faiths forum for london 4
Ethics & Morality

Faiths Forum for London conspires for EU Remain vote

 

Faiths Forum for London “empowers religious communities to work together for a better London”. At least that’s what their website says. And they seem to do an awful lot of good works out of pure and honourable motives: providing channels of communication between faith communities; promoting inter-faith engagement; sharing best practice on issues of common concern; and highlighting the positive contribution made to society of all religious groups in London. They have lots of distinguished and venerable Council members and lots of impressive patrons with knighthoods, OBEs and stuff.

On the matter of the European Union, they aren’t unaware of its considerable political clout or its profound political flaws:

Europe has had a hard time recently, in-particular the Eurozone crisis has brought many challenges; the austerity policies to combat the crisis have dominated both European and national elections. The cuts in public spending in Eurozone member states have largely been imposed by the EU. The 2014 Election will also be the first time that European citizens will be able to choose who will hold the most powerful executive position in the EU. The two main European political parties, one of which will most likely to go on and appoint the European Commission President, are Europe’s centre-right and centre-left parties, each having vastly different positions on policies to tackle the Eurozone crisis.

Across the UK, there is an increase in apathy and mistrust of the political establishment and political parties. According to Eurobarometer, a public opinion service of the European Commission, 60% of Europeans “tended not to trust the EU”, compared to the 32% distrust level reported in early 2007 before the onset of the 2008/2009 global financial crisis and the ensuing euro zone debt crisis. In Britain there is evidence of steadily growing disillusionment with 68% of citizens saying they had little confidence in the European Union. All this is reflected in the growth of specifically anti EU and Eurosceptic parties who will seek to gain seats in the May 2014 elections.

It’s all nice and equitable: centre-right and centre-left; Euro-realist and Euro-apocalypse. So you’d think, out of political neutrality and effective networking cumulation, that Faiths Forum for London wouldn’t take a partisan stance on the EU Referendum, but rather foster relations with both Leave and Remain faith leaders, not least because (according to current polls) either outcome is a distinct possibility.

But no, Faiths Forum for London are firmly in the Remain camp, which is fine, for many honourable Christians are (and the foot-stamping elders and ministers on the Mound certainly are). But what isn’t so fine is engaging in collusion and data manipulation in order to present London’s faith leaders as being pro-Remain, when some (or even many) might not be. Consider this letter which they sent to their registered faith leaders (and presumably to their Council members and impressive patrons with their knighthoods and OBEs and stuff), which was accompanied by a request for them to append their names.

Faith is about integration and building bridges, not about isolation and erecting barriers.

As leaders and senior figures of faith communities, we urge our co-religionists and others to think about the implications of a leave vote for the things about which we are most passionate.

The past seventy years have been the longest period of peace in Europe’s history. Institutions that enable us to work together and understand both our differences and what we share in common contribute to our increased security and sense of collective endeavour.

What’s more, so many of the challenges we face today can only be addressed in a European, and indeed a global, context: combatting poverty in the developing world, confronting climate change and providing the stability that is essential to tackling the current migration crisis.

We hope that when voting on June 23, people will reflect on whether undermining the international institutions charged with delivering these goals could conceivably contribute to a fairer, cleaner and safer world.

ends

Nothing wrong with that, you might say (except perhaps for the omission of NATO in securing peace in Europe, but we’ll let that go). But here is the email which accompanied the letter:

Hi all,

I received this email yesterday, and have been requested to circulate to faith leaders.

They are coordinating a letter from religious and belief leaders pressing people to think very carefully before voting to leave the European Union. It reiterates the point so eloquently made in a different context by Pope Francis that faith should be about building bridges not erecting barriers.

It says that so many of the issues about which people of faith care so passionately – from alleviating poverty to tackling climate change – depend on strong international institutions. It stops short of formally endorsing the remain campaign so as to avoid being overtly political. However, it would be seen as support from the signatories for Britain to remain in the EU, which is how we would present it.

I do not know what your personal views are on the referendum, but if you think you might be willing to put your name to such a letter in a personal capacity, then please let me know and we will add your name to the letter.
I need to send names across later this afternoon so appreicate (sic) a prompt response.

Letter attached.

Kind regards,

Mustafa Field

The third paragraph is fundamentally dishonest. The phrase “which is how we would present it” is unethical. Mustafa Field is basically saying to London’s faith leaders: “sign it, and we will interpret it subsequently and convey the pre-ordained impression.”

One expects honesty, integrity and transparency from the Faiths Forum for London. London’s faith leaders would certainly expect it from the organisation which purports to represent them to London’s public authorities, NGOs and the media. This collusion and covert manipulation falls short on all counts. How can we now know whether any press releases issued by Faiths Forum for London on any important matters of public policy – equality, diversity, policing, education, social care – are not similarly a product of collusion and political manipulation?

  • Anton

    Mustafa Seat in Parliament?

  • len

    People can place their faith in anything. People placed their faith in the ‘unsinkable ‘Titanic’… The God of the bible has established that Faith placed in Him (alone) will be ‘as a House built on solid Rock’ and will not be shaken in the coming storms.

  • bluedog

    Devilishly tricky, Your Grace. Your communicant suggests that Mustafa Field’s people talk to Sadiq Khan’s people. As a London initiative this sort of press release should be cleared at the highest level. Let’s face it, if London is going to do taqqiya, we want it done properly.

  • The Explorer

    Sign and date this cheque, and we will fill in the amount.

  • ‘Faiths Forum for London’? Poor London! I’m glad I live 200 miles away, but no doubt such abominations will catch up with me eventually.
    Is FFFL a registered charity? If so, then I think you will find that it is not allowed to campaign on political issues, which probably explains its machiavellian approach.

  • David

    If this little vignette is representative of the rest of their output, it seems to me that “Faiths Forum for London” is in the business or mind control and spin, and little bothered by tiresome matters such as truth, veracity and integrity. If so it’s leaders will flourish in the present murky waters of moral relativism, confusion and contortions of the plain truth, not to mention outright lies – why indeed, the occupiers of Downing Street’s two famous houses will welcome them with open arms as fellow twisters, duckers and dodgers !
    By all means conduct civil social dialogue with those of other faiths, but let us not forget that their respect is won not by diluting our faith, but on the contrary by stoutly defending those words of Jesus, ” I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to The Father except through me”.

  • Andym

    As soon as they mention “tackling climate change” I know they are lost souls….!

  • Nothing to discuss, Your Grace, the facts have been settled and await implementation. Do endorse the letter by this afternoon, as time is ticking, and kindly move along with your duties which, lest it has slipped your ancient mind again, consist of and are strictly limited to dismantling barriers and building bridges. If you please, Your Grace.

    Unlike your unauthorized setup here, a veritable chaotic zoo seemingly run by its pedestrian inmates, the FFFL engages the best kinds people with impressive letters before and after their names and operates scientifically and according to traditional Marxist principles of community commissariats on behalf of the authorized authorities. As we make clear in our manifesto on
    European Parliamentary elections through the FFFL (Feofle’s Front for Faith, London), one of our obedient cell organizations:

    “Research has shown that because faith groups are located within the communities they serve, they are able to overcome many of the barriers to better engagement and trust which exist in relation to political parties.” (www.faithsforum4london.org/european-parliament)

    Research has shown, Your Grace; govern yourself in accordance. I remain,

    Yours Troo-troo-trooly,

    Sir Lord Baronet Avi Barzel

    Roaming Plenipotentiary and
    Grand Oompapah of the Global Alliance for Correct and Nice Thoughts and Good and Proper Deeds

    • David

      Impressive title there, Avi, Me Lord !
      Try not to get to accustomed to it !

      • Fear not; I’m nothing but a humble servant of Inevitable Progress, David. The titles are merely shiny baubles to impress the unenlightened and to aid in the furtherance of the global mission. That’s betwixt you and me, of course.

        • David

          Ssh ! Mum’s the word.
          Your secret is safe with me, Avi m’ lad !

    • carl jacobs

      I see the Zionist Occupation Gov’t is expanding its reach. But this seems a demotion from your previous responsibilities. Did that unfortunate incident with the Weather Control Device finally catch up with you?

      • It’s all about diversifying investments, Carl. These are lean times and a fellow can’t worry about pride, you know. Why, the other day I was at Wal-Mart bying a pair of flip-flops and a geometry set and was spotted, eventhough I was wearing a latex Shylock mask! Upon closer examination of the mask, it turns out the modelling artist formed it after my face! Fecking antisemite!

        And don’t get me started on the weather machine piece of …. and that climate thing again. Yes, I admit it. I lost the heat. The planet should be overheating now, Manhattan waist deep in water and dead polar bears. Al Gore and Obama are pissed at me, leaving some very nasty messages. I could’ve sworn I left the heat in the troposphere, but it’s nowhere to be found. Wife thinks I left the trunk door on my broomstick unlocked and the thinh plopped right into the ocean and sank like a stone (because that’s actually what heat does) all the way to the Marianas Trench.

        And how’s your day been?

        • carl jacobs

          I spent the whole day trying to get a simulator to turn an antenna gain pattern upside down. I eventually decided it couldn’t be done in the simulator, and made an inverted gain pattern instead. It’s terrifically frustrating to change azimuth and elevation in a logical and predictable manner only to see the rotation not produce the right gains in the right places.

          Not quite the same as flooding NYC but … then I’m not as important. As demonstrated by the continued absence of my three years of back pay! But I’m not bitter. Much.

          • Hmm. You shouldn’t be modeling from a low-profile unidirectional antenna with a back reflector that’s too close to the slot. What you’ll get if you do that is a nasty stripline feed that will get the parallel-plate modes all excited for nothing. Tell me you’re not trying to do this in a two dimensional Cartesian plot!

            I think you’re getting to old for tbis shlep work and I trust my consultation satifies our account?

          • carl jacobs

            I trust my consultation satifies our account?

            No, it does not!

            1. I’ve already solved the problem.
            2. I already have a question submitted to the makers of the simulator.
            3. None of that has anything to do with my now solved problem.
            4. You don’t seriously expect me to agree that your post is worth three years of back pay, do you?

            And no. Not cartesian. I’m using a WGS-84 model … plus terrain data.

          • Yes, I know. Just got your query. Confused everyone on the shop floor. We own Cisco Systems too, btw.

            So, you want us to tinker with our software when all you have to do is mount your gizmo straight up in a vertical “upside down” and hope to get the same gain pattern? Dare one even ask why? True freespace vertical polarization by Carl the Sparky? Any idea how much it will cost for us to program a sim patch that you and only you will use on your outdated and clearly pirated application? Why don’t you tinker around in the analog, Mr Hotshot, and hows about you tell us about any pattern changes, losses or gains? This way I can make a better case on your sorry behalf.

          • carl jacobs
          • HAHAHAHAHA!

    • Samuel

      Dude

      Well see you at Boodle’s or the Carlton , best gentleman’s clubs in London ( note in North America that means “country club” , I think i.e. not a strip club ) .

      But Her Majesty’s Canadian Ambassador to Ireland should be made Canadian PM: shoots dead a terrorist in your parliament when he was sergeant at arms and the other day wrestled an Irish Republican to the ground for shouting obscenities at a memorial service. My kind of guy.

      Ps : I want rid of Netanyahu : Ayelet Shaked / Karin Elharar as PM /deputy PM….

  • carl jacobs

    I don’t tend to trust “interfaith groups” because they naturally emphasize the exercise of faith over the object of faith. This is a man-centered perspective that evaluates the idea of religion principally in immanent utilitarian terms – “What you believe doesn’t matter. How it shapes your character does matter.” Since this kind of man-centered self-worship is at the heart of liberal religion, I tend to see these organizations as manifestations of liberal religion. I wouldn’t pay much attention to anything they say.

    • David

      Quite agree !

    • CliveM

      I distrust anything with rainbow colours in its logo……

      • Uncle Brian

        … And the circle of twelve stars would suggest that the organization is not likely to give much of a hearing to the Leavers.

        • CliveM

          I think the 12 stars are an addition.

          • Uncle Brian

            Ah. I got taken in by His Grace’s artistic licence. Well, well. I’ll be more careful next time.

      • Inspector General

        The Inspector has visited their site, Clive, and it looks like the rainbow wreath depicts their yearning for inclusiveness. Rather unfortunate that Christian participants in this self appointed group feel the need to promote buggery, paedophilia and all the diseases attached to the practices for that purpose…

        • CliveM

          Actually I was thinking more along the lines of a vapid, happy clappy, niceness. Trite and meaningless. Sort of like living Care Bears!

          • Inspector General

            If you think there is good in everyone, Clive, you haven’t met everyone…

          • CliveM

            Not what I was saying…… :0(

          • Anton

            Do you think there is good in anyone?

          • Old Nick

            All have sinned and all have fallen short of the glory of God.

          • Inspector General

            Strange question

    • Royinsouthwest

      While I share your suspicions how faith shapes character, or doesn’t shape it, certainly does matter.

  • Dreadnaught

    What is seen here is bunch of no account egoists, puffed up with their own sense of self importance and piety. Morons who only have in common, a willingness to accept belief that they hold the map of the true path to a supernatural destination of thir personal choice. This apparently gives their unelected selves the right to cobble together a political platform, [no doubt supported by the unsuspecting tax payer funding somewhere along the line] to set their political opinions as somehow more valid or influential because they have a ‘Faith’.

    The fact that within their ranks are people whose faith family are the direct cause of the murder and mayhem currently plaguing the EU, its borders and many countries through out the world. Those Muslim who will happily slaughter any not of their own kind and not subscribing to a particular interpretation of Islamic authority. It doesn’t seem to interest them in uniting against this as a common cause. There is of course no chance here of hearing the ‘M’ word and the dibious benefits of their presence in the EU from these head in the clouds clods.

    They will never accept that their individually held faiths afford them no more legitimacy to influence a democratic plebicite than the religious uniforms they adopt, make them more holy or authoritative than any others of their ad-hoc group of ‘believers’ with whom on any other issue, they are theologically and terminally opposed.

    Let them take their Cuddly Interfaith endeavours to Mosul, Mogadishu or Mecca and see what kind of a reception they get there if they really want to get involved in interfaith dialogue or politics: or somewhere where it is really needed and likely to be appreciated by the rest of humanity.

    • David

      An excellent short piece there from The Boris. Rationality is on our side but will “Project Fear” rule ? God help us if it does !

    • IrishNeanderthal

      About 100 years ago, Mormons were starting to appear in Britain. G.K.Chesterton remarked on this in a collection of essays entitled The Uses of Diversity (1920). Extract follows:

      Our real error in such a case is that we do not know or care about the creed itself, from which a people’s customs, good or bad, will necessarily flow. We talk much about “respecting” this or that person’s religion; but the way to respect a religion is to treat it as a religion: to ask what are its tenets and what are their consequences. But modern tolerance is deafer than intolerance. The old religious authorities, at least, defined a heresy before they condemned it, and read a book before they burned it. But we are always saying to a Mormon or a Moslem — “Never mind about your religion, come to my arms.” To which he naturally replies — “But I do mind about my religion, and I advise you to mind your eye.”

      • David

        You’ve encapsulated the perils of contemporary relativism, an approach to life which leaves the west disarmed in the face of those who are exceeding well “armed”, both theologically and culturally, even if their armaments are distinctly inferior to our own. Indeed the disarmed “liberal” humanist westerner, will be no match for the crudely armed savage. But such danger is simply not recognised by the naive relativist “liberal”. The “ill educated” working class of the laughingly termed “populist” movements recognise these dangers, because unlike the “educated” middle class liberal they have the benefit of being closer to material and metaphysical realities. The next few decades will be exceeding “interesting” in many ways.

  • sarky

    This lot are in for a big shock when they wake up on the 24th and realise that the country doesn’t begin and end in London.

  • Inspector General

    As we don’t seem to have any OT prophets around, it falls to the Inspector to curse them in the name of the Lord…

    Interestingly, Jesus had nothing to do with other faiths, and did not spend his remaining time on earth after the resurrection urging Peter to get pally with Baal’s followers and set up a steering committee to decide on whether Judea would be better off in or out of the Roman Empire…

    • David

      Jesus did talk to the Samaritan, “woman at the well”, but so as to preach the (Christian) gospel.

      • Inspector General

        One understands the Samaritans were another branch of Judaism…which of course would tie in with Christ’s message to the Jews.

        • David

          Yes, so still within the Judaeo-Christian family of faith.

        • dannybhoy

          They were the Israelite remnants who didn’t get carted off to Babylon, stayed behind and intermarried with the locals. They regarded themselves as Jews but those who returned from exile didn’t..

      • Royinsouthwest

        He didn’t simply preach at her but started a conversation with her first. Our Grace covered this topic a few days ago in his posting WELBY: WITNESS GENTLY FOR JESUS.

    • chiefofsinners

      Jesus had nothing and everything to do with other faiths. His life, death and message were for them and to them. “No one comes to the Father except by me”. That’s what Jesus understood by interfaith dialogue.

  • chiefofsinners

    This organisation does not publish accounts on its website or give any indication of its funding sources. Perhaps a representative could reassure us that they do not receive any funds from the EU?

  • Royinsouthwest

    Is “Mustafa Field” a misprint? Surely this is about Mrs Proudie’s old friend, Mustafa Fatwa?

  • Richard Hill

    The concept of inter-faith bothers me, because it serves to legitimise the participants. From Egypt’s General Sisi down, people recognise that Islam needs reform. He told assembled mufti that they had to do it. AFIK there has been no action. A participant in an inter-faith discussion who maintains that God’s Word is that “Polytheists should be killed where-ever you find them”. “It is permitted that a man can beat his wife” and similar cannot be sincere. He/she should publicly announce that they do not agree that these statements are God’s Word, or should not be admitted to the discussion.

  • dannybhoy

    “It says that so many of the issues about which people of faith care so passionately – from alleviating poverty to tackling climate change – depend on strong international institutions.”
    Oh for Goodness Sakes!
    Pink and fluffy, warm and fuzzy, like a religious marshmallow..