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Britain, Islam and the Clergy By: Kathy Shaidle
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 17, 2008

Historian Edward Gibbon famously mused about what might have happened had the Muslims won the battle of Poitiers in France in 733. In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon wrote:

“...the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.”

Fast forward to the England of today, where the Islamification of Oxford proceeds apace without a shot being fired.

The Bishop of Oxford claims that “the dark underbelly of British society” sent him threatening messages after supporting plans for a Muslim call to prayer in his city.

"I believe we have good relationships with the Muslim community here in Oxford and I am personally very happy for the mosque to call the faithful to prayer," the bishop told the local Oxford Mail.

The Rt. Rev. John Pritchard subsequently told the Daily Telegraph: "I received extraordinary mail. One said, 'resign' six times in a large font. One called for me to be beheaded and another said: 'I wish I lived closer so I could spit on you.'”

Oxford's Central Mosque has repeatedly asked for permission to play the traditional call to prayer three times a day from speakers on its minaret. However, some residents near the mosque are urging the city council to reject the plan, fearing it would turn their neighborhood into a "Muslim ghetto". One resident said that Oxford, “isn't a Muslim-dominated area, but I think over a period of time there would be a population shift if this went ahead."

Islam has slowly been making inroads in the famed university city since 1985, with the founding of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS). Boasting honorary patrons like Prince Charles and eminent guest speakers like Nelson Mandela, the OCIS was financed by the Saudi royal family to the tune of an estimated £65 million.

Writes Daniel Pipes, author and expert on radical Islam:

“The centre includes a 108-foot-high minaret and a 75-foot-high dome. Its facilities include a mosque, a lecture theater, a library, extensive teaching facilities, residences for 57 students, a dining hall, and landscaped gardens.”

Pipes notes that Oxford’s Rose Hill Primary School was the scene of an earlier controversy, when the headmistress informed parents that halal meat would become the new standard in all school meals.

“...irate parents organized a petition with 220 signatures,” Pipes reported on his blog last month, “that forced the Rose Hill Primary School to back off the halal-only lunches in favor of offering students a choice of regular food, a halal food, or vegetarian. The school will use a wristband system (red wristband for meat, blue for halal meat, green for vegetarian) to make sure pupils get the correct meal. To make sure that non-halal and halal meats are kept separate during preparation, a spokesman for the Oxfordshire County Council noted, the school has bought new kitchen equipment.

“In an editorial, the Oxford Mail opined that, ‘No-one denies the right of Muslims to have the meat their faith demands. But that does not mean that it has to be given to everyone else in a school or workplace. The school should have realized that to serve halal meat to all pupils, without consulting parents, was bound to cause friction.’”

The Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, has received death threats, too, but unlike Oxford’s accommodating Rev. Pritchard, Nazir-Ali is outspoken about the negative effects of Islam on British society.

In January, the Pakistani born Church of England bishop declared that some urban areas were now “no-go” zones for non-Muslim citizens.

As a result, Nazir-Ali and his family were put under police protection but he refused to modify his assertion, or his critique of “the secular policy of multi-culturalism which has led to such disastrous consequences."

He also criticized his direct superior, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who recently declared it “inevitable” that Muslim sharia law would one day be granted civil authority in Britain.

"Do the British people really want to lose that rooting in the Christian faith that has given them everything they cherish -- art, literature, architecture, institutions, the monarchy, their value system, their laws?" Nazir-Ali asked The Sunday Telegraph in response to the Archbishop’s apparent embrace of sharia.

In National Review, Anthony Daniels was more blunt.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury is a special kind of fool,” he wrote in the magazine last month.

“In Williams, postmodernism meets Neville Chamberlain. His way of expressing himself is a symptom of the terrible degeneration of academic and intellectual life in Britain.”

“The lion of polygamy will lie down with the lamb of monogamy, having reached first some kind of ecumenical compromise,” in Williams’ utopian fantasy Britain. “What all this presumably boils down to,” wrote Daniels, “is the necessity for creative compromise: the snowballing of adulterers, for example, or community service for apostates.”

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican’s “top man for relations with Islam”, called the Archbishop of Canterbury “mistaken” and “naive” on the subject of sharia.

Meanwhile, the uproar among ordinary Britons over the Archbishop’s address was seen by many as a rare and encouraging sign of cultural confidence.

“By proposing to concede a permanent role to extralegal violence in the political life of England,” notes the Asia Times columnist Spengler, “the Archbishop of Canterbury pushed his phlegmatic countrymen over the edge. No one is better than the British at pretending that problems really aren't there, but once their spiritual leader admits to an alien source of coercion and proposes to legitimize it, they understand that a limit has been reached. (...)

“The British authorities will take measures to protect bishops from the threat of violence, but they leave to their own devices thousands of Muslim women. According to a February 2008 report by the Center for Social Cohesion, Islamist groups and individuals frequently link ideas of honor with the welfare of the Muslim world. (...) This politicization of women's bodies helps create an environment where the abuse and control of women is tolerated.”

A separate report, released earlier this week, revealed that “the number of young British Asians being forced into arranged marriages abroad could be as high as 3,000 a year” – “Asian” being the accepted Establishment euphemism for “Muslim” in the United Kingdom. In the city of Bradford alone – known for its large population of Pakistani immigrants – 33 children are now missing. Authorities fear the missing schoolchildren have been forced into arranged marriages, possibly with first cousins.

On this issue, the Church of England was quick to respond. The Rt. Rev. Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark, said, “The practice of forcing one of the partners to marry in order to be able to sponsor a marriage visa and gain immigration advantage cannot be justified and is to be strongly condemned.”

Most Britons seemed to agree, but in upside down England, those condemned as “fundamentalist” are just as likely to be Christian leaders as Muslim ones.

The Bishop of Lancaster, Patrick O’Donoghue, faces tough questioning by Members of Parliament over a 66-page report he produced last year, which calls for a ban on “values-free” sex education and an end to school support of pro-choice charities like Amnesty International.

Members of the House of Commons Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families are angered by the bishop’s “strict line on sexual morality” and his declaration that the “secular view on sex outside marriage, artificial contraception, sexually transmitted disease, including HIV and AIDS, and abortion, may not be presented as neutral information” to schoolchildren.

That many moderate Muslims probably share the bishop’s views on sex education – to the dismay of their liberal defenders in the “infidel” media and academe -- is just another paradox of modern British life.

“There are now two Britains,” writes Londonistan author Melanie Philips. “There is the Britain that loves and would defend to the death its own historic national identity — and the Britain that either wants to destroy it or refuses to acknowledge that it is under such threat.

“And it is the latter which currently wields the levers of power.”

The Church of England once wielded one of those levers. However, it has lost much of the influence it once enjoyed, having incrementally exchanged sound traditional Christian doctrine for a “happy clappy” religion of feelings and “social justice”. This misguided attempt to stay relevant has, ironically, left the Church less relevant than ever before, and England woefully unarmed in its latest battle for survival.

Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury.com. Her new book exposing abuses by Canada’s Human Rights Commissions, The Tyranny of Nice, includes an introduction by Mark Steyn.

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