‘Why aren’t we converting these Muslims’, asks Christian fundamentalist


by Sunny
28th May, 2008 at 2:32 am    

Church of England row over Muslim conversion, exclaims the Telegraph, showing a picture of the embattled Lord Nazir Ali. The article says near the end,

Britain’s only Asian bishop, he was tipped to become Archbishop of Canterbury before Dr Rowan Williams’s appointment in 2002. Since he was passed over, he has felt able to speak more freely about his inter-faith views and has become a talisman for hard-line evangelicals who see Islam as a threat to culture and religion.

Yup, we’re aware of that, since he made shit up about ‘Muslim no-go areas’ without actually having been in one and then claimed people were unfairly targetting him. I love this latest sob-story by Lord Nazir Ali too.

Apparently, senior figures within the Church are not exactly happy with his plans to covert British Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus to Christianity because its unlikely to lead to better inter-faith relations. The horrors of social cohesion! Who wants it?

Sometimes you’d think Lord Nazir Ali was a lone figure flying in the face of political correctness to bring social cohesion…. and other times he wants to make sure these damn heathens listen to his word of God. Throw in the word Muslim (we’re not going enough to convert them!) and the right-wing broadsheets are all over it like a rash.

But there is more to this. The conversion thing is a private members motion to be debated by the Church of England General Synod. It is being proposed by Paul Eddy, a guy who does PR for the Lawyers Christian Fellowship (via Bartholomew). His partner in crime there is Andrea Minichiello Williams, who was most recently seen on the C4 documentary cussing Muslims. You can see why this might pose a problem for inter-faith dialogue. Now if this were some Hizb ut-Tahrir or al-Muhajiroun nutjobs cussing Christianity, the usual bigots would be up in arms saying these people should leave this Christian nation. But in this case they’re busy admiring Paul Eddy’s conviction. Oh, the sweet smell of hypocrisy.

The thing is, this is a classic wedge tactic. If these people really wanted to convert non-Christians, they’d just be out there doing it. But these Christian fundamentalists need to create a sense of being under attack, and they need to get rid of the Church of England’s more liberal leaders. So they’re making this into a wedge issue and trying to galvanise the nutjobs within the Synod so they can eventually provoke a clash between Christian and Muslim fundamentalists. That, for them, would be the best way to attract more followers over the longer term and depose of Rowan Williams and his buddies. The Telegraph is more than happy to oblige.


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  1. BenSix — on 28th May, 2008 at 3:44 am  

    Idly flicking through the post, I was initially unsurprised that “senior figures within the Church are not exactly happy with his plans to covet British Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus to Christianity”. Still, at least my subsequent confusion made me read this properly.

    The problem (well, one of the problems) with evangelic Christianity is that it’s rarely into equal-opportunities conversion. It has to pick a side. It’s almost as if – with Christianity presenting the ultimate struggle between good and evil – they have to construct a monolith to have faith against, be it Islam or atheism.

  2. digitalcntrl — on 28th May, 2008 at 4:38 am  

    Actually Christianity is the fastest growing religion when referring to converts only. Ironically it is one of the slowest growing religions relative to its size (low birth rates) but in raw numbers it is still the fastest growing religion nonetheless overall (all that clear : )).

    Of course these fundos have trot out the bogeyman to advance the religion.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3835

    http://www.bible.ca/global-religion-statistics-world-christian-encyclopedia.htm

  3. Unitalian — on 28th May, 2008 at 8:10 am  

    Shrewd post. Hardliners of all shapes and sizes have always been smarter at PR – less moral scruples you see.

    Which is why one always has to deal with the “men of violence” in the end.

    And extremism is always violent in one way or another.

  4. Cover Drive — on 28th May, 2008 at 8:31 am  

    Islam is doing most of the running in terms of numbers in this country. In the years to come there will be far more practicing Muslims than practicing Christians. With this in mind, I think Nazir Ali is less concerned about genuinely reaching out to non-Muslims, which is his job, but more to cause friction between one kind of fundamentalists (Christian evangelicals) and another (Islamic extremists who see apostasy as punishable by death).

    Generally it is the jingoistic evangelical Christians who like to convert non-Christians. They see more opportunities in highly populated developing countries (Latin America, Africa, China and India) than in the developed world where Christianity is a minority religion. In the Indian state of Orissa, where evangelicals have been active, there was a pogrom by right wing Hindus on Christians in December 2007:
    http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10651857
    It was the worst anti-Christian violence in India for 60 years and ironically the majority of the people who were attacked were Catholics who don’t generally evangelise. The Christians are becoming the new targets of the Hindu Right in India.

    One type of fundamentalism inevitably leads to another.

  5. Unitalian — on 28th May, 2008 at 9:14 am  

    I think you are right to make the distinction between “practicing” and “cultural”.

    Over 70 per cent of Brits describe themselves as Christian, which may not mean they attend church, but culturally that is their identity. Combine this with the influx of Catholic and Orthodox, cultural and practicing, Christians coming from the East, and I sincerely doubt that Britain’s “Christian” identity is under any serious demographic threat from Islam.

  6. Steve P — on 28th May, 2008 at 9:32 am  

    A Christian Fundamentalist is just as idiotic as an Islamiic Fundamentalist. Both as dangerous and outdated as each other.

    A better idea would be to accept the modern world, accept that religion is for weak people who need something bigger to believe in because thier own lives are pathetic.

  7. Gege — on 28th May, 2008 at 9:37 am  

    One of the key aspects of christianity is ‘spreading the good news’ to non-christians. I therefore see nothing wrong with the Bishop’s aims.

  8. Melina Jackson — on 28th May, 2008 at 9:52 am  

    “accept that religion is for weak people who need something bigger to believe in because thier own lives are pathetic”

    You ignorant piece of shit. You know nothing about the people you are referring to en bloc. The fact that you are prepared to make such a statement simply exposes you to be a person of such limited experience and exposure to events that you cannot conceive of someone having to confront the possibility that there may be a force beyond their comprehension. The truths or fallacies of religion are not relevant here. What matters is the appalling arrogance of your regard for the pain and suffering of others.

    Learn some humility, Steve P.

  9. Joe Otten — on 28th May, 2008 at 9:53 am  

    I’d love to see a dialogue between Nazir Ali and some similarly senior Muslim, over whether Jesus really is the son of God and whether the Quran was dictated to Mohammed, etc. This is the issue, right? There is no reason to convert is there, unless you think the other lot has the facts right on this sort of thing?

    I don’t think there is anything wrong, if you believe something, to try to convince others of it.

    I don’t think this dialogue will happen, tho’, because obviously it will get nowhere, because nobody has any evidence. Oh well.

  10. Avi Cohen — on 28th May, 2008 at 10:48 am  

    Hold on this shows this nasty man’s hypocracy.

    So he says there are no go areas but he wants a strategy to convert Muslims but how the hell is he going to do that when he is saying they can’t go there to convert them!

    Thats the stupidity of this wretched man who because he hasn’t got the top job is undermining Rowan Williams with his continual barbs and attacks.

    The man has little concept of his own faith and is simply a scare-mongerer.

    The CoE is starting to reach out to other communities and now this nasty man wants to undo all the good community work that is starting to happen. He should be condemned unreservedly.

  11. fugstar — on 28th May, 2008 at 11:03 am  

    9
    hmm i think dr zakir naik of india would rinse his scrawny little arse.

    5
    i don’t think practicing and cultural are really useful demarkations for islamic types. whats practicing then? how did this term come about.. is it like pressing playback on a cassette tape. and cultural… well thats just downright vague.

    practicing is a term mainly used by the born again, no?

    christian dawa to muslims takes many forms. its interesting to see, but generally they don’t do too well when theres firm faith established, little social/financial incentive and no muslim reppellant. In bangladesh one of the big industrial groups, square, is widely known to convert people to christianity for money, no one is really too fussed though. Religions are older than nation states and therefore have more right to exist i think. maybe the next quilliam foundation type organisation can be an honest upfront missionary affair?

    in the uk we had a deshi convert to evangelical christianity, then return to islam. must have been quite a ride.. but you feel sad for the family.

  12. Cover Drive — on 28th May, 2008 at 11:26 am  

    Personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with changing your religion as long as it is not forced or fraudulent. The decision should be a personal one and the state should not intervene.

    In India, for example, new converts to Christianity are largely from the lowest rungs of the Hindu caste system. They see conversion to Christianity as a way of self-fulfilment and emancipation because Christianity preaches equality to all human beings. I don’t see anything wrong with that but in the Hindu religion leaving your caste or religion is totally unacceptable (likewise in Islam). If you are born into a caste then you are expected to stay in that caste until death. Hence the strong emotions that conversion evokes. There have been many cases were people have been forcibly re-converted.

  13. Sid — on 28th May, 2008 at 11:40 am  

    Great article Sunny.

    Has anyone else noticed the massive theological contradiction in the CoE’s PR-drive to recruit/convert more Christians here?

    On the one hand, “good cop” Archbishop of Cantebury goes public with the big statement that Muslims should be allowed to live under Shari’a law in the UK.
    On the other hand, “bad cop” Nazir-Ali wants to convert as many Muslims as possible into Christianity.

    However, both men are fully aware that for Muslims, religious law dictates that conversion outside of the faith goes against Shari’a. In other words the CoE is allowing itself the theological right to force Muslims to go against Shari’a by converting whilst the big Bishop demonstrates his “generosity” by giving lectures to the secular authorities to allow more Shari’a.

    Either Rowan Williams is a liar or Nazir-Ali is speaking the truth. Or vice versa.
    Will the real CoE please stand up.

  14. cjcjc — on 28th May, 2008 at 12:01 pm  

    The CoE is the original “broad church”.
    There is no “real” CoE to stand up.

    John, Ch 14: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

    I don’t think you have to be a “fundamentalist” Christian to believe that. Indeed, if you don’t believe that how can you be said to be a Christian at all?
    And if you do believe it, then surely you have a duty to at least attempt to persuade others of your belief.
    Otherwise, according to your belief, they have no chance of reaching heaven.

    Now Williams’s woolly relativism must mean either, if he believes this stuff, that he is happy to condemn others never to see heaven, or otherwise that he doesn’t really believe this stuff himself.
    I would guess the latter.

    The current big Archers plot is Shula’s unhappiness with the vicar’s engagement to a Hindu woman. Shula’s mother upbraids her saying, surely you don’t believe there is a hierarchy of faiths with Christianity at the top? Shula responds: of course not.
    That seems to be Williams’s bizarre position.

    A bit like Prince Charles who wants to be “defender of faiths” rather than defender of the faith.
    He might as well say I don’t care what sort of lunatic you are, so long as your are mad in one way or another.

  15. Sid — on 28th May, 2008 at 12:09 pm  


    The CoE is the original “broad church”.
    There is no “real” CoE to stand up.

    Yes, the CoE is a “broad church”. But does “broad” mean the top bishops have the license to contradict one another ontologically?

    I think what this really shows is that the Sharia concession was always a means to use religious law to obscure their own illiberal priveleges.

  16. Bishop Hill — on 28th May, 2008 at 12:25 pm  

    Why do you say it was “shit” about the no-go areas? There was that ex-race relations chappie who said that such no-go areas did exist – in Bradford, for example IIRC.

  17. Sid — on 28th May, 2008 at 12:29 pm  

    There are also plenty of indigenous Anglican no-go areas that Bishop Nazir-Ali seems to find unremarkable. I wonder why.

  18. Bishop Hill — on 28th May, 2008 at 12:40 pm  

    I basically share your views on religion, but I think you’re being unfair to N-A. Wanting to convert people to Christianity is hardly synonymous with fundamentalism is it? And you have to make a lot of links to try to connect Nazir-Ali with someone who was once rude about Muslims. This is what is usually called a “smear-job”.

    I also can’t see how (i) calling for a strategy to convert people to Christianity and (ii) asking that the Church welcome people converting from other faiths, can be construed as a wedge tactic. Are you saying that the Church should not be able to tell people about Christianity and that they should reject people who try to convert from other faiths?

  19. Bishop Hill — on 28th May, 2008 at 12:41 pm  

    Sid

    Explain what you mean.

  20. cjcjc — on 28th May, 2008 at 12:51 pm  

    “I think what this really shows is that the Sharia concession was always a means to use religious law to obscure their own illiberal priveleges.”

    I certainly agree with that.

  21. Sid — on 28th May, 2008 at 1:01 pm  

    Bishop Hill

    There are plenty of areas, estates, pubs etc in Barking and Dagenham, for example, where a brown man like Nazir-Ali would, if he were not careful, get his head kicked in. With or without the dog collar.

    Are these “Anglican” no-go areas not worthy of comment?
    Why only the “Muslim” ones?

  22. Avi Cohen — on 28th May, 2008 at 1:02 pm  

    Sid – I personally believe that Dr. Rowan Williams is sincere in his approach towards building inter-faith relations.

    Bishop Nasty Ali isn’t and is hell bent on undermining Dr. Williams and wants to convert all those nasty Muslims he despises so much. Thus he is talking is riddles and hurling accusations at people.

    There is an increasingly nasty strain of people appearing in senior positions in the Anglican Church who are doing their utmost to attack Muslims in order to further their own agenda within the Anglican Church.

    Bishop Nasty is positioning himself at the head of the queue to replace Dr. Williams and will use most means to get to his desired goal.

    It is high time this nasty strain of Christianity was stopped as it is causing great damage worldwide.

  23. Leon — on 28th May, 2008 at 1:19 pm  

    I’m with Sid on the good cop/bad cop thing, also the comment about no go areas for brown folk…

  24. Unitalian — on 28th May, 2008 at 2:24 pm  

    The Bish’s speech is here -

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7422981.stm

    I thought his core point about the erosion of common values since the Sixties was interesting, although more as an observation than (his) solution.

  25. Cover Drive — on 28th May, 2008 at 3:15 pm  

    However, both men are fully aware that for Muslims, religious law dictates that conversion outside of the faith goes against Shari’a. In other words the CoE is allowing itself the theological right to force Muslims to go against Shari’a by converting whilst the big Bishop demonstrates his “generosity” by giving lectures to the secular authorities to allow more Shari’a.

    What you’re tentatively saying, and also defending, is that Muslims cannot convert to another religion because it goes against their faith, i.e. Islam and democracy are incompatible. Isn’t one of the basic principles of a democracy the right to follow any faith one wishes to follow? Your statement above makes some previous discussions about Muslims and democracy on this site sound rather hollow now.

  26. Sid — on 28th May, 2008 at 3:32 pm  

    Cover Drive, in my ideal democracy religious law would be relegated to the private domain only.

    But neither Nazir-Ali nor Rowan Williams are talking about the freedom of faith in a democracy but rather the inter-faith practice in the juxtaposition of the dominant Anglican Church and the existence of the foreign interlocutors represented by all other faiths, but most pressingly, Islam in particular.

    If I had my way, all religious leaders would be made to spend one year practicing an “other” religion. So Rowan Williams would have Islam, Nazir-Ali Hinduism, Inayat Bunglawala Judaism and so on.

  27. Sid — on 28th May, 2008 at 3:34 pm  

    Shit, did I call them “religious leaders”? Bad typo. I meant to say “religious community leaders”.

  28. Kismet Hardy — on 28th May, 2008 at 3:43 pm  

    All religion is based on preparing for the afterlife. In which case, prepare in private and feel smug that you’ll all go to heaven and kindly let the rest of us enjoy this hell in peace.

  29. Avi Cohen — on 28th May, 2008 at 4:03 pm  

    The Bishops argument much like the Pope’s is sheer nonsense.

    To claim that Christianity and only Christianity has shaped the identity of the British is sheer nonsense.

    What does he define as British Identity?

    Britishness is many things to many people. Many British people view Curry as a British Dish – but it isn’t Christian! In fact now I’d hazard a guess that Curry, Kebabs, Pizza etc are more common on Friday than Fish!

    Bish is trying to blame the failure of the Church on every faith but his own.

    Many faiths have contributed to the freedom and identity of this country.

    The Bishop being the nasty man he is would be wise to recall that in two world wars Britain was helped to be saved by people of faiths other than Christianity who out numbered locals and Christians.

    Thus the very freedom the nasty Bishopp lives under is provided by the faith communties he is maligning.

    The loss of Christian Identity is caused because people like the Bishop don’t relate to the people, something which with respect all the other faith communities Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindu and so forth have kept in touch with the grassroots.

    The fact they’ve done this in much harder circumstances than the Church shows how out of touch the Bishop is. The Church has become essentially an academic type institution which is out of touch with the people and rather than changing itself it is asking society to change to the churches needs.

    The Bishop takes the typical right wing and evangelical line – attack Muslims when people reply or complain then say you meant the radicals!

    Nasty man wityh a nasty agenda.

  30. Avi Cohen — on 28th May, 2008 at 4:06 pm  

    British and European Identity has been influenced in all spheres – art, architecture, culture, religion, education, science etc by all faiths and it is this richness which has created the country today.

    To deny this is intelectually bankrupt.

    Why is it that the others faiths are able to build good relatiosn with their own community and others but the Anglican Church can’t and the Bishop rather than look inwards and change looks outwards and demand everyone else changes?

  31. Sunny — on 28th May, 2008 at 4:08 pm  

    Bishop Hill – Nazir Ali was chatting crap about “Muslim no-go areas” because he has never actually been to one.

    See this post:
    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1830

    Wanting to convert people to Christianity is hardly synonymous with fundamentalism is it?

    Oh this is not my teminology, the people from CCFON and LCF (Andrea Williams, mentioned above) used it herself to describe herself in the C4 documentary.

    Is Lord Nazir Ali supporting Christian Fundamentalists? You damn right he is.

  32. Hermes123 — on 28th May, 2008 at 4:22 pm  

    Kismet Hardy…I agree. We do not need religious heads to be the gatekeepers to God. All religions started with no organised structures, but a simple belief in something bigger within us all. Then the specialists and the fundos took over and turned it all into a neat business, which implies fighting each other to create monopolies.

    All a lot of crap.

  33. Bishop Hill — on 28th May, 2008 at 4:25 pm  

    Sunny

    So we agree that these no-go areas exist, then. You can hardly say he’s talking crap then. I say there’s oppression going on in Burma, although I’ve never been there. Does that mean I’m talking crap?

    If you want to criticise him for not equally condemning no-go areas for ethnic minorities, feel free. I accept Sid’s point about these, although as I’ve never been to one, I may be talking crap in doing so. ;-)

    In a free society, different religions should be able to try to convert each others members, shouldn’t they? Of course the other side might not like it, and their religion might even condemn it, but I would say that a liberal should stand up for this principle. Either we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech or we don’t.

  34. Avi Cohen — on 28th May, 2008 at 4:32 pm  

    Bishop Hill – Yes religions are free to convert but why does your Bishop Nasty have to keep blaming other religions for the erosion of Britishness – when he actually means Christian’ness.

    Also why claim so falsely that Christianity is what shaped the Britishness when in fact many faiths and cultures did this?

    It is simply false to make the nonsensical claims he is doing.

  35. Sid — on 28th May, 2008 at 4:44 pm  

    I much prefer fundamentalists like Nazir-Ali follow the Falwell model, espouse their bigotry openly. As opposed to the Arch-Bish, who isn’t a bigot but neither a an objective inter-faith dialoguist, who shifts shape and talks out the side of his mouth.

  36. sonia — on 28th May, 2008 at 4:47 pm  

    kismet :

    All religion is based on preparing for the afterlife. In which case, prepare in private and feel smug that you’ll all go to heaven and kindly let the rest of us enjoy this hell in peace.

    :-) heh heh

    bishop hill, well i guess it depends on what you mean by “converting” others…if its a chat then sure = anyone’s got the right to influence other people’s opinion – on not just religion obviously. Same for anyone else to convince religionists of the falsity of their statements about “god”

  37. Sid — on 28th May, 2008 at 4:49 pm  

    Either we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech or we don’t.

    Neither. We should have a fully secular state and religion should be the private business of believers. Religious institutions should be paid for by private bodies and not by the tax payer.

  38. sonia — on 28th May, 2008 at 4:51 pm  

    but anyway, this is all rather oxymoronic. we might be all fluffy about religion but at the end of the day everyone knows these religions (certainly christianity and islam) are ALL about conversions.

    Cover Drive – thank you for your comment in no. 12 – nice encapsulation of how religion and caste has been used for CENTURIES for people to keep in “their places”. Good trick isn’t it.

  39. Sunny — on 28th May, 2008 at 5:03 pm  

    Bishop Hill, you’re being rather obtuse.

    Where are the no-go areas? Who has been to one? Where is the evidence?

    There may be areas in Britain where gangsmake it difficult for people to pass through… these may be run by white gangs, black or brown gangs. What’s it got to do with anyone’s religion? And furthermore, I bet there are more white no-go areas than brown no-go areas. No?

    In a free society, different religions should be able to try to convert each others members, shouldn’t they?

    Sure, but you accept why the Church hierarchy might be unwilling to let a bigot push for such operations?

    Its a wedge tactic, regardless of what people are allowed to do in a democratic society.

  40. Sid — on 28th May, 2008 at 5:07 pm  

    No no Sunny. If you’re dealing with CoE types, you have to use their religious nomenclatuture to define everything. So if they’re white no-go areas they’re Anglican no-areas, brown no-areas are Muslim no-go areas and black no-go areas are Pentacostal no-go areas.

  41. Bishop Hill — on 28th May, 2008 at 7:17 pm  

    Sunny

    The report I referred to earlier is here.

    Quoting from it:

    [T]here is a drive amongst the mosque-attending older generation who would like sharia areas. There is also the minority of highly disaffected young men who want to control their patches. These two opposite ends of the spectrum desire the same thing albeit for different reasons and it is likely that they will support each other in order to attain their goals.

    As I mentioned, this was written by a former race relations adviser, so I imagine it must carry some weight.

    I don’t think I’m being obtuse at all. You have criticised the Bishop for condemning no-go areas without having been to one. I’ve merely pointed out that we accept the existence of lots of things without having seen them ourselves. The report I link to seems to me to be highly credible.

    You keep asserting that Nazir-Ali is a bigot and a fundamentalist without really giving me anything to convince me that you are right. The no-go areas he criticises seem to exist. We all seem to agree that he should be free to try to convert people from other religions, which is what he has called for. Where’s the bigotry?

  42. Sunny — on 28th May, 2008 at 7:45 pm  

    You keep asserting that Nazir-Ali is a bigot and a fundamentalist without really giving me anything to convince me that you are right. The no-go areas he criticises seem to exist.

    BH – No, that is what you call speculation. He speculates that there may be a coalition to crate sharia-run areas but there’s no actual evidence of any such areas being created. Warning of future problems is not the same as Nazir-Ali saying there are actual areas that exist.

    Nazir Ali is a bigot like any other religious fundamentalist who thinks people of other faiths are heathens and foolish. He hangs around with self-proclaimed fundamentalists. What more do you want?

  43. Bishop Hill — on 28th May, 2008 at 8:59 pm  

    Sunny

    Are you discounting the report I link to, and if so, why? At the moment I have a report from a race relations adviser which says they do exist, and your assertion that they don’t. At the moment I think your views are going to carry less weight.

    You say that N-A “hangs around with self-proclaimed fundamentalists” and ask what more evidence I need of his bigotry. When you say “hangs around with”, you have only shown that N-A has spoken in support of a motion proposed by Paul Eddy. As far as I can tell, Eddy is a PR man who works for lots of Christian organisations and one of his clients is the Lawyers Christian Fellowship. One of LCF’s members, Ms Funny Italian Sounding name certainly seems to have some strong views on Moslems. But to go through an unproven personal relationship (N-A and Eddy), a business relationship (Eddy-LCF) and an employee-employer relationship (LCF-nasty lady) is a bit of an overstretch for showing that the Bishop “hangs out with fundamentalists” and is therefore demonstrably a bigot.

    So in answer to your question, I’d need evidence that the Bishop holds bigoted views.

  44. Sunny — on 28th May, 2008 at 10:18 pm  

    At the moment I have a report from a race relations adviser which says they do exist,

    I think your understanding of English is rather bad if you think thats what it says.

    It says…”T]here is a drive amongst the mosque-attending older generation who would like sharia areas….and it is likely that they will support each other in order to attain their goals.”

    Saying it is likely they will support each other’s goals is not the same as saying: “We have evidence there are no-go areas because of this evidence” etc. And even then, areas where these Mosque leaders would like sharia to be enforced better isn’t the same as saying non-Muslims are not allowed in that area. This is more to do with controlling Muslim women with an alternative legal system than not allowing non-Muslims into the area.

    I thought you were one of those evidence obsessed people? Seems like it from your blog. Except, here, you’re twisting around the wording of a blog to infer, as is widely repeated on newspapers, that Nazir Ali has found some areas where he finds it difficult to venture into.

    There’s no evidence for it.

  45. douglas clark — on 28th May, 2008 at 10:58 pm  

    Can I just say, that if either a Christian or a Muslim proselytizer came to my doorstep, they’d get such an ear bashing?

    It seems to me to be a legitimate civil liberty to assume that religion should be something we reach out to rather than have their adherents trying to convert us to on the doorstep, rather like double glazing salesmen.

    I’d imagine, other Glaswegians can correct me, Clairwill, Shuggy – that fear for your own life – would tend to suggest that an attempted conversion programme would be a very dodgy undertaking. The believers, of either faith, would be likely to get chased.

    And these are not Dawkinite post enlightenment folk. Largely, they are folk that couldn’t give a fuck.

    Which, Sunny, is another huge disconnect between the Westminster consensus – where religion is respected and denial, perhaps nihilistic denial, is not given any status whatsoever.

    Please perm that too into your ideas about what our society is.

  46. Cover Drive — on 29th May, 2008 at 5:44 am  

    sonia @ 38

    The point that some people on this thread seem to be missing is that the orthodox side of every religion is only interested in keeping people in their place and controlling the number of their co-religionists. You either allow conversions to happen in society without pre-conditions (we have to live in a completely secular society first, etc) or you give others the license to keep people in their place.

  47. Cover Drive — on 29th May, 2008 at 10:34 am  

    I don’t know why some people want to make a meal out of this. If you look at the numbers, the conversions from Christianity to Islam far outnumber those the other way. Not surprising really as Muslim apostates are punishable by death. Approximately 50,000 people have converted from Christianity to Islam in the last decade but the numbers the other way are negligible. Then why the fuss? You’re playing straight into the hands of extremists who regard apostates as less than dirt.

    Here’s a case of one Muslim who converted to Christinity:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1571970/Muslim-apostates-threatened-over-Christianity.html

    Sofia Allam simply could not believe it. Her kind, loving father was sitting in front of her threatening to kill her. He said she had brought shame and humiliation on him, that she was now “worse than the muck on their shoes” and she deserved to die.

    This is not the only case. There are others similar this one.

  48. Bishop Hill — on 29th May, 2008 at 11:20 am  

    Sunny

    You are right some extent – talking about “the desire for Muslim only areas” he says that “They cannot be definitely proven but there are growing indications that they are real.”

    I guess this is somewhere between “they exist” and “they don’t”. He doesn’t say what the indications are, but I assume we can agree that he’s not entirely making it up. There is presumably some evidence to support N-A’s position on no-go areas.

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