The adoption of some aspects of Islamic sharia law in the UK "seems unavoidable", the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
Dr Rowan Williams said there was a place for finding a "constructive accommodation" in areas such as marriage - allowing Muslim women to avoid western divorce proceedings.
Other religions enjoyed such tolerance of their own laws, he pointed out, but stressed that it could never be allowed to take precedence over an individual's rights as a citizen.
He said it would also require a change in perception of what sharia involved beyond the "inhumanity" of extreme punishments and attitudes to women seen in some Islamic states.
Dr Williams told BBC Radio 4's The World At One: "It seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law, so it is not as if we are bringing in an alien and rival system.
"We already have in this country a number of situations in which the internal law of religious communities is recognised by the law of the land as justifying conscientious objections in certain circumstances."
Prime Minister Gordon Brown's spokesman insisted that British law would be based on British values, and Sharia law would be no justification for acting against national law. But he also said concessions could be made in specific instances, such as a relaxation of the law on stamp duty to avoid it being paid twice when Sharia-compliant mortgages were used by Muslims.
Mr Brown's spokesman said: "In relation to Sharia law, there are instances where the Government has made changes - for example, we have changed the regulation around stamp duty to include Sharia-compliant mortgages." They involve two transfers of property, so in theory stamp duty would be payable twice - but is in fact paid only once.
The spokesman went on: "Our general position is that Sharia law cannot be used as a justification for committing breaches of English law, nor should the principles of Sharia law be included in a civil court for resolving contractual disputes.
"If there are specific instances like stamp duty, where changes can be made in a way that's consistent with British law and British values, in a way to accommodate the values of fundamental Muslims, that is something the Government would look at. There is always going to be a debate about this issue."
Excuse me but . . . . . . . . . . . . if there are muslims in this country who are not happy with our laws there is a simple answer. There are 72 Muslim republics in the world they could move there. Why are we thinking of changing our laws for foreigners. I have spent some time abroad and know that they would not change their laws for us.
Story: An arab driver with no insurance, licence or tax on his poorly maintained car crashed into an american. The police were called and the case went to court. Although the evedence was clear, the Arab was in the wrong, the case went against the American for two reasons:-
A: The arab had no money.
B: Had the American not been in Saudi the arab would never have hit the American.
There is a word for this kind of behavior, I thought corruption might fill the bill but it is much more than that. Racism may sort of say something near to the mark. Whatever it is it is rotten and it's the way these people want this country to be.
We should not stand for it. We should make sure our leaders know that we are not prepared to accept other peoples law in our country. Loudly