James Forsyth

Phil Woolas should not become collateral damage in the Sharia row

Phil Woolas should not become collateral damage in the Sharia row
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The last few days have been disastrous for community cohesion. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s ill-considered remarks have stirred up a visceral reaction and created the erroneous impression that Muslims can not be expected to abide by the law of the land. To add to the tensions, today’s Sun splashes on the ‘Talibrum’—the British-born members of the Taliban fighting against their own country in Afghanistan. So, the timing of Phil Woolas’s comments about the dangers of cousin marriage in a small section of the Muslim community is unfortunate to say the least. But the demands for him to resign are absurd.

Woolas was identifying a problem that is real and did so in measured tones. The Muslim Public Affairs Committee, which is calling on Brown to sack him, is not a body that has a track record of promoting community cohesion to put it mildly. It is disappointing to see Chris Huhne jumping on their bandwagon and criticising Woolas. If any one whom tries to discuss this difficult issue is jumped on, it will just get swept under the carpet and become a bigger and bigger problem.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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