Gordon Brown's Ramadan greeting to British Muslims
Further to Gordon Brown’s Ramadan greeting to the Muslims of Kuwait, Cranmer has been directed to the Prime Minister’s message to the Muslims of the United Kingdom. It is dated Thursday 4th September on the No.10 website, so it is observable that he greeted the Muslims of Kuwait before those of the UK. Perhaps No.10 monitors His Grace, and has seen fit to issue a belated greeting.
In summary, he says ‘Ramadan teaches patience and humility’. It embodies ‘the message of empathy for the less fortunate’. It talks of ‘compassion and social justice’.
And the Prime Minister refers to ‘the Prophet Mohammed’ (he twice accords him ‘prophet’ status) who ‘emphasised the duty of care we owe one another’, so we should ‘celebrate diversity’.
Cranmer thinks this a somewhat tenuous interpretation of the hadith.
It is good, right and Christian to issue such greetings to our Muslim neighbours, as Cranmer did himself on Monday. But it is deception or dhimmitude to give the impression of accord with aspects of Islamic belief and theology. How can any professing Christian aver that Mohammed was a prophet of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Lord Jesus Christ? Since Mohammed denied that Jesus is the Christ, and rejects the resurrection, and refutes the truth of the gospel, he is manifestly what Christians throughout two millennia have called a ‘false prophet’.
Of course, the Prime Minister is not going to say ‘the false prophet Mohammed’, but what is wrong with simply saying ‘Mohammed’? And Cranmer is quite sure that the Prime MInister will not deliver any comparable dogmatic theological message to Christians at the beginning of their most holy week - on the run up to Easter.
Do you really him saying, ‘the Son of God, Jesus Christ’? Or might it be phrased something like ‘Jesus, whom Christians believe to be the Son of God...’? Doubtless there would be riots and uproar if he dared to say, 'Mohammed, whom Muslims believe to be a prophet...'.