western nations would have been better off having thought of this little truism before allowing millions of Muslims to emigrate in.
The law of the land should adapt to the changing face of the society it governs. However, there is a rather distinct line between modifying the law and destroying it simply to accommodate newcomers’ preferences.
This is a line that should not be crossed. Indeed, the DWP should not have crossed it. As it is, the danger comes more from that and other seemingly unimportant precedents as from Rowan Williams’ artless statement.