The head of the Anglican communion has said he think it is “unavoidable” that some parts of Muslim Sharia law will be adopted in Britain.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Dr Rowan Williams said that a “constructive accommodation” must be found over issues such as divorce and added that people should not imagine “we know exactly what we mean by Sharia and just associate it with Saudi Arabia.”

However, the Archbishop went on to criticise the practice of Sharia law in some Muslim states, specifically the treatment of women and extreme punishments.

Homosexuality is punishable by death under Sharia and more than hundred of gay men have been put to death in Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

“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,” said Dr Williams.

“There is a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law as we already do with aspects of other kinds of religious law.

“It would be quite wrong to say that we could ever license a system of law for some community which gave people no right of appeal, no way of exercising the rights that are guaranteed to them as citizens in general.

“But there are ways of looking at marital disputes, for example, which provide an alternative to the divorce courts as we understand them.

“In some cultural and religious settings they would seem more appropriate.”