Fuad Nahdi2
Church of England

General Synod to be addressed by Muslim extremist …NOT

 

It is troubling that the first non-Christian to address the Church of England synod can be linked to extreme Islamist networks. By inviting Fuad Nahdi, the Church is lending credence to the notion that only radical Islamism can represent British Islam. What hope, then, for those genuine moderates within Britain’s Muslim community?

So writes Sam Westrop for the Gatestone Institute, in a rather smeary piece entitled ‘The Church of England Chooses Extremist Islam‘, in which he twists together a few frayed threads of tenuous association to weave a desperate anti-Anglican fiction of “Church conspires with Islamists just like it always has” kind of narrative. You know, the sort where the sapless Church of England caves in to corruption, compromises with iniquity, dances with demons and cavorts with the Devil. The social objective is a brave new world of undiscerning inclusion; the method is imaginative interfaith dialogue where Christian orthodoxy is safely caged away in episcopal notions of diligence and adequacy. This is sludge-dredging masquerading as theo-political scholarship, all swallowed hook, line and sinker by Donna Rachel Edmunds for the frenzied Breitbart UK, without so much a theological reflection or rational rumination. As sure as tweet follows blog, it is now doing the rounds in email boxes and social media feeds around the world to the manifest glee of the apocalyptic fellowship of the teleological clash of civilisations.

If those “counter-extremism campaigners” (which?) who have “expressed disappointment” (how?) had bothered to do their homework instead of treating this sort of alarmist bilge as gospel, they would have discovered that Fuad Nahdi is not an “activist” for anything other than peaceful subsistence and liberal accommodation. He cultivates a landscape of understanding and sharing; not a satanic design of globalised conflict. To say that he has “connections with extremist groups” without clarifying the precise nature of those connections is to convey a misleading sense that Synod has invited a heinous Islamist among them to propagandise and lecture about Mohammed’s religious moderation, thereby abdicating the Church’s responsibility for the care and cure of souls. This is stagnant preaching to a lifeless congregation.

Setting aside the fact that Jesus had “connections” with prostitutes, tax collectors, religious zealots and one or two occupying Romans; and that British prime ministers and foreign secretaries have routinely made “connections” with a few murderous autocrats and “extremist groups” in their time; and that the Supreme Governor of the Church of England herself has shaken hands with Martin McGuinness, dined with dictators and bestowed honours upon nihilist thugs like Nicolae Ceausescu and Robert Mugabe inter alia, it is clear that if we are to coexist with Muslims at home and understand the religious inspiration of extremism at home and abroad, we must apprehend and challenge extremist ideology from within. It is not for the Church of England to define the tenets of ‘moderate’ Islam: it is for Muslim scholars to formulate their own 95 Theses and pin them to the principal gateway to Mecca.

Fuad Nahdi is an academic ally in this process of reformation: his mould-breaking Radical Middle Way (RMW) does indeed have “a long history of working with activists and groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood” (which is, as Westrop observes, “at heart, a terrorist organization”) because “working with” includes notions of historical correction, religious enlightenment and diplomatic struggle. Was Senator George Mitchell “working with” the IRA in the late 1990s? Was the IRA not “at heart, a terrorist organization”? Was this “working with” not morally justifiable in pursuit of the Good Friday Agreement that led to lasting peace?

The problem with a phrase like “working with” in the context of terrorism is that it denotes complicity and conveys a sense of collaboration. That was plainly Westrop’s intention here: to tarnish Fuad Nahdi by association, trawling the internet to bolster a prejudice. Of course, you can list organisations like the Federation of Student Islamic Societies and the Young Muslim Organization – groups “heavily influenced by the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group… which is committed to establishing Islamic rule under sharia law”. But Fuad Nahdi has also been working with Toby Howarth, recently appointed Bishop of Bradford.

How troubling is that?

To share a platform with certain unsavoury persons is, of course, to invite criticism. But the Queen routinely dines with them. And so did Jesus. Didn’t Tony Blair shake hands and dine with Colonel Gaddafi? Didn’t Donald Rumsfeld do the same with Saddam Hussein? Didn’t Margaret Thatcher natter away with Augusto Pinochet? Didn’t the Queen lavishly entertain President Bashar al-Assad? Isn’t all this just realpolitik?

It must be observed that, by sharing a platform with a bunch of reprobate Anglican kuffar, Fuad Nahdi risks damaging his own academic reputation and religious standing among some of those with whom he aspires to work. You can take the view that interfaith dialogue has its limits (or, as Westrop appears to suggest, that it shouldn’t happen at all), but in the pursuit of peace and reconciliation such risks have to be taken. You might abhor the thought of breakfasting with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, but more than a few people (including many Christians) felt exactly the same way about the prospect of dining with Ian Paisley. In the end, McGuinness and Paisley were not only power-sharing in government, they were “working with” each other and chuckling along the way. It is axiomatic in politics that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter: and so, in religion, one man’s bigot is another man’s prophet.

That is not to say that Fuad Nahdi is a prophet (indeed, the notion would offend: for him, Mohammed was the last; the ‘Seal’). But the Archbishop of Canterbury’s commitment to reconciliation in some of the most difficult places in the Anglican Communion will inevitably involve conversations and engagement with some very dodgy and even dangerous people. He has met one or two, and stared down the barrel of a gun. You don’t get to choose with whom you speak when negotiating for peace or advocating the rights of persecuted minorities.

But Fuad Nahdi is neither dodgy nor dangerous. If your read Westrop’s piece (or the mis/disinformation shamelessly regurgitated on Breitbart UK) not only is there no reasoned exposition of what they mean by “working with”, but paragraph after paragraph is replete with smeary innuendo. Short of hard facts (and perhaps mindful of the defamatory tort of libel), we read that “counter-terrorism expert Shiraz Maher” (that’s impressive) “revealed that RMW appeared to be supporting a campaign run by the global Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir”. Only appeared to be supporting? And then comes the associational list of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s sharia objectives – reeled off as though Fuad Nahdi himself supports armed jihad, condones the killing of Jewish women, children and elderly, and agrees that human rights are the “trumpets of the Kuffar”.

While we’re talking about filling in the gaps, you’ll read other names who, severally, support Hamas; advocate for the right of men to beat their wives; promote fundamentalist Islam; or spoke at some dinner or other in 2001 attended by an al-Qaeda operative.

Oh, and we’re told that Nahdi published a youth magazine back in 1992 which “promoted Jamaat-e-Islami ideology” (we’re not told what, precisely), and that one of his colleagues, Fareena Alam, became “involved with RMW while simultaneously working for Press TV, the Iranian regime’s propaganda outlet” (we’re not told exactly how or to what extent she was “involved”).

If you really want to excavate the annals of tenuous past associations or exhume the bones of misspent youth, it’s worth googling the pictures of Ed Balls dressed as a Nazi at Oxford discovering what Nahdi told the Guardian back in 2001 (the year when, according to Westrop, he was dining with al-Qaeda). In a piece entitled ‘If you hate the West, emigrate to a Muslim country‘, he heaps praise upon Hamza Yusuf, who was then deemed to be the West’s most influential Islamic scholar (to the extent of advising the White House). Nahdi says:

He confronts what it is to be young, British and Muslim. He shows there is life beyond beards, scarves and halal meat. He inspires confidence that you can build Islam in the west from all the local ingredients. You do not have to include political or theological burdens from traditional parts of the Muslim world.

What’s that you say? That’s not Fuad Nahdi’s personal belief? It just him talking about an eminently enlightened Muslim scholar who has addressed the House of Lords? It is Nahdi praising an imam who has upset many Muslim radicals? It is Nahdi agreeing with a charismatic and popular speaker who openly declares his belief that Islam is in a mess?

But this about condemnation and defamation by association, isn’t it? If Westrop is so keen to smear Fuad Nahdi by banding him together with those who generate violence, intolerance and hatred 10 or 20 years ago, why is there no contemporary parity of acknowledgment for his conflicting deference to and respect for the likes of Hamza Yusuf? Why is there no reference to his consistent and unequivocal condemnation of Islamic extremism from Nuneaton to Nairobi?

Or is that inconvenient to the narrative?

What we do get is an oblique reference to the fact that way back in 1997 Nahdi wrote an obituary for the Guardian of an Islamic scholar, Sayed Mutawalli ad-Darsh, who was once a contributor to Nahdi’s publication. We read: “Nahdi described ad-Darsh as ‘respectable, approachable and sensitive’ — he was the peoples’ Imam.” And then we are told: “The ‘people’s Imam’, however, called for the killing of homosexuals and adulterers, and expressed justification for suicide bombings. He also denied that there was such a thing as rape within marriage, because, he ruled, a wife may not refuse her husband sex.”

Setting aside the absence of a chronology and any appreciation of cultural-moral diversity (marital rape is a relatively recent legal development even in the enlightened UK), obituaries, like funeral orations, tend to be hagiographical: one does not usually speak ill of the dead, unless you’re a Socialist and the deceased was named Thatcher. But, again, it is muck-raking from almost 20 years ago, and most thoughtful people move on in their spiritual walk, sometimes with shame, and often with regret. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and friendships mourned can even induce Protestants to attend a Requiem Mass. There is simply no appreciation or understanding at all that anything Fuad Nahdi might have done, said or believed decades ago is what Fuad Nahdi might do, say or believe now.

But even if there were any substance to Westrop’s allegations, why should it stop the Church of England from engagement? Politicians in Northern Ireland might have had genuine and morally justifiable reasons to abstain from engagement with certain organisations and certain people. But the Church’s vocation is to talk and listen to all, even in the most difficult circumstances which others may find utterly unacceptable. Befriending sinners is our business – it is our mission. The Church needs to recognise this reality and pray for all those involved. Making the bubble reputation a preeminent consideration risks the collapse of dialogue and the failure of reconciliation. Our ministry has to be nuanced if it has to have any real impact in the complexities of the violence convulsing our world.

So, to talk of the Church of England as having invited a speaker “with extremist connections” is not helpful to the mission at hand, especially when those connections are somewhat airy. But it is not particularly surprising when it comes from missiological ignorance born of pastoral prejudice. Anyone who refers to the “interfaith dialogue industry” with disdain clearly has no understanding of Christian mission, no grasp of applied theology and no patience for political diplomacy. Interfaith dialogue is not an industry; it is intrinsic to peaceful coexistence and inseparable from the notion of loving one’s neighbour. If we do not or cannot talk to people of other faiths and beliefs in their own languages, using their own cultural idioms, respecting their idiosyncrasies and understanding their sensitivities, how do we begin to inculturate or transform?

“By inviting Fuad Nahdi, the Church is lending credence to the notion that only radical Islamism can represent British Islam,” Westrop insists. And he appropriates one Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hussaini to support his view of Anglican “collusion”, “double discourse” and “hypocrisy”; of “showcasing” a “Lambeth Palace-sponsored political spectacle” which is “deliberately legitimizing extremist ideology”. The allegation is essentially that of turning a blind eye “to the suffering of those non-white and non-Western Christian people who have so badly been let down by the liberal Western Church of England”.

Funny how Sheikh Mohammed is described as an “interfaith advocate”, without Westrop deriding the task or pooh-poohing the vocation. Perhaps it’s only Anglican interfaith dialogue that is an “industry”?

  • Martin

    So what is the purpose of his addressing the synod? Indeed, what is the purpose of interfaith dialogue or even ecumenism? If your doctrine is correct, if it is what the Bible teaches, what have you to gain from talking to those whose understanding is in error? Other, of course, than to demonstrate that they are in error to them and others.

    • William Lewis

      “Other, of course, than to demonstrate that they are in error to them and others.”

      That’s quite a good reason.

      • Martin

        William

        But only if there is a debate.

        • William Lewis

          True

  • michaelkx

    the only “interfaith” this man would have is to IMPOSE his ideology on all mankind, by any means.

    • sarky

      Pots and kettles.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        You tinker you…

      • michaelkx

        when did you last hear of a Christian saying to Muslim convert or I will shoot, bomb, or make you pay a tax to live in a Christian area?

        • sarky

          And the crusades?……

          • CliveM

            And their was I worried you wouldn’t be able to come up with a contemporary example.

  • William Lewis

    Talking is always important, even with extremists, but I am opposed to some of the directions taken by the CoE hierarchy w.r.t. dealing with Islam and Islamism in this country. Lambeth Palace’s previous incumbent’s assertion of the inevitability of Sharia law springs to mind. Of course moderate Islam (a somewhat nebulous concept) needs to put its own house in order and be held to account for the radicalisation done in its name, but I fail to see how talking to less moderate muslims affects this (even if that is not the case here). Yielding to them is another matter though.

    • dannybhoy

      I suspect -although I may be wrong- that moderate Islam in Europe is a temporary state of affairs until the numbers are sufficient for the moderates to be replaced by the devout, ready to avenge themselves on the Infidels…

      • William Lewis

        I suspect that you are right and, in any case, I don’t want to be in a position where we find out one way or another.

        • dannybhoy

          Me neither.

  • DrCrackles

    There is no purpose in this dialogue. Have any of the dialogues through history shown any fruit? I am sure that Muslims view our participation as weakness or that we are being brought to their superior understanding.

    The practice of taqqiya and the illusion of friendship, creates misunderstanding, as well as the fact that Islam has well developed views on Jesus, Mary and the prophets. So, it is possible for a discussion where both parties can talk and agree, but the understanding of the words used is completely different.

  • Broadwood

    I understand Cranmer’s commendable instinct to extend the olive branch
    in this way. But in too much of the Church’s engagement with Islam
    there is a fatal confusion between extremism and orthodoxy, for example
    the Muslim prayers permitted in the National Cathedral in DC on Friday,
    which would have been perceived very differently by the guests to the
    organisers’ intentions.
    Mark Durie, an Anglican minister of huge experience in this area,
    has penned many insightful books and articles on this difference of
    perception and its tragic consequences:
    A Dozen Bad Ideas for the 21st Century
    ‘Three Choices’ and the bitter harvest of denial: How dissimulation about
    Islam is fuelling genocide in the Middle East

    We need to be ‘wise as serpents’ as well as ‘innocent as doves’. The stakes could not be higher. Samuel Westrop is quite right to pose some tough questions here.

    • Coniston

      Mark Durie’s book “The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom” is an excellent book.

  • Busy Mum

    If the Church OF England thinks it has anything to learn from those who deny that Jesus is THE way, it is clearly not THE church IN England.

  • Jack suspects the Synod might have world peace and interreligious harmony in mind. Islam contains venomous attacks on the divinity of Christ and on Christian doctrine but we have to live in the world with this false religion and, with God’s help, attempt to convert its followers. We also have to consider the fate of those living in Muslim countries.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      How about just a smidgeon of ‘Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition?’

      • Ah, no doubt women at Synod will arm the men with stale scones to throw.
        Speaking of which, now the “stained glass ceiling” has been shattered, will you be allowing your name to go forward?

        • carl jacobs

          Jack

          So now you are threatening people with British food? I thought you rejected the employment of WMD as a violation of Just War Doctrine.

          • Desperate measures, Carl. JWD doesn’t completely rule out WMD. Provided the cause is just and all factors are taken into account, a prudential judgement can be made.

            “The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.”

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            Even I would say that some things are beyond the pale.

          • “Beyond the pale”!!!!!
            (Doing a Sarky)

            Jack is impressed with your use of such a fine, traditional expression. Irish origins, you know? And it conjures up such rich imagery.

            The full-scale use of stale scones is acceptable in these special circumstances.

  • carl jacobs

    Perhaps it’s only Anglican interfaith dialogue that is an “industry”?

    So perhaps there is more credibility in this question than our host would like to admit. The Church of England is doctrinally confused, riven with conflict, and declining. It is a terrible candidate for ‘interfaith dialogue’ because it must approach the discussion from a position of weakness. It therefore presents an image of appeasement and not strength. All this talk of ‘mutual understanding’ gets translated into “Let’s make friends before they kill us.”

    Islam is an alien ideology in the West and must be contained. If there is such a thing as an “Islam made safe for Western consumption ” I have never seen it. And I do not trust the protestations of Islamists when Islam is in the minority. Islam must be placed in a box and kept in that box It is acceptable in the West only to the extent that it is kept impotent and irrelevant. You don’t re-enforce that outlook by sending a weak vacillating church to be its dialogue partner.

    • Dreadnaught

      Giving a corrosive alien ideology a platform of respectability is akin to injecting a cancer victim with morphine while ignoring nature of cancer.

      • sarky

        Probably how the leaders of china feel about christianity.

        • Busy Mum

          Has it ever occurred to you that, as an atheist living in a Christian country, you enjoy far greater freedom than a Christian living in atheist country?

          • sarky

            Surely you are a christian living in an atheist country? The uk ceased to be christian years ago.

          • Busy Mum

            Oh, I must have missed the Queen publicly renouncing her coronation oath then. I know I am a busy mum but I do try and keep up with the headline news.

          • sarky

            The queens oath is irrelevant, this is not a christian country!!!

          • Busy Mum

            It is because Parliament and the Queen have discarded that oath, that the country has become non-Christian in its behaviour.
            In many ways it would have been better had the Queen publicly renounced the oath, or at least denounced Parliament for failing to help her uphold it, as she specifically requested when she came to the throne. We would have known exactly where we stood then and it would have been a fair fight. .

          • DanJ0

            We’re citizens in a liberal democracy, that is why we enjoy our freedoms. I think it’s worth noting that despite the State having an established church we have fault-free divorce, abortion defences, and same-sex marriage on the statute books. We also have a large number of Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh citizens in addition to the many millions of no religious inclination at all. A Christian country? Hardly. We’re a post-Christian country, and enjoying the fact of it.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Enjoying it? ENJOYING IT? Dear DanJ0…does a turkey enjoy Christmas? I think not…

          • DanJ0

            Compare and contrast our daily experiences with those of (say) Syria. Hope that helps focus the mind.

          • Phil R

            “We’re citizens in a liberal democracy”

            What were the numbers that signed the petitions in favour and against SSM?

            10 to 1 against SSM if I remember correctly.

            Also was SSM in any manifesto?

            No

            “Liberal democracy”? Yeah right

          • DanJ0

            It’s a representative democracy, of course. I can explain further if you’re unsure what that means.

          • Phil R

            Representative of who.

            Note you did not respond to the main point which is whether we really are an Atheist Country when things get tough

          • DanJ0

            It looks like I do need to explain what a representative democracy means. It’s primarily about form. I despair sometimes at the ignorance lots of people have about how our political system and constitution works.

            Your main point? I’m not particularly interested in following your tangent, not least because you’ve capitalised Atheist and you talk about Atheist ‘belief’. Moreover, you’re stretching what it means to be Christian to the point of nonsense.

            I said the country is post Christian and filled with people of no religious inclination. In that sense, many of them are a-theistic in its weakest sense. I doubt most think about metaphysics at all. The younger generation barely even recognise core biblical stories.

          • Phil R

            You and Sarky have one thing in common at least, a ego the size of a planet.

            Just for the record.

            A Christian does not need to know all the Bible stories. A Christian does not even need to got to Church. A Christian needs to believe.

            It does not matter whether you believe all your life or 1 second before you die.

            All the Atheists who I have read about who, after being contemptuous of Christianity all their life but at some stage of their life embraced it, seem to agree on one thing. They were not persuaded by logical argument. One day they state that they “just knew”.

            There is no test, there is no body of knowledge that you need to know. There is nothing that you even need to do or have done to you by the Church.

            Just believe. Not 50% or 80% but with all your heart.

            I don’t think that British people have lost faith in God, they have mostly lost faith in the Church.

            A few years ago it was the talk of intellectuals that as the world understands more about the place we live in, people will lose their faith in God and accept that their faith cannot be proved so what they believe is false.

            It has not worked out that way. The world is actually getting more religious.

            BTW
            ” I despair sometimes at the ignorance lots of people have about how our political system and constitution works.”

            I despair that anyone still thinks that the Government we have in this country still reflects the wishes of the people they claim to serve.

          • sarky

            Phil, if having a different worldview and sticking to your guns are what constitutes a planet sized ego, then I’m guilty as charged.
            your post doesnt make sense to me. If you don’t know the bible stories, go to church, or know a body of knowledge, then how can you believe? What is that belief based on? Im not going to belive jesus died for me without a reference point to base that belief on. Not one person without a prior knowledge of the bible ever woke up believing in it, did they?
            I agree, people in this country havent lost faith in god, they never believed in the first place. The reference points, as DanJo rightly said, are not there anymore. Kids dont know about god and the bible and the evidence shows that,despite what you say, adults are unlikely to come to faith in later life.

          • Phil R

            That is precisely my point. You do not weigh up the evidence and then decide. You never will decide that was 16

            You have to know God. Some will need to study the Bible and slowly get to know God and some will just know. Jesus describes it as coming to him like a child. Not child like, but recognising love and accepting this love like a child.

            I think you are quite right by the way. Being a Christian must be incomprehensible and completely illogical to anyone who isn’t.

            I can tell you the precise point in time when I knew. I can tell you what I was doing and where I was. I was 16 we were a bored ground of lads who found a street preacher on a deserted part of the sea front of my home. We teased him for a bit then when he would not shut up we roughed him up quite a bit. Even though we had hurt him he still preached at us and gave us each a tract. For some reason I kept mine.

            Later that day, I was still out with the lads. I had not even read any of the paper he gave us but I from nowhere, I suddenly knew.

          • DanJ0

            “A Christian needs to believe.”

            We all had a discussion here some time ago about people who tick the Christian box on the census. I said many of them were not Christian at all, causing a number of people to rebuke me for having the arrogance to say what a Christian was. My response at the time was to set out the minimum requirement to be a Christian, in my opinion. It was something like this: A belief a monotheistic god which manifested as a human being who allowed himself to be killed as a sacrifice to atone for one’s sins in order to satisfy a supernatural requirement for justice. On that basis, I claimed, most people were probably not Christian even if they had a vague acceptance that a god may exist. I think if that core requirement was put to a cohort in an explicit survey question, I daresay it would properly separate the sheep from the goats, to coin a phrase, and it would be clear to everyone that we’re a post-Christian country.

          • Phil R

            Yes the minimum requirement sounds good.

            Except…… It does not work like that.

            If you ever watch the film Luther you will see one of the characters is a poor single woman with a disabled child. In the film they represented the poor who are exploited by the Church and who’s plight strengthened Luther’s resolve to reform the Church.

            There was not doubt in my mind that the mother and daughter believed in God. They may have been uninformed and would probably not tick many of your boxes, but they knew God.

            When they die would Christ insist on the same level of understanding from the disabled daughter, the mother, a priest or Luther?

            No. To be acceptable to Christ, all that it required is to know him. The mother and daughter to me represented the many millions that despite almost no knowledge love God with all their heart.

            Am I more of a Christan now with all of my study than I was the instant Christ found my heart a few hours after I had helped to beat up the preacher?

            No.

            In an instant I was saved.

          • DanJ0

            “They may have been uninformed and would probably not tick many of your boxes”

            There is only one box, which I have indicated.

          • DanJ0

            “I despair that anyone still thinks that the Government we have in this country still reflects the wishes of the people they claim to serve.”

            Which is not exactly what I was saying at all. In a representative democracy, individual issues are debated and decided by representatives. Those representatives are not merely proxies, nor do they need to represent the wishes of everyone who elected them issue by issue. As for your petitions, the same-sex marriage issue was regularly surveyed and the majority favoured it in almost all, albeit by a smallish margin. That your special interest group didn’t have its wishes granted this time is part of the process. As you said to me elsewhere: tough. Get over it. Live and let live etc. Afterall, it doesn’t affect your own marriage or the future ones of any of your religion one jot or tittle.

          • DanJ0

            “You and Sarky have one thing in common at least, a ego the size of a planet.”

            I’ve been here a long time. When some people are unconcerned that others like me are hanged from cranes in Iran or incarcerated in Nigeria for decades, or some people advocate our stigmatisation and public judgement according to your own special world view, it pays to put on a pair of hob-nailed boots when engaging. I’m lovely in real life, you know. 🙂

          • Busy Mum

            Christians ARE concerned that human beings hang from cranes in Iran and that is why we are desperate for you to see that only a truly Christian government will save you from that fate. Secularism, atheism, liberalism and all the other anti-Christian systems will NOT step up to the mark when push comes to shove.

          • DanJ0

            Sadly not all Christians are around here, as I expect Phil will be able to confirm. As for your preferred government, I know enough English and European history to realise just how much the rest of us can trust in that. So, no thanks.

          • Busy Mum

            Citizens in a ‘liberal democracy’ or subjects in a constitutional monarchy? If the latter had been upheld by those to whom that sacred duty fell, you might have found that fault-free divorce, abortion and same-sex marriage had never made it on to the statute books and we would still be a functional, as well as nominal, Christian country.

            Phil R has explained why I have put liberal democracy in inverted commas.

            On one level I agree that we are a post-Christian country in that the ‘leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed’ Isaiah 9 v 16.

            Enjoyment is subjective and more often than not, short-lived; make the most of your pleasure and let it be tempered by the knowledge that many of your fellow citizens/subjects are not enjoying it at all, not for what IS, but for what is certain TO BE.

            When your enjoyment has no choice but to convert, submit or die, you may remember the Christian God who was proved, by the UK’s constitution, to be the only bulwark against tyranny.

          • DanJ0

            The liberal democracy bit was there as the reason we all have freedom.

          • Busy Mum

            The UK has been democratic because of the constitutional monarchy. That system of checks and balances has been broken (House of Lords no longer independent, Coronation oath not considered binding) so we have ended up with a tyrannical House of Commons. People are learning the hard way that an increasingly powerful Commons is leading to less democracy, not more.

          • DanJ0

            A constitutional monarchy is not necessary for England / UK to be a democracy. Lots of other countries in Western Europe are republics. It was the Bill of Rights 1689 which established our democracy by limiting the power of the monarch and setting up the sovereignty of parliament. That is, it restricted the involvement of the monarch in creating the law. She’s just the Head of state. Ironically, it was the internecine wars within Christianity in England which set up the requirement for the Coronation Oath. With the marginalisation of Christianity in the UK, the Oath is not really that important.

          • Busy Mum

            Our constitutional monarchy did more for justice and freedom than the continental republics ever did.
            Yes, it limited the power of the monarch – but that tiny bit of power she retained has gone and not been replaced by anything else to check the Commons. That Oath is the only thing left in the UK that could prevent a Muslim Commons setting up sharia law.

          • DanJ0

            “That Oath is the only thing left in the UK that could prevent a Muslim Commons setting up sharia law.”

            There’s no power in it at all. Parliament is sovereign. If the Commons became dominated by Muslims then they could impose sharia law if they wished. If the monarch refused to give Royal Assent then no doubt the population would vote to remove the monarchy too if they filled the Commons with Muslim MPs. At the moment, Islam is gaining ground by piggybacking on the rights demanded by our Christian minority, and through the religious accommodations being made on the basis of desiring ethnic harmony. I think we need to be less accommodating to religious demands in the public space if we’re to limit the power and spread of Islam in the UK.

          • Busy Mum

            ‘rights demanded by our Christian minority’ – if you believe that, I am not sure why you are so incredulous of religious belief.

          • DanJ0

            See today’s new thread.

        • CliveM

          Are you going to attempt something marginally intelligent, or are you going to stick with snide?

          • sarky

            How is that snide?? You cant whinge and moan about islam coming here then bang on about the increase in christianity In china. Can you not see the hypocrisy?

          • CliveM

            Dreadnought is an atheist. I was also reffering to all your comments not simply this one.
            In what sense are they not snide? Or would you prefer the term sneering?

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            Fully eighty per cent of your comments are of the “Ha ha, you Christians are irrelevant losers!” category and seem to have no purpose other than to allow you to enjoy some schadenfreude. You can make serious points if you try. But if you keep doing what you are doing, you are going to end up like GregTingey. He doesn’t post here anymore. People stopped taking him seriously, because all he did was post about Flying Spaghetti Monsters, and call people dumb. So eventually he was just ignored.

            If you want your posts to become inert matter cluttering up the board, then keep doing what you are doing.

          • sarky

            Carl, one thing I couldnt accuse people on here of being is dumb, but some of the comments on here maybe? (including my own). Some of the language and prejudice on here I find distasteful to say the least, hence my comments and their sneery nature.
            with regsrds to china, no you cant compare (poor example), however I stand by my point. Throughout its history christianity hasnt been frightened of imposing its ideology on people, many times by the sword. I just find the self righteous indignation a bit hypocrital to say the least. This is what happens when you all believe you worship the one true god. Christianity and islam will therefore, never be reconciled and will keep fighting until one is defeated.

        • carl jacobs

          And this BTW is a good example of what I said down below. I thought to respond to this along the lines of:

          1. Are you really comparing communist China to England?

          2. Are you really comparing indigenous evangelism to importation of a foreign culture through immigration?

          3. Are you really comparing the fear of Islam that proceeds from demographic decline to the hostility of Communism towards religion.

          But I thought “Why bother.” You don’t inspire any desire to engage because of the snide and sneering nature of most of your comments. You don’t show respect, Sarky. That won’t get you far here.

    • sarky

      Impotent and irelevant? Sorry, thought you were talking about the c of e.

  • CEMB_forum

    Has Anglican inter-faith ever addressed in their dialogue with Muslims the difficulties faced by apostates from Islam?

    Given that Anglicanism abhors the idea that you should be punished or persecuted for choosing to leave a religion, and the experiences of Exmuslims in Britain prove that the apostasy codes of Islam still lead to persecution, surely this is a key issue that the Church of England could use its moral authority to ask Muslims to address it? If the apostasy codes of Islam cannot be challenged in Britain in the year 2014, where and when can they ever be challenged and subject to critical discussion? Is it not a failure of the Church of England to address this matter?

    Islam is an evangelical religion that has traditions that teach that those who leave and criticise it are worthy of being killed. This leads to fear, oppression and persecution. As long as this goes unchallenged, how can it change? What is the worth of inter-faith discussion if it does not raise serious issues like this?

    • dannybhoy

      Sorry guys, but the Church of England leadership seems to be choc full o’ nuts who smile, simper and “just luurve dressing up..”
      Where do they all come from??
      Do we honestly believe that Islam has forgotten the Crusades and the humiliations imposed on them by the infidels? The interventions and invasions of sovereign Islamic nations, the attempts to impose “democracy lite” on people who believe that submission to the will of Allah is all that matters?
      (Alright, not this generation of wussy infidels offering tea and sympathy and a robe for every occasion, but their forefathers…)
      Or what about the cry of every devout Muslim
      “There is NO God but Allah and Muhammed is His Prophet!”

      Take a look at this site as a very mild example of orthodox Islamic practice in Pakistan…
      http://www.christianpost.com/news/church-of-pakistan-confirms-christian-couple-was-burned-alive-by-1500-muslims-over-rumor-they-ripped-pages-from-quran-129429/
      Whilst their Muslim brethren in the United Kingdom enjoy every privilege and benefit available in “Infidel” United Kingdom…
      This stuff is absolutely ridiculous, and shame on our spiritual leaders who haven’t got the balls to stand up for their own faith in their own land and proclaim Jesus is Lord of all!

  • len

    The C of E has shifted off its foundation and the whole edifice is looking decidely shaky.
    Before the Cof E ventures out into interfaith dialogue it needs to set its own House back on a solid foundation which was laid by Jesus Christ.

    • Busy Mum

      Yes, see my quote above from the Mahometan Review, 1904.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Dr. Crackles wrote; Have any of the dialogues through history shown any fruit? I am sure that Muslims view our participation as weakness or that we are being brought to their superior understanding.
    How right is this yet, to come to an understanding of their position in relation to their place in the UK environment could be useful. If he intends to take advantage of the invite to promote the tenet of their belief then it would be fruitless to the Synod, saving that other attenders might appreciate the voracity of their evangelism.

    • dannybhoy

      “…saving that other attenders might appreciate the voracity of their evangelism.”

      And you think this might make a difference? I doubt it.

  • Inspector General

    I say Cranmer, what a magnificent impassioned speech for the defence !

    A joy to read, and all that.

    But before we find Nahdi not guilty of being a muslim, consider this. Dialogue with a terrorist organisation is one thing, the same with a terrorist faith is quite another. IRA men have stood down from the ‘cause’ in the past. Hundreds of them. In fact, due to the peace agreement, they ALL have now. Is Nahdi about to step down from today’s Islam with all its aggression and take four million with him, because that is what you are wishful thinking, hoping.

    And let’s say he is prepared to go to the quieter side of Islam. His not so keen fellows will accuse him of apostasy and do away with him. We have had graphic demonstration that even if you convert to Islam, that will not save you, as neither does it for born muslims on the wrong side, such as Syrian soldiers. Hence, there is going to be no Western or UK Islam lite. It’s always going to be the most potent form, anything else will be beheaded, as such. (Yes, we know Anglicanism isn’t like that and is itching to change every year just for changes sake it seems at times, but that’s peculiar to them, sure you’ll agree.)

    What synod is thus doing is something in the manner of ‘ten things to do before I die’. Number whatever – engage with a ‘peaceful’ muslim of standing.

    It’s a fool’s errand, old man. And that’s being charitable…

    • Phil R

      “before we find Nahdi not guilty of being a muslim”

      Now that is perceptive.

      Excellent

  • CliveM

    Personally I am not sure what this invitation will achieve. Understanding that militant Islam is a world wide concern at the moment, how is this going to help?

    If he is a moderate, those young Muslims flying to Syria aren’t going to change his mind. Indeed will this not give him a credibility problem if he is genuinely trying to outline a modern, western form of Islam?

    What is the end game here?

    • dannybhoy

      The end game is that the CofE leadership shows itself willing to enter into dialogue with represenatatives of Islam.
      Laudable in itself, if taken in isolation.
      The problem is that Islam in this country has no real organised leadership structure, so what this guy might say is not necessarily binding or even recognised by other Muslim communities.
      Secondly, another thread urges us to pray for our brothers and sisters and minority religious groups in Islamic nations.
      Why?
      Because ‘true Islam’ in the form of IS is busy slaughtering other Muslims, Christians and minorities. Then forcing women and girls into prostitution, sexual slavery or forced marriage -after they have embraced Islam of course!
      I could direct you to some evil truly sickening sites showing the murder, decapitation and beheading of children!, but of course I won’t..
      So in the context of all this and in the absence of any joint condemnation and disassociation of these evils by our own Muslim communities, what really is the point of having a Muslim address the General Synod?
      Will our oh so polite! spiritual leaders bring up anything which might embarrass or offend this gentleman? I doubt it.
      It’s almost like inviting a representative of the Nazi Party to discuss morality with the inmates of a concentration camp..

  • IanCad

    What with three million Muslim fellow subjects this looks like a step in the right direction.
    Sure, the armchair warriors will huff and puff, dig bunkers, and, if such were to be offered, would likely sign a petition to deprive them of their citizenship.
    Fear and loathing stalks the land. It won’t take much; a bombing with mass casualties and our liberal society will be no more.
    It happened in America, and given the similarities the wretched, the fearful and the unprincipled would triumph to bind us in chains until we regain our manhood.
    On the 6th of June 2012 HG posted a beautiful picture I do wish he would add it to this thread.

  • Sam Westrop, like most commenters here, sees no good at all in Islam and, like most commenters here, sees no prospect of peaceful coexistence between it and other faiths.

    He considers interfaith organisations to be:

    ” … the ideal breeding ground for anti-Israeli sentiments. They have the ultimate do-good facade. What could be more admirable? If someone can maintain an interfaith dialogue front while throwing out anti-Israel propaganda and get away with it because of the interfaith agenda, it sanitises them from criticism.

    “Interfaith organisations are very well-intentioned, but they avoid talking about the real issues and real counter-extremism initiatives. Most of the time they can be hijacked by anti-Israeli forces.

    “There are great ideological forces at play which are apologised for – and enabled by – the left. There is an unholy alliance between the far-left and Islamist organisations. This is representative of something far more sinister, making Israel the perfect target for which they can gain sympathy and legitimacy.”

    Clearly, given his misrepresentation of Fuad Nahdihe he is not adverse to spreading his own disinformation.

    http://www.jewishtelegraph.com/prof_129.html

    http://speedydeletion.wikia.com/wiki/Samuel_Westrop

    • meqmac

      It’s not a question of seeing no good at all in Islam. I have studied, taught and written about Islam for over 40 years, and I find much that is admirable in Islamic culture, from its early advances in philsophy and the sciences, its creation of major urban centres, its mystical dimensions in Sufism or Ishraqi philosophy, its wonderful poetry (especially in Persian), its remarkable architecture, it’s overwhelming calligraphic traditions, its celebration of sexuality (way beyond anything in any other religion except Hinduism), its (few) musical traditions like Qawwali, and its important translation work, among much else. But I am also aware that its obsession with violence goes back to the Qur’an and the life of the prophet, passing through the early Arab conquests, its undying intolerance for other religions, its use of jihad since the very start and through the many Islamic empires, its slave trade, which was longer and more widespread than the Atlantic variety, its cruel punishments, the disappearance of those early philosophical and scientific advances, its prohibition on innovation (‘bid’a) of any kind, its oppresion of women, its use of women as sex slaves/concubines, its restrictions on Jews and Christians, its virulent anti-semitism, its opposition to the use of reason next to or instead of faith in divine revelation, and its repeated inability to move forward rather than going back the 7th century as the only model for any society (cf. the Wahhabis, the Salafis, the current Iranian regime), its supremacist view of the world, its arrogance, its mixture of politics and religion, its total inability to accept and practise democracy (because human beings cannot rule themselves or make their own laws). Well, I could go on. It is not necessary to see no good in Islam to see that there is a lot wrong with it. It is time principled Westerners recognized and acted on the many flaws of Islam as a religio-political system in the modern world, for the regeneration of Islam has not brought about a reformation and certainly not an enlightenment, but has become the principal agent for the attack on freedom, human rights, peace, and liberal democracy in the world today. If the West loses the battle with Islamic radicalism (and much of it is radical), mankind will be pushed back centuries and kept in stasis for many, many centuries to come.

      • Jack wouldn’t wish to challenge you evident knowledge. He has read some of your other posts about Islam on other blogs. He also notes you are an Irishman.

        So what is the way forward? Not all Muslims are evil, violent people. The false faith of Islam has a destructive influence. Do we simply shun and isolate all of Islam and accept some sort of civil showdown is inevitable in the West? And a military confrontation in the Middle East? Or do we attempt – somehow – to encourage the more enlightened leaders of this faith – assuming they are not all simply lying? Do we attempt to engage or simply disengage?

        • meqmac

          We engage, of course, but the work is certain to be long. Even reformist Muslims from Tantawi on, have faced an uphill struggle for acceptance, with the emphasis being on rejection. Their problem is that the briefest attempt to introduce new ways of tackling revelation will be met with often violent dismissal. The Qur’an cannot be changed, nor the hadith literature, nor the conventional rulings in fiqh. What is needed is fresh interpretation, but almost all 20th-century tafsir has been dominated by people like Rashid Rida, Sayyid Qutb and Mawdudi, so it is very hard for new mufassirun to make much of an impact. The ban on innovation, which weighs heavily with the Wahhabis and Salafis and Mawdudists, does not just have an impact on social and political change, but has a bearing on education and the reception of ideas from the Islamic world. This has been disastrous. Out of 1.6 billion Muslims, many from incredibly wealthy countries like Qatar, there have been 8 Nobel winners. Out of 14 million Jews, almost 200 Nobels and more in the pipeline. This extreme inability to adjust to modernity has been well discussed by the Pakistani nuclear scientist Pervez Hoodhboy, whom I recommend. Muslims have become their own worst enemies, whether it be in the never-ending yet counter-productive war with Israel, in the exaltation of traditionalism, or in the preference for traditional education over modern forms. Even when Muslims study modern subjects, they reject things like debate and free thinking. Without those, they just can’t make progress. Even in Western universities, Muslim states and bodies force a traditionalist understanding on Islam. There’s a long way to go.

          • So maybe the arrival of Muslims in the West should be seen as a plus, not as a negative. Is it possible we can influence Muslims here by exposing them to our culture, in combination with dialogue with modernist religious leaders, Islam will reform and actually impact in the Middle East?

            So far, our experience in the West is violent Islam. Youth here are being corrupted by extremist clerics and through online media outlets. The precise causes are complex. Islam in the West has to be changed from within and this means isolating ‘traditional’ influences here and also demonstrating the benefits of assimilating our values. Its a multi-layered response that’s needed.

          • meqmac

            For some people, contact with the West helps. But history says the opposite. Contact with Europe (and later the US) from the late 19th century both helps and hindered. Young Muslim students who went toi France, Britain and some other countries saw parliaments, universities, science laboratories, and other modern institutions and were impressed. Many began to move things forward when they went home, and there was a broad movement towards greater secularism, women’s rights etc. But the West was also made up of colonial powers. Even there was no choice at the end of WWI and the collapse of the Ottoman empire, but for the League of Nations, acting through Britain and Fance, to reshape the Middle East. At first this allowed for growing secularization under rulers like Atatürk in Turkey and Reza Shah in Iran, and in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere it seemed that, even if real democracy did not exist, a move away from clerical domination would enable the Muslim world to move towards reform. But the pull of radical Islam grew, through movements like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Jamaat-e Islami, Wahhabism (which had real power through Saudi wealth), and the growing influence of takfiri and salafi influence. The Iranian revolution was the first major step in turning back the clock, and since then hatred of the West has dominated across the globe. I like to think that one day it will all explode and leave the extremists with egg on their faces and allow secularists to come to power. In Iran today, if the regime slackened the pressure even slightly, it woiuld go up like a powder keg — young Iranians are desperate to live lives like the people in the West whom they see in films, on Facebook etc. But for the moment, I am not optimistic.

          • So change is coming, one way or another. Islam either explodes or changes. Important factors have been post-colonial manipulation, the cold war and Israel. If the West can get its act together and agree an approach with Russia and China, there may be hope. Saudi wealth and its influence in the West, has to tackled too.

            Meanwhile, in the West, we continue eliminating family, cultural and religious practices and ideas illegal and alien to our way of life. We also speak with their community leaders and clerics and engage in discussion.

          • James60498 .

            “Young Iranians are desperate to live lives like the people in the west they see on films, on Facebook etc.”

            Is that good?

          • CliveM

            If the alternative is an aggressive Islamic state, bent on being a nuclear power, then yes. I would certainly feel safer.

          • meqmac

            Good or bad depends on what sort of things they see. If they see trashy game shows, depraved films, etc., that is bad. But if they see instances of toleration for others, democracy at work, criticism of political corruption being given special weight (as in ‘Bob Roberts’, for example), TV programmes showing care for the environment, an emphasis on saving lives, pursuit of criminals with minimal police corruption and no use of cruel or capital punishment, etc, that must be for the good. I know many Iranians who have benefited from exposure to Western norms and left prejudices etc. behind. But, above all, it is the very freedom to see Western life in its good and bad aspects, with the freedom to make one’s own mind up about these things, in defiance of regime tactics such as punishing young people making a charming video and singing ‘Be Happy’. When you make a simple joyful thing like that a crime, then seeing even a crummy thing like, say, Big Brother, may be liberating.

          • Martin

            Seems that only those who are prepared to abandon the Qur’an, at least in part, will really achieve any real democracy.

          • Shadrach Fire

            Jack said, So maybe the arrival of Muslims in the West should be seen as a plus, not as a negative. Is it possible we can influence Muslims here by exposing them to our culture, in combination with dialogue with modernist religious leaders, Islam will reform and actually impact in the Middle East?
            Theoretically that sounds fine but in reality they are totally blinded by their faith to resist all other notions of religion. Whilst a few convert, they do so in fear and trepidation. Christian Concern have opened safe houses to provide a shelter for these individuals who fear for their life.

          • retiredbloke

            Whatever belief system they chose to follow many of those following Islam are descendants of Ishmael. It is neglectful of us to ignore the burden that was placed on Ishmael in the following passage:
            7 The angel of A DONAI found her by a spring in the desert, the spring on the road to Shur, 8 and said, “Hagar! Sarai’s slave- girl! Where have you come from, and where are you going?” She answered, “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai.” 9 The angel of A DONAI said to her, “Go back to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” 10 The angel of A DONAI said to her, “I will greatly increase your descendants; there will be so many that it will be impossible to count them.” 11 The angel of A DONAI said to her, “Look, you are pregnant, and you will give birth to a son. You are to call him Yishma‘el [God pays attention] because A DONAI has paid attention to your misery. 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man, with his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, living his life at odds with all his kinsmen.”
            (Genesis 16)
            Can anyone looking at the ME even today doubt the efficacy of this prophecy?

          • Busy Mum

            Yes, this is the only way people can fully understand the Middle East, anti-semitism etc. The Israelites followed the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. However fond the non-Jewish semitic races may be of claiming to be the descendants of Abraham, they have inherited the jealousies of Ishmael and Esau.

        • dannybhoy

          The way forward is to show by all means necessary that Islam in the West will not be allowed to subvert or displace the values and practices of the host culture.
          By all means Muslims should copy the Jews, the Sikhs the Hindus and others, in practicing their faiths whilst staying loyal and obedient to the country and laws of their adopted homeland.
          If Muslims wish to be truly British citizens (as opposed to Muslims living in Britain) then they will have to accept that practices such as fgm, honour killings, forced marriages, and Shari’a law will not be allowed equal status with the morality and justice system of our country.

      • dannybhoy

        Well that’s pretty comprehensive!

    • Busy Mum

      Had a quick look at your links – thankyou – I didn’t know anything about Sam W before, though had occasionally read his articles via Gatestone. Can’t say I have always agreed with everything he has written but this I do appreciate, his exposure of anti-Semitic A-Level textbooks. My daughter’s History textbook on Palestine is so blatantly biased in places, it is laughable. The scary thing is that the vast majority of students do not see through it…but then again, absolutely anybody can study A levels and degrees nowadays, fully functioning brain not required!

    • Martin

      HJ

      There is no good in Islam. It is a false religion and as such Christians can have no association with it.

      Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

      I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
      and I will be their God,
      and they shall be my people.
      Therefore go out from their midst,
      and be separate from them, says the Lord,
      and touch no unclean thing;
      then I will welcome you,
      and I will be a father to you,
      and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
      says the Lord Almighty.

      (II Corinthians 7:14-18 [ESV])

      • retiredbloke

        Martin, I am confused by your biblical reference; it sounds more Chronicles than Corinthians but I cannot make it tie up!

        • Martin

          RB

          If you check the Corinthians quote you will see that Paul quotes a number of OT passages. Sorry if my line break confused.

  • Inspector General

    For those with open hearts who deride our natural suspicion of alien ways, Chamberlain had a better chance in Munich, and that was no chance at all…

  • Inspector General

    ….also, when you enter into ‘talks’ with Islam, if such a thing was even possible, has it occurred to synod that they will have to concede something or other. The question is what. Arranged marriage maybe, or the continuation of the death sentence, at least in theory, for apostasy. It could be anything.

    To be honest, the Inspector wouldn’t trust synod to endeavour to an off licence for four cans of Guinness….

  • Dreadnaught

    Let Fuad Nahdi get his mates in ISIS, Hamas, Al-qaida, Boko haram, Hezbollah etc to stop the Muslim violence in the world before being lauded at the top table of the British Establishment – not that they seem to be taking much notice of him so far. The comparisons between talking to Global Islam and talking to the Provos of NI if Cranmer is serious, is breathtakingly stupid beyond belief.

  • Royinsouthwest

    Shouldn’t moderate Islamic leaders (and I accept that there are some) be expected to earn the right to inter-faith dialogue by their actions? When Salman Rushdie wrote the Satanic Verses thousands of muslims took to the streets in protest in this country and their were similar demonstrations in many other countries around the world. The Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting Muhammed did so mainly because other media outlets were practising self-censorship for fear of offending muslims. The cartoons sparked off protests around the world.

    When Israel bombed Gaza in retaliation for terrorist attacks there were lots of protests from muslims in this country and other countries. When ISIS or ISIL or IS or whatever it wants to be called now started butchering foreign aid workers, the wrong sort of muslims, Yazidis and Christians there are no street protests from muslims. When Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of mainly christian girls in Nigeria and handed them on as, at best “wives” to muslims or at worst sex slaves, the muslims in this country did what?

    I know there has been the odd letter from mullahs condemning ISIS but that is like “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” writing a letter to the Times. They don’t feel strongly enough about any atrocities committed by other muslims to take to the streets.

    When muslims start demonstrating against such atrocities, when they say that muslims should be free to convert to other religions if they so wish (obviously they don’t have to approve of them doing so) and when they say that adherents of other religions should be free to proselytise in muslim countries and free to build churches in any town where they have members, including Mecca, then inter-faith dialogue with muslims will be a good thing.

    • Shadrach Fire

      What is a moderate Islamic leader? Are they someone who rejects the latter parts of the Quran instead of believing the latter parts supersede the earlier.

  • Has he been invited in for a proper debate with a member of the Synod
    which would be interesting or just to speak? And will there be a
    question and answer session at the end where Anglicans can question
    and robustly rebut the aspects of islam that are incompatible and
    unacceptable in our Christian country?

    I’d get him to first sign a affidavit forbidding him to sue, threaten or cause violence and damage of any kind if his views are questioned too robustly?

    • Too robustly? By Synod? Come now, Marie. He’ll be welcomed and treated with respect. And that’s just how it should be when you invite somebody to join you.

      • Hasn’t he got to earn our respect and trust first? What’s the point if members of Synod are going to go all doe
        eyed and roll over in unquestioning awe at what he says?

      • Martin

        HJ

        It isn’t respect to allow someone to get away with saying something that is untrue. A debate can be with respect, but I doubt the the CoE synod has sufficient coherence to mount a debate.

      • dannybhoy

        Join you –
        or address you?

        • Now’s who’s a pedant?

          • dannybhoy

            How do you think I recognised the same tendency in you?!

  • Busy Mum

    From ‘The Mahometan Review’, India 1904.

    ” Thus has the Bible been swept away as a straw before the mighty current of modern criticism, and such was the fate it deserved. It is not the unmixed Word of God, it is not unerring….But if the Bible is erroneous in certain parts, while other parts of it contain some truth, what tests do the Christians have in their hands for distinguishing truth from error? If it is reason, then the Christian faith must openly avow itself to be based on reason and not on revelation. But if their test is revelation, surely some pure and trustworthy revelation free from error is required to sift the truth from the falsehood contained in the Bible. This revelation is found in the Holy Qoran, for it is the only book on the face of the earth which claims to be the true and unmixed Word of God, and hence its own necessity as the pure Divine Word. We are glad to see that the view which the Holy Qoran took of the Bible has at last been admitted by even the missionaries……The error of the Bible being once recognised, it is difficult to see how the Christian religion can stand for one moment…..We hope that the Christian missionaries will plainly avow these truths and condemn the false belief of the Divinity of Jesus……”

    The scene was set over 110 years ago and has been playing out ever since…..is this submission by Synod the final act?

  • non mouse

    Thank you, Your Grace.
    Indeed: If we do not or cannot talk to people of other faiths and beliefs in their own languages, using their own cultural idioms, respecting their idiosyncrasies and understanding their sensitivities, how do we begin to inculturate or transform?

    Why else did our forebears make such a fuss about preaching to us in our own language, and translating the Bible into English?

    btw @ retired bloke 2 hours ago … that Corinthians reference is 2 Corinthians 6, not 7.

    14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (AKJV)

  • len

    It is high time that Islam was challenged for the views it holds and the origin of these views.

    Even Mohammed was uncertain of the identity of ‘the spirit’ that threw him to the ground and gave him revelations until he was convinced by others that this must be a ‘good spirit’.

    Much of the’ authority’ of the Koran comes from Christian and Jewish scriptures but these scriptures seem to have been changed somewhat (as with other religions who take the Word of God and bend it to their own purposes.)

    As I have said elsewhere the church has allowed itself to be moved off its foundations (which Christ alone laid) and the church is drifting like a rudderless ship into stormy seas.

    Take a look at this article regarding whether the Koran or the Bible is the Word of God.
    http://www.lightforthelastdays.co.uk/page13.html#3

    • CliveM

      Thank you for the link, very interesting.

    • dannybhoy

      “It is high time that Islam was challenged for the views it holds and the origin of these views.
      Even Mohammed was uncertain of the identity of ‘the spirit’ that threw him
      to the ground and gave him revelations until he was convinced by others
      that this must be a ‘good spirit’.”

      That’s you and Busy Mum posted two very pertinent pieces of history.

      Here’s another which asserts that Islam has its roots in the ancient worship of Sin, the moon god..

      http://religionresearchinstitute.org/ramadan/roots.htm
      Now the point is not whether this article is true or not, but whether Muslims are prepared to discuss it..

      • David

        Thank you for the link. Very confirmatory.

  • Dreadnaught

    Today a person hearing voices or throwing epileptic fits would be hospitalised for treatment, not venerated as being imbued with special powers and insight from a spiritual visitation.