Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bishop of Liverpool raises funds for mosque

Of all the bishops in all the cathedrals in all the world, Cranmer thought he could rely on James Jones of Liverpool. A true Evangelical, with sound theological roots at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, he champions the plight of the widow and orphan, and the heart of the Gospel beats at the core of his ministry. In his praxis, he is an innovator with a particular commitment to sustainable development. One such venture is an attempt to use the shared commitment of different faiths to community work, and the shared interest of different faith communities in environmental protection, to create four unique attempts to build cleaner, safer and greener communities across the North West. This is but one of the many excellent and wholly worthwhile pursuits to which he Bishops dedicates himself, walking the walk daily.

And yet…

The Bishop has accepted the invitation of a Muslim friend to become patron of a mosque renovating project. 8 Brougham Terrace is a crumbling house in Liverpool. Apparently, it constitutes the vandalised remains of Britain's first mosque, and plans are afoot to restore it to its glory.

Cranmer is not quite sure what the ‘glory’ should be of a derelict semi-detached house, with filthy whitewashed façade, its rotten front door covered in graffiti. It is probably not much different now from what it was in 1889, when, it is claimed, it was founded as a mosque. But the restoration is to cost £2.4m (yes, that’s right, and this must make it the most expensive semi-detached house in the country - Sarah Beeney could doubtless do it for a tenth of the cost...), and the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are apparently contributing to the funds. The project is also soliciting funds from the British government, and it is undoubtedly to this end that the Bishop was co-opted onto the committee.

The mosque’s founder, one Abdullah ‘William’ Quilliam, was what may now be termed a ‘fundamentalist’ Mohammedan. He was a one-man mission. He not only printed his own Islamic newspapers, he confronted the Prime Minister, William Gladstone, with the reality of ‘Christian atrocities’. He wrote: ‘An American explodes a bomb in the crowded streets of Constantinople and slays innocent women and children and, because he calls himself a Christian he is extolled in England as a hero and as a patriot! An Afghan fights for his fatherland in the Khyber Pass, and because he is a Muslim he is denounced as a traitor and a rebel.’

This reasoning, not dissimilar from the tedious Islamist mantra spouted today, apparently makes him a ‘courageous man’, and his example therefore worthy of the patronage of the Bishop of Liverpool. The Right Rev James Jones admits that being asked to take up the cause presented a ‘theological challenge’, but ‘he was compelled by Quilliam's example’. He said, “One of the challenges in today's world is concentrating on the best examples of each other's religions and finding common ground. Quilliam was a man who did a huge amount of good work that all religious leaders should appreciate and the campaign to restore his institute is worth supporting, both nationally and locally.”

Theological challenge? How does the Bishop understand St Paul’s exhortation not to eat meat offered to idols (1Cor 8)? The passage deals with issues of spiritual contamination, believing that eating such meat places Christians in fellowship with (and they were thus defiled by) a false god, a demon, to which the meat had been offered. Christians would even eat meat in the pagan temple, and the new or sensitive Christian, seeing this (and perhaps having recently rejected that false religion), would suffer a weakening of his conscience or his faith. In extreme cases, he or she might even return to the false god and be lost (v11).

However ‘legal’ the Bishop’s support for the mosque may be, and however ‘right’ it may be for his conscience, the more important consideration is the potential adverse effect of his actions on fellow believers. This takes precedence. Paul's conclusion is that he would never even give the appearance of compromise if it would harm a brother in the faith. In this era, with an increasingly militant form of Islam on the ascendancy, the Bishop might have considered this ‘theological challenge’, not least because his actions are those of a dhimmi, and there will be much rejoicing in some Islamist quarters of the subjection of such a senior figure in the Church of England.

So Cranmer would like to suggest to Bishop Jones that he seek reciprocity. He should invite his Muslim friend to join the committee which raises funds for the restoration of Liverpool Cathedral. And then see if this Muslim friend will also solicit funds from the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. If such projects are good for community relations, and this is the sincere objective of the Muslims, why should it be Christian leaders who are helping to build mosques, and why should the cathedrals be appointing Muslim community workers? Let us have a few Muslims helping to restore the ecclesial fabric of our nation, and let us see Christians employed by the mosques to facilitate 'community relations'.

35 Comments:

Blogger Nadim said...

One of the biggest challenges for believers in the world today is that of inter-faith relations in general, and Muslim-Christian relations in particular. Given the history of conflict, and the collective memory of grave injustices on both sides, the followers of these two faiths are laden with the burden of that history. The reality of the Crusades particularly, cannot be forgotten. In addition to this there are more recent world events which have shaped the perceptions of Muslims and Christians of each other in an environment which seems actually to promote division.

Christian-Muslim relations in our time are also influenced by colonial and post-colonial history. The current world situation, in which we hear of a ‘clash of civilizations’, and see Muslims involved in conflicts in several parts of the world, can be traced back to the colonizing of countries which were predominantly Muslim. Muslims today in these places see the West as oppressive. They consider the West unfair in its dealings with the Islamic world. Added to this is their image of Christians (whom they see as Westerners) as those who want to convert them, and are only interested in them for that reason.

Another unfortunate by-product of the link which Muslims tend to make between the West and Christianity is related to moral conduct. They see the West as, generally speaking, immoral, corrupt and decadent. Hollywood and television must take much of the blame for this. This accounts for a certain tendency among some Muslims to keep their distance. Muslim women will explain their wearing of the veil as, among other reasons, a form of protection and a refusal to be caught up in fashions which they see as exploitative of women.

The Bishop of Liverpool is therefore approaching Muslims from these perspectives, and his is the only path.

2 August 2007 at 12:22  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The reality of the Crusades particularly, cannot be forgotten.

I have not forgotten. I expect Muslims to apologise before withdrawing from Jerusalem and Christendom in Syria, Egypt, Asia Minor and to desist from Koranic Imperialism.

The Crusades were a response to Muslim invasion of Bulgaria - just as Charles Martel, Rodriguez, Jan Sobieski and a myriad of Christian Knights had to fight to defend our Christian heritage from the invader.

The Crusades were the Medieval equivalent of the D-Day landings in Normandy to liberate from cruel oppression.

Don't raise the Crusades unless you have an apology to proffer Nadim for Arab Imperialism which enslaved Christian communities throughout Africa and Asia.

2 August 2007 at 13:20  
Anonymous CCTV said...

Muslim women will explain their wearing of the veil as, among other reasons, a form of protection and a refusal to be caught up in fashions which they see as exploitative of women.

Which is why I see them in full chadoor queueing outside NeXt during a sale.

Muslim women wear winding sheets because if they don't they fear beig raped by their menfolk or suffering acid burns to the face. It is the animal in these men that leads them to think rape is a legitimate expression of male power over women and is why white women in this country should give Muslim males a wide berth

2 August 2007 at 13:24  
Anonymous CCTV said...

Christian-Muslim relations in our time are also influenced by colonial and post-colonial history.

Yes the stupid British partitioned India and gave Hindu territory to Muslims who had invaded the Indian Subcontinent and murdered Hindus dragging them as slaves across the Hindu Kush.

The only functioning democracy on the Subcontinent is India and more Muslims live there than in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Mountbatten should have told Jinnah to take a hike 60 years ago

2 August 2007 at 13:26  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

The "bishop" of liverpool should choose which side he is on,for it is not possible to serve both god and the devil.As in the case of Hitler ,he made it abundantly clear what his agenda was ,but every-one refused to take him seriously,such is the case with islam, no matter how many times muslim "clerics" tell us what our end is to be the people who should be opposing thier tyranny simply surrender. the muslims certainly are not "multi-faith"they meerely use this as a lever to empty the pockets of the dhimmis, shame on you bishop, if you regard them so highly ,it would benefit the indiginous population of this country greatly if you took your sorry hide to live in the places where islam belongs,you will not be missed.

2 August 2007 at 13:31  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

Of all the bishops in all the cathedrals in all the world, Cranmer thought he could rely on James Jones of Liverpool.

Oh, Cranmer, you are a card.

1)Jones is in the Church of England.

2) It's 2007.

3) Er.

4) That's it.

2 August 2007 at 14:58  
Anonymous Observer said...

I take it that the Roman Catholic Bishop in Liverpool has stayed well away from this poisoned chalice.....

2 August 2007 at 15:25  
Blogger Nadim said...

To Voyager: It is pointless talking of the Crusades in the manner you do. You need to leave behind your ancient prejudices. Modernity in politics is about moving from exclusion to inclusion, from repression to incorporation. By including those previously excluded (in this context, Muslims), the Bishop is giving those previously alienated a stake in things. By doing so, he broadens the bounds of lived community, and of lived humanity. That perhaps is the real challenge today. It is the recognition that the good life cannot be lived in isolation. By supporting the restoration of a mosque, the Bishop of Liverpool is loving his neighbour. That is a deeply Christian thing to do. Jesus preached a gospel of love and he would not respond in the manner you have.

2 August 2007 at 17:06  
Anonymous VOyager said...

To Voyager: It is pointless talking of the Crusades in the manner you do. You need to leave behind your ancient prejudices.

You raised the issue of the Crusades Nadim. Just because I know my history rather than your propaganda you retreat.

I think you should refresh your readings on Jesus Christ, an Orthodox Jew and upholder of Torah - the portrayal of Jesus Christ in popular conception in Western culture is a cardboard cutout.

2 August 2007 at 17:40  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The "Excluded" in this Society are Christians...they live as Christ did under "Roman" Occupation

2 August 2007 at 17:42  
Blogger haddock said...

"he broadens the bounds of lived community, and of lived humanity. That perhaps is the real challenge today."
the real challenge for me is to understand what this jargon means; I recognise English words in the quoted sentence but not the English language.
Is history now to be termed ancient prejudices ?

2 August 2007 at 17:46  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

Voyager -- I hope you aren't the fool Nadim takes you for. He's got the liberal BS off pat, like many 'British' Muslims, but what Muslims really think about Christianity can be seen wherever Muslims have the upper hand.

Leave behind your ancient prejudices. Modernity in politics is about moving from exclusion to inclusion, from repression to incorporation.

'Modernity' in politics is about fatuous slogans that mean bugger-all and hide either impotence or mendacity.

By including those previously excluded (in this context, Muslims), the Bishop is giving those previously alienated a stake in things. By doing so, he broadens the bounds of lived community, and of lived humanity.

No, by doing so he collaborates in his own destruction. There's no substance behind your fatuous sloganeering. Do Muslims help Christians to build churches?

That perhaps is the real challenge today.

Given that it means nothing, it is indeed a challenge.

It is the recognition that the good life cannot be lived in isolation.

It can't be lived with Muslims either. For proof, take a look at any Muslim country.

By supporting the restoration of a mosque, the Bishop of Liverpool is loving his neighbour. That is a deeply Christian thing to do.

Assisting one's neighbour to strengthen his false religion is not Christian.

Jesus preached a gospel of love and he would not respond in the manner you have.

Jesus preached a gospel of conversion. James is not following that gospel.

2 August 2007 at 17:58  
Anonymous Sir HM said...

Hello Cap'n.

It's history when it's their version; ancient prejudices when ours.

And don't even TRY to understand the gobbledegook - it'll just drive you insane. It is meaningless, intended only to confuse.

Nadim, pray to Allah that I never have any say in your future ... which is actually a possibility sometime in the not too distant future. Only a remote possibility, granted, but still a possibility.

People like you are driving this country to a state where people like me could have influence. We are not such reasonable people as, for example, His Grace. We simply will not listen to you as we go about our business. You will be a part of our business.

2 August 2007 at 18:16  
Blogger Voyager said...

Voyager -- I hope you aren't the fool Nadim takes you for.

I worry myself that I may be too naive..........


CUt and Paste

2 August 2007 at 18:17  
Anonymous Sir HM said...

CUt and Paste.

Voyager, you probably wouldn't like me very much - but I like you.

Wonderful.

2 August 2007 at 18:27  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Nadim,

His Grace's august blog is for the intelligent and erudite; not those who can 'cut and paste' the intelligent erudition of others.

The World Wide Web is replete with billions of tedious platitudes and pompous pontifications, very few of which are original, and even fewer of which have any real meaning or relevance. If you wish to engage with other Communicants, please feel at home enough to be yourself. Other Mohammedans appear to leave after a very short sojourn, and His Grace is bemused to understand why...

2 August 2007 at 18:45  
Anonymous Miss Jelly bean said...

still here.

2 August 2007 at 19:09  
Anonymous The recusant said...

Your grace, I am not convinced a group of Muslims would need a Christian Bishop to obtain funds from this government, they would just hold out there hand and after assuring a suitably credulous Government apparatchik that the purpose was to prevent violent extremism the existing pathfinder fund would soon provide the necessary. No Bishop needed, which makes James Jones actions all the more reprehensible.

Department for Communities and Local Government
“The Preventing Violent Extremism Pathfinder Fund was launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government in October 2006 to support priority local authorities in developing programmes of activity to tackle violent extremism at the local level. It forms an integral part of the Government’s wider national framework which is set out in Preventing Violent Extremism: Winning hearts and minds.

(Look nadim, double speak just like yours)”



I like your use of the adjective reciprocity, especially when used to focus attention on Christian/Islamic relations. I’m sure some other prominent Christian theologian alluded to the same premise not so long ago; great minds think alike.

2 August 2007 at 19:21  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Recusant,

Other 'prominent Christian theologians' have indeed alluded to the concept...

His Grace precedes the one to whom you may be referring by almost four centuries. It is heartening indeed that he heeds the words of the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury.

Miss Jelly Bean,

Welcome back. His Grace hopes that your absence has not been due to any offence.

2 August 2007 at 19:32  
Anonymous Miss jelly bean said...

Nah... I was raised as a strong little bean. I refuse to be 'squashed' so easily.

2 August 2007 at 19:52  
Anonymous Observer said...

Nah... I was raised as a strong little bean. I refuse to be 'squashed' so easily.

Glad to hear you aren't a 'split green bean' but rather a 'broad bean' and not a 'baked bean'

2 August 2007 at 20:54  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Have you just resurfaced because His Grace mentioned Sarah Beaney?

2 August 2007 at 20:58  
Blogger shergar said...

Thomas, Holy Mother Church sighs in sympathy yet again, as you look for steel, only to find porridge. The fattened calf awaits the prodigal's return -- you need only kneel and kiss our jewel encrusted hand.

2 August 2007 at 22:29  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

Voyager -- well-spotted! He had it off patter than I realized.

Let's be fair: Christians could have appeared in the following story once.

Writer in Pakistan given life for “blasphemy”

A writer in Pakistan has been jailed for life for so-called blasphemy offences. A court in Karachi handed down the sentence on Younus Sheikh after finding him “guilty” of “defiling a copy of the Koran, outraging religious feelings and propagating religious hatred among society.”

Mr Sheikh was arrested by police in January 2005 for writing a book criticising the punishment of stoning in cases of adultery. He also apparently “wrote contemptuous remarks against the Imams of Fiqah”.

Sheikh, 41, stated to be a matriculate with no religious education, admitted writing the book. The prosecution placed eight witnesses including four religious scholars of Muslim schools, who unanimously issued a Fatwa (religious edict) against the accused after perusing the book, written by the accused, to prove the guilt of the accused.

The High Court will hear an appeal.

(NB: This is not the same Younus Sheikh who was put on death row in Pakistan several years ago on blasphemy charges, and who was released after international pressure led by IHEU)

http://www.secularism.org.uk/writerinpakistangivenlifeforblas.html

2 August 2007 at 22:32  
Blogger istanbultory said...

All attempts of interfaith dialogue in the West are based on a hopeless naivete.
It's time for people to realise that the Quoran contains over 100 verses dealing with violence against infidels. It exhorts good Muslims to exterminate the Jews before the "end of days." In much of the Islamic world, women are stoned to death and undergo clitorectomies. Gays are executed under the approving eyes of the proponents of Shariah.Overall, Islamification of Europe will spells the death of liberal values on this continent. Appeasement is not an option...

2 August 2007 at 23:06  
Anonymous najistani said...

Productive interfaith dialogue requires give and take. Kuffars give, Muslims take.

BTW I have just learned that one of our Scottish interfaith brethren has passed away in a rather indeterminate state.

Possibly Your Grace's Mohammedan communicants such as the erudite Nadim could enlighten us as to whether a suicide bomber who kills himself without managing to kill a single Kuffar is a true Shaheed?

A similar case occurred several years ago but was never successfully resolved. The story is as follows:

A Muslim shaheed or ‘martyr’ (one who dies while killing infidels), may intercede with Allah to take 70 of his relatives to paradise with him, no matter what their sins.

This thought kept going through Papa's mind as he was considering a career for Sharif, the youngest and most useless of his eleven sons and umpteen daughters. Sharif wasn't much good for anything in this world, he couldn't even remember more than five aliases when filling in his welfare claims.

So a family council was called, and targets discussed. Aircraft, schools and trains had their pros and cons. But then Sharif's sister Parveen had a brain-wave. "Killing Christians is indeed pleasing to Allah, but you get treble points for killing Joooooz. - Let's send him to Israel"

Everybody was in agreement apart from Momma, who wondered how Sharif was going to feed himself in paradise since this was the first time he'd been away from home and he couldn't even open a can.

"No problem" Papa explained "Out of 72 virgins some of them are going to be able to cook." Momma was not convinced they’d be able to cook as well as her.

Meanwhile Sharif went to the local Mosque’s laboratory to mix the relevant ingredients in the correct proportions.

The great day came, and Sharif rushed into an Israeli seaside bar shouting "I love Pepsi Cola more than you love death! Akkah Albar!" - He never could get anything right.

He pressed the detonator and there was a fizzle, and then a flame from his bomb belt - but no bang. Sharif was no great genius at chemistry, he'd made an incendiary mixture instead of explosives.

In an effort to extinguish the flames, Sharif ran out and jumped into the sea. It worked, but then he remembered he’d never learned to swim.

The body was washed up in due course, leaving and Papa and Momma very uncertain. Could Sharif be a Shaheed by just killing himself without taking any infidels with him? Eventually they decided to visit a medium to make contact and find out what he was doing in the afterlife.

“Tell me what it’s like where you are” said Papa.
Sharif’s voice came through the medium sounding squeaky and distorted. “Well, I get up in the morning and have sex. Then I have a lettuce. I have sex again. Then I have a cucumber. Then more sex and celery and so on for the rest of the day.”

“Sex, sex and more sex!” Papa said “Truly my son you are indeed a Shaheed!”

But Momma was still a little anxious “You’ll need more than salad to keep your strength up with all that exercise. Aren’t they feeding you properly in paradise?”

“Who said anything about paradise?” Sharif’s voice replied. “I’ve been reincarnated as a rabbit in Salinas valley.”


Comments Nadim????

2 August 2007 at 23:59  
Anonymous Didactophobe said...

"The current world situation, in which we hear of a ‘clash of civilizations’, and see Muslims involved in conflicts in several parts of the world, can be traced back to the colonizing of countries which were predominantly Muslim."

Let us remember, Nadim, that the vast majority of those countries had 'converted' to Islam originally as a result of Muslim invasion, murder and torture. Christianity spread throughout the ancient world as a religion of peace: Islam spread as a religion of oppression.

This is what makes the comments of Jones so risible: there is no common ground between Christianity and Islam. Read Matthew 7:15: "Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves". You won't like me for it, but Muhammad was the ultimate false prophet, ferocious outwardly as well as inwardly. He presented his cult as 'peaceful', yet it is the 'peace' offered by the blackmailer: the 'peace' offered to those who subjugate themselves to their conquerors.

Bishop Jones should also recall John 14:6. Jesus said "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". If James doesn't believe that, he has to seriously consider his position. If he does, he needs to seriously consider the company he keeps.

3 August 2007 at 09:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am new to looking at this site. Is there any moderation of contributions? I suggest that najistani's should be removed. It insults muslims on the grounds that they are welfare cheats, and that they are stupid, and that they hate all jews. Can this sort of contribution further debate?

Harryliddon

3 August 2007 at 16:17  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

Can this sort of contribution further debate?

Harryliddon


You have produced no debate, no posting of interest, merely a call for censorship. Is that the limit of your intellectual presence in this age ?

3 August 2007 at 16:30  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Firstly, His Grace does not respond to anonymice.

Secondly, His Grace's august blog of intelligent and erudite comment upon matters religio-political has a number of Mohammedan regulars, and none has complained.

3 August 2007 at 16:31  
Anonymous Dr Mabuse said...

Jihad Musical

Harryliddon may like to go to the theatre

3 August 2007 at 16:51  
Blogger Roger Pearse said...

Bishops, even the best of them, are appointed for pliability... How many in the last 2 centuries have resigned on points of principle? Colin Buchanan did; no other, as far as I know.

4 August 2007 at 21:11  
Blogger liddon said...

Funny, I thought Colin Buchanan did not resign on principle, but was asked to leave his job in Birmingham because he had made such a mess of it.

5 August 2007 at 08:53  
Blogger Marcusa said...

Well said didactophobe. I have long despaired of any Bishop of the C of E ever propagating the gospel of Christ. The bishops have given up their tasks of comforting the faithful and have become the liberal church of sociology.

5 August 2007 at 10:52  
Anonymous Michael Canaris said...

--Of all the bishops in all the cathedrals in all the world, Cranmer thought he could rely on James Jones of Liverpool. --
Out of curiosity, did that thought have anything to do with his illustrious predecessor in Liverpool: the Rt. Rev. J.C. Ryle?

8 August 2007 at 07:40  

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