The leader of the world's Anglicans
branded the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay an
"extraordinary legal anomaly" on Sunday and said it set a
dangerous precedent for dictators around the world.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader
of 77 million Anglicans, also described Islamist extremism as
"appalling" and terrorism as "an insult to God and man."
|GUANTANAMO SETS A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT FOR DICTATORS
The spiritual leader of the world's 77 million-member Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, left, arrives at Malakal airport in southern Sudan Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006 to a reception by singing nuns and local officials. (AP Photo/Abdel Raouf)
"I think what we've got in Guantanamo is an extraordinary
legal anomaly ... creating a new category of custody," Williams
said in an interview with BBC television in Sudan during a
visit there with the United Nations World Food Programme.
"These are people who don't have the sort of legal access
we would probably assume to be important," he said, referring
to the nearly 500 foreigners held at the naval base in Cuba.
"Any message given that any state can just override some of
the basic habeas corpus-type provisions is going to be very
welcome to tyrants elsewhere in the world, now and in the
future," Williams said.
"What, in 10 years time, are people going to be able to say
about a system that tolerates this?"
The Anglican Church has frequently joined human rights
groups is condemning the indefinite detentions and lack of
legal rights for prisoners at the camp.
Only 10 Guantanamo detainees have been formally charged
with a crime and U.N. rights investigators have urged
Washington to close the camp.
Former detainees, lawyers representing inmates and U.N.
human rights investigators have accused the United States of
using torture at Guantanamo, a charge denied by the Pentagon.
INSULT TO GOD AND MAN
Williams said he had "no time for terrorism" and "no brief
for Muslim extremism." "I think it's appalling. I think it's an
insult to God and man," he said.
In a wide-ranging interview, Williams also acknowledged the
Anglican Communion, a grouping of loosely associated churches
across 164 countries, faced the possibility of schism over the
issue of homosexual clergy.
"If there is a rupture, it's going to be a more visible
rupture (than it would be in other Christian churches)," he
said. "(The Anglican Communion) is not just going to settle
down quietly into being a federation."
"My anxiety about it is that if the Communion is broken we
may be left with even less than a federation."
The church has been in anguish over the question of gay
clergy since American Anglicans chose to ordain Gene Robinson
as the church's first openly gay bishop and Canadian Anglicans
approved same-sex marriages.
The moves sparked howls of protests from traditionalists
who said the North American churches were betraying the basic
tenets of Christianity.
African church leaders in particular fear that if
Anglicanism takes a lenient line on homosexuality, its
followers will turn to more conservative Christian churches or
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