Monday, October 25, 2010

What hath Bradford to do with Ripon and Leeds?

When the Prime Minister announced that all government departments had to find 25 per cent savings in order to fulfil the moral imperative of cutting the deficit and repaying the national debt, he never explicitly excluded the wealthiest department of state: the Established Church of England.

It belongs to the Crown, or, at least, the Monarch is its Supreme Governor. And according to canon law, she is ‘the highest power under God in this kingdom, and has supreme authority over all persons in all causes, as well ecclesiastical as civil’.

In practice, however, her omnipotence is exercised by the Prime Minister through Parliament. So cutbacks begin with the House of God.

It is helpful that the Archbishop of York was already amenable to rationalising his See by merging the Diocese of Bradford with that of Ripon & Leeds. It's the first time in a century that such a thing has been done, but it's not as if we're talking about a take-over of Athens by Jerusalem, or even merging Canterbury with York.

Combining the diocese of Bradford with Ripon & Leeds might, on the face of it, make a bit of sense. Not least, Bradford and Leeds are both are in the gritty county of West Yorkshire. And, from a financial perspective, there is strong pressure on the Church of England to arrange mergers. It has to start somewhere.

Ripon was founded in 876, but lapsed for a thousand years. The present diocese is a creation of 1836, and it only took the name ‘Ripon & Leeds’ when the major city began to eclipse the cathedral city in population size. It was the first diocese to be created in England after the Reformation. Its current bishop is the Rt Revd John Packer, who has held the post for 14 years.

But the Diocese of Bradford was formed very recently – in 1920. There's nothing particularly historic about it, even though the foundations of its cathedral church date back to the seventh century. Its bishop, the Rt Revd Dr David James, retired in July of this year after eight years, and has not been replaced.

His tenure of office was marked by a period of notable decline. While Ripon & Leeds has seen a trend of steady increases in weekly attendance over the past decade, Bradford has remained static or fallen. The usual Sunday attendance for Bradford in 2008 was 8,700, which was static from 2007. Average weekly attendance fell from 12,500 to 12,300.

Conversely, attendance in Ripon & Leeds in 2008 was 12,300, up from 11,000 in 2007. Its average weekly attendance rose from 14,900 to a staggering 17,100, representing an annual increase of 15 per cent. While Bradford has a smaller population – 683,000 as against 837,000 for Ripon & Leeds - it is clear that organisationally-effective, demographically-relevant and spiritually-inspirational leadership have contributed to the Ripon & Leeds success.

It doesn't help that a minaret is now more prominent in Bradford than the cathedral spire, dominating the heart of a city that has been ripped out and left as a ramshackle building site – soon to become a city centre park after a succession of failed development projects.

The wasteland is cultural as well as physical. The call to prayer hasn't yet replaced the peal of bells, but it is only a matter of time. The reality is that the church’s response to the seismic shift in Bradford's ethnic make-up and dominant religion has been poor.

While Christian schools have closed, Islamic ones have opened. While churches have closed their doors due to declining numbers, mosques have sprouted up all over the place. Eid is virtually a city-wide holiday, while Easter – the most important festival in the Christian calendar – survives only as a remnant of cultural Sabbath hangover.

The Church of England has met the challenge of other faiths not with a virile expression of its virtues or pride in its historical significance, but with multi-faith accommodation and compromise. It is no surprise that a multi-faith education centre built beside Bradford Cathedral closed after just seven months.

It cost a colossal £5m to construct and was projected to attract 40,000 visitors a year. In its first week, it welcomed just 62 paying customers, and attracted fewer than 600 in the peak three weeks of August. Meanwhile, the strong tradition of masculine, Non-Conformist, Evangelical Christianity is resurgent. New groups are springing up throughout Bradford, recruiting disaffected members of the Established Church.

And without spiritual leadership, the diocese is simply an administrative unit – a regional area of a national ministry overseen by a bishop. With nothing special to mark it out in the eyes of the Church, it stands to reason that changes in demographics might cause reassessment of the most efficient ways and means of governance.

Successive incumbents at Westminster have merged offices of state and even abolished some ancient ones as they saw fit: Agriculture is integrated with Fisheries; Education with Skills; and Culture, Media and Sport are all lumped together as though Leeds United playing at Elland Rd were as constitutionally significant as the St Edward's Crown in the Tower of London.

Though, oop north, it probably is.

So merging Bradford with Ripon & Leeds makes sense – especially if quality ministers are in short supply, you are running out of money and your supporters are deserting you.

And on the face of it, HM Government and HM Church have got quite a lot in common: both are fragile coalitions riven with irreconcilable divisions; both are haemorrhaging supporters; both are being subsumed to foreign powers; and both are virtually bankrupt. And both are out of ideas. That is why a merger makes sense to the Church.

But not to anyone else, least of all the dwindling band of Christians in Bradford.

There are 2.4 million Muslims in the UK, but according to the ONS they multiply 10 times faster than the rest of society. The Christian population is declining, only spurred on by Eastern European Roman Catholic immigrants. They are filling the churches in Bradford – Roman Catholic churches. Church of England pews are empty. One of the few reasons for attending is that the Church schools are one of the last bastions of ‘white / Christian’ education, but even that is changing.

Thus, in the hard, gritty northern city of Bradford, the Church of England is being subsumed to the Mosque of England just as nationally the Archbishop of Canterbury is eclipsed by the Pope. Where there is no vision, the people perish. Or get expediently merged.

Allahu Akbah – God is the greatest.

But in Bradford, Jehovah is shunted aside for Allah in the on-going battle to lead the pantheon.

47 Comments:

Anonymous IanVisits said...

You decry the cultural wasteland of Bradford, then cite a litany of examples of how the local culture is opening places of worship, cultural centres and the like.

Accepted, it might not be the culture you personally want to see, but you cannot deny that the city has a thriving and vibrant culture at its heart.

Not quite the wasteland you suggested.

25 October 2010 at 09:18  
Blogger Preacher said...

Dr Cranmer.
It seems the time is right for change. If the CofE is suffering an attack of the vapours in the City of Bradford then pray for & support the 'strong, masculine, evangelical churches' that the Lord is raising up for such a time as this. Because a person has been raised as a Muslim, there is no reason why they shouldn't convert to christianity should they find it reveals Gods love, grace & mercy to them more than Islam does. This fear of Islam among christians is weakening the faith of many, stand up for what you believe.
I have many friends in the CofE, as well as other denominations, but we must not presume that the Anglican church is the sole bastion of the christian faith in this country, nor must we leave the Lord Himself out of the equation.

25 October 2010 at 09:43  
Anonymous Indigo said...

I have heard the muezzin call in several country and, although I am an Anglican Christian, I truly love the sound of the Muslim call to prayer: it is like the voice of an angel, calling down the centuries.

I don't understand why devout people - of whatever faith - don't want to be reminded of the greatness of God four or five times a day. There is only one God, and Mohammed (PBUH) was one of his prophets. Muslims believe that he was God's only prophet, and I respect that belief.

25 October 2010 at 09:55  
Anonymous Indigo said...

... several countries, I mean, of course. For instance, in many places in Tanzania, in Tangier, and in Jerusalem.

25 October 2010 at 09:57  
Anonymous Francis said...

"… it only took the name ‘Ripon & Leeds’ when the major city began to eclipse the cathedral city in population size."

The name change took effect on 3 September 1999. As an ignorant Southerner, I had no idea Leeds (pop. 770,000 approx.) had grown so rapidly and so recently in comparison with Ripon (pop. 16,000)!

25 October 2010 at 10:07  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

As a Bradfordian I commend YG for this analysis - most of which I fully concur with (at least, as far as the established church is concerned. However, we are also home to one the country's largest, most vibrant congregations, as well as various other world-class, pioneering Christian initiatives )

Just one thing to add. Having noticed that the number of clergy was being radically reduced yet the number of Bishops & senior officers seemed remarkably resilient, it was the parish to which I belong which proposed that there should be a proportionate reduction in Bishops.. Maybe this is our reward!

Time to scrap these ancient boundaries and completely redraw them I say. Can anyone inform me of when the last time the parish & diocesan boundaries were revised?

25 October 2010 at 10:13  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Thank you for giving a voice to our frustrations:

‘The Church of England has met the challenge of other faiths not with a virile expression of its virtues or pride in its historical significance, but with multi-faith accommodation and compromise. It is no surprise that a multi-faith education centre built beside Bradford Cathedral closed after just seven months.

‘Meanwhile, the strong tradition of masculine, Non-Conformist, Evangelical Christianity is resurgent. New groups are springing up throughout Bradford, recruiting disaffected members of the Established Church.

‘And without spiritual leadership, the diocese is simply an administrative unit – a regional area of a national ministry overseen by a bishop. With nothing special to mark it out in the eyes of the Church, …’

It is written:

17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. 20 Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”

Ezekiel

25 October 2010 at 10:25  
Blogger Richard said...

IanVisits

Have you been to Bradford recently?

25 October 2010 at 10:45  
Anonymous Orthodoxia y Thanatos said...

Not forgetting the Eastern European Orthodox Christians either.

25 October 2010 at 10:54  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Incidentally (or not!), Bishop David was fine Christian man. However it was sadly symptomatic & symbolic that one of his final acts was to front a march in protest against Israel.

"At the march on Saturday, the Bishop of Bradford, the Right Reverend David James, added his voice to the growing condemnation of the Israeli government’s blockade.

He said: “I think the treatment of people in Gaza is quite horrific and the latest incident just highlights what has been going on for a number of years.

“The innocent people in Gaza are being punished by Israel. They are short of food, or medical supplies, of building supplies and they are on the verge of collapse.”

Mr James added: “The blockade needs to be lifted and if the Israeli government does not lift it, I think the UN, whose security council has condemned it, should send its own flotilla of aid.”

25 October 2010 at 10:59  
OpenID jobeacroftmitchell said...

I am afraid, YG, that your misfortune in not being born in Gods own County has led you to err. I accept that it is not your fault that you are a poor unfortunate shandy drinking quiche eater,and that 'oop Noorth' must, to you, seem but a fabled land, caressed with the ever cooling mist of Gods blessed drizzle; but to equate the City of Bradford with the Diocese of Bradford is to draw misleading conclusions.

The Diocese of Bradford is in fact mostly made up of rural hill farming parishes in the Dales, most of which are in North Yorks with some in Lancashire and Cumbria - it was from here that the woolen wealth which built Bradford originated. In fact, these communities have far more in common with the similarly rural majority in the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds - with Leeds being as much an anacronism in that Diocese as Bradford is in its own patch.

A merger which sees the rural communities united - so as to share the challenges of rural parishes everywhere, whilst joining the urban centres of Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield - representing the most deprived conurbation in Northern England, makes absolute sense.

At the moment, many rural parishes feel sidelined by being 'represented' from large urban centres where 'townies' have little or no understanding of their lives. Conversly, the pastoral challenge in ministering to an enormous geographical area with a scattered flock dilutes the energy which is needed in densly populated and multiply deprived urban areas. If each had a Diocese 'geared up' to deal with two unique sets of circumstances, perhaps the problems which you have rightly identified in Bradford City could be addressed.

25 October 2010 at 11:04  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Indigo, I suggest you watch this short video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib9rofXQl6w&feature=player_embedded

25 October 2010 at 11:24  
Anonymous non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

25 October 2010 at 11:57  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

His Grace will not tolerate any exhortations to blow up mosques. Please grow up.

25 October 2010 at 12:10  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Indigo (9:55)—There is only one God, and Mohammed (PBUH) was one of his prophets.

The ‘only one God’ orders His Muslim followers to ‘Kill them [the unbelievers] wherever you find them.’ (Qur’an 2:191)

He defines unbelievers in Qur’an 5:72—Unbelievers are those that say: ‘Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary.’

On the other hand, Christians are told to abhor violence and love their enemies.

If there really is only one God, He must have concluded that His message of peaceful persuasion was wrong, and replaced it, after a few hundred years, with a message of forceful conversion. In turn, that would suggest that Christianity really is the perverted religion that Islam claims it to be.

25 October 2010 at 12:33  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

To continue the logic of Cranmer’s theme may I suggest the merging of Islam, Christianity and Judaism as I understand that you all claim authority of the same god (in fact I wonder why you went your separate ways). This would avoid a lot of the unpleasantness that we have encountered over the last couple of millennia.

I am sure that Anish Kapoor could come up with a suitable design that incorporates a dome, minaret and a spire and Vivien Westwood could run up some priestly garb. And to ensure that God still has the best tunes and as a symbol of reconciliation why not commission a few more from Pink Floyd.

25 October 2010 at 12:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another who stands corrected, Your Grace. Apologies.

ex Yorks.

25 October 2010 at 12:48  
OpenID yokel said...

Cranmer wrote: "Meanwhile, the strong tradition of masculine, Non-Conformist, Evangelical Christianity is resurgent. New groups are springing up throughout Bradford, recruiting disaffected members of the Established Church."

Let us praise God that He has not abandoned His people, even though the C of E may have abandoned Him.

25 October 2010 at 13:03  
Anonymous Indigo said...

@Johnny Rottenborough 25 October 2010 12:33

You talk as if there had been no Inquisition, no Crusades, no pre-emptive invasion of a sovereign country by the "Christian" President of the USA. As if Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas a Becket had not been murdered for being inconvenient to King Henry II. Etc etc

25 October 2010 at 13:11  
OpenID yokel said...

@ Indigo - 13:11

There is a significant difference between Christianity and Islam in this regard, and you will find it from study of the holy books of both religions.

You will quickly see that those who act as you describe while calling themselves Christians are not acting in accord with the teachings of Christianity.

On the other hand, those Muslims who behave in the same way are acting strictly in accordance with the requirements and teachings of the Koran, Hadith and Sira.

However, for you to get your head round this, you must also understand that the God of the Christians and Jews is not the same as the Allah of Islam. I leave you to conjecture on who the Allah of Islam might actually be.

25 October 2010 at 13:25  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Indigo (13:11)— Mr yokel (13:25) has said it all but I would just add that the Qur’an is thought to contain ‘at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers’. To the best of my knowledge, the New Testament contains no belligerent verses.

Mr Indigo, Muslims are called on to spread Islam by every means, from deception through to violence. Muslims and Christians cannot be worshipping the same God.

25 October 2010 at 14:06  
Blogger FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

What struck me was how this story has been reported in the media.
The Mail on Sunday noted a booming muslim population, coupled with white flight in Bradford.
The BBC in a late night regional news bulletin said nothing at all about muslims but rather 'tough times'- as if it is all George Osborne's fault!!

25 October 2010 at 16:08  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Your Grace:

In the Telegraph a few moments ago by Ed West: Why would Tony Blair's sister-in-law convert to Islam?

25 October 2010 at 18:13  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Ian Visits @ 09.18 ....if not then a ''wasteland'' then at least an abomination!

25 October 2010 at 18:36  
Anonymous Oswin said...

....an 'abomination' that will NOT stand!

25 October 2010 at 18:39  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

25 October 2010 at 18:53  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

The Wasteland

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.



T.S. Eliot (1888–1965). The Waste Land. 1922.

25 October 2010 at 18:56  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

To those of us who repudiate and disavow the Christendom idea in all its manifestations, this doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

And by the way, Cranny, why is it that you post about 'Replacement Theology' at just those times when I am unavailable to comment and to puncture your misunderstanding of Scripture?

25 October 2010 at 19:16  
Anonymous len said...

The Allah Of Islam is definitely NOT the God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob.

www.truthwatch.info/modules.php?op=modload..

25 October 2010 at 20:11  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

I suspect that the mosque minarets are more likely to be prominent in Bradford than the catherdral spire - given that the last time I looked (c 5 years ago) Bradford Cathedral only had a tower! The two mosques you picture hardly dominate the city since one is about half a mile from the centre and the other is a mile away. The city centre hasn't had its heart ripped out - the town hall, the cathdral and Little Germany and much other impressive Victorian architecture is still there.

This posting just demonstrates yet again how Cranmer will twist most things (including a small interenal reorganisation of the CofE) in order to support his own narrow stance. Anyone one reading Cranmer needs to do their own research before taking what he says as being gospel.

25 October 2010 at 20:12  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@tory boys never grow up

I don't remember Cranmer saying that the particular mosques pictured dominate the city.

And I beg to differ anyway. The top one is brand new and is clearly visible from the the City - particularly from Foster Square. It's positioning is also interesting as it is directly behind and ABOVE (that is always crucial in Islam) Bradford's largest church congregation.

The Cathedral doesn't have a spire, and is mainly obscured by the non-conformist hall that - in a great display of Christian unity - was deliberately built to obscure the cathedral and which now has a disastrous multi-cultural centre tacked onto it.

Many of the Mosques don't have Minarets and there are plenty of them within a very short distance of the city centre. Though there are also many Christian congregations just in or around the city centre that also don't meet in traditional 'church' buildings.

You are correct about the continued presence of many impressive pieces of Victorian architecture but I think any honest Bradfordian would have to say that the city centre is a diabolical shambles with no heart - unless you consider a thriving economy of £1 shops the sign of a vibrant, healthy civic life.

All goes to show that Cranmer is actually much better informed that your usual blogger/journalist. And I bet this post even taught you a thing or two about it's ecclesiastical history.

25 October 2010 at 20:31  
Anonymous Sam Vega said...

What could the C of E do to reverse this decline? Almost any action on its part would be likely to be perceived as provocative or even threatening by Muslims. "Where there is no vision, the people perish" may well be true. But can anyone say what form this vision could possibly take for it to be effective?

25 October 2010 at 20:34  
Blogger LeucipottomySpoon82 said...

Afraid you made a bit of a booboo with the link there Len. So I hope you don't mind if I post it again:

http://www.truthwatch.info/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=83

25 October 2010 at 20:56  
Anonymous len said...

Leucipottomyspoon 82,

Thanks,

25 October 2010 at 22:39  
Anonymous Indigo said...

How wonderful, To Miss With Love resumes - on the Daily Telegraph web site

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/katharinebirbalsingh/100060728/eton-is-a-wonderful-school-because-of-its-boys-not-its-buildings/

25 October 2010 at 22:47  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Rebel Saint

"I don't remember Cranmer saying that the particular mosques pictured dominate the city."

How about here ---



"It doesn't help that a minaret is now more prominent in Bradford than the cathedral spire, dominating the heart of a city that has been ripped out and left as a ramshackle building site – soon to become a city centre park after a succession of failed development projects. "

The Mahdni Mosque you refer to is a good mile from Forster Square - it may be visible but it is difficult to dominate the cathedral in the same square from such a distance. Bradford is like a bowl so most ground is higher than the centre.

As for the mess in the centre of Bradford I think you will find that it is mnore due to Mammon (and Westfield) than religion of any denomination so it really is something of an irrelevance to waht Cranmer was saying.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westfield_Bradford

25 October 2010 at 22:51  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Tory Boy

Before we start getting a bit anal, the Al Mahdi Mosque is less 1/3rd mile from Foster Sq, less than 1/2 a mile from the Cathedral and just over 1/2 a mile from the town hall.

Because of it's elevated position it is much easier to see from many points of the city. Let others be the judge of that here or see the view from the mosque here.

And on the general point, mosques (with or without minarets) are becoming more & more numerous & prominent across the city.

But whilst you've been straining at gnats, you've swallowed the camel. The point of the article was the general ascendency of Islam and the decline & withdrawal of the established church - the physical state of the city centre being symbolic of the spiritual heart transplant that is taking place. The CofE is planning mergers & takeovers & cost-cutting, and throws money down the drain on ill-conceived multi-faith centres. Meanwhile a 2,000 seat mosque is built overlooking down on us all, and the 8,000 seat Suffa tul-Islam mosque awaits completion right next door to the student heartland.

26 October 2010 at 00:01  
Anonymous not a machine said...

The last time I visted Bradford was to visit its museum of Televison .
The rest is inevitable consequence.

Pantheonism is perhaps a sort of bearocracy , a god for ones particular interests profession or circumstances . In the end you have certain feast days , lobby groups and rivalry based upon need culminating in a rush to one temple when the city is under duress .

"no one can come to the father except through jesus" shapes society in a different way somthing we are losing as living gospel .

Let alone being sure of our faith .

26 October 2010 at 01:18  
Anonymous tory boys never grow up said...

The picture of the mosque you link to is not the one you initially referred to in Cranmer's article. The Al Mahdi Mosque is in Thornhill Road which is exactly where I said it was.

Clearly all mosques may look alike to you - and their domination of Bradford is clearly in your's and Cranmer's eyes only. You'll be telling us next that the town hall tower looks like a minaret as well!

26 October 2010 at 09:47  
Anonymous tory boys never grow up said...

Of course the City (apologies) Hall bell tower was based on an Italian campanile which were probably based on minarets

http://www.chapatimystery.com/archives/imperial_watch/from_minaret_to_steeple.html

History has no respect for prejudice I'm afraid.

26 October 2010 at 10:16  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@tory boys

Since you are being anally retentive let me apply a suppository of geographical facts.

The images Cranmer used are generic pictures used in order to illustrate his point (the point which you seem to missing entirely), presumably gained by typing "Bradford Mosque" into Google. The first image he uses is not the Al Mahdi Mosque as you suggest but the Madni Jamia Mosque on Thornbury Road (which is what you presumably meant by Thornhill Road).

The 2nd image is Ripon Cathedral just in case you should want to pull His Grace up for trying to deceive people into thinking it is Bradford Cathedral.

The 3rd image, unless I am mistaken (for as you rightly state, I am no expert on Mosque architecture) looks very much like the Suffa tul-Islam mosque in Horton Park.

Neither of these buildings dominate the city centre skyline - and I don't think His Grace was suggesting that they do. Most of us are sensible enough to realise that the images Cranmer uses in his posts are probably just stock pictures used to illustrate a point.

The Al Mahdi Mosque,(Rees Way, Undercliffe), is quite visible & dominant on the city's skyline. And as I have mentioned it sits only a matter of yards away from - and above - one of the county's largest Christian congregations. Had a large 2,000 Christian place of worship been built in a similar position relative to a mosque there would have been outcries of "provocation"

Are you suggesting that Islam isn't a dominant feature of the city? Are you suggesting that Islam isn't becoming more prominent or ascendant? Are you suggesting that mosques are not becoming more numerous and on a grander scale? Are you really suggesting that the historical place of the established church is not being supplanted by Islam and/or 'inter-faith' bodies? Have you really missed the entire point of the article to argue about the geographical position of some of the stock photos Cranmer has used?

26 October 2010 at 10:41  
Anonymous tory boys never grow up said...

Rebel Saint

You are the one who is arguing that mosques are becoming a dominant feature of Bradford city centre - they are not, and the domination is just because of where you are focussing your own myopic attention (although you clearly have problems in telling mosques apart). The errors you and Cranmer make really just demonstrate how you are trying to talk up the actual prominence of mosques and Islam within Bradford and elsewhere in the UK for your own narrow political ends. Cranmer's original point was about the weakness of the CofE in Yorkshire - I suspect that this can be attributed to its own failings rather than the actions of the Moslems, particularly since the decline is mirrored in other parts of the country where there are much smaller Moslem populations. Indeed as someone which much greater knowledge of the CofE in Yorkshire has pointed out - the dioceses concerned largely cover the rural areas of Yorkshire where there are much smaller Moslem populations.

I for one belonging to no religion am prepared to be tolerant of all religions providing that they do not impose themselves on myself or others. And if the price of such tolerance is having a few churches and mosques with interesting architecture so be it. You should remember that Sarejevo was considered the jewel of the Balkans until similar bigotry took hold - and that the great churches in Seville and Cordoba used to be mosques and vice versa in Istanbul. The vast majority of people in Bradford are prepared to rub along happily together - and it is only a small minority of idiots who try and use differences to inflame those that they disagree with. Bradford has a long and proud history of absorbing immigrants and really doesn't need any advice from the likes of you or Cranmer.

26 October 2010 at 11:33  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Tory Boy

You really do seem to have missed Cranmer's point entirely. As well as getting fixated on the geography of stock photos, you seem to be addressing arguments and assertions that nobody seems to have made. (And correct me if I'm wrong ... but wasn't it you who said that the Al Mahdi mosque was on Thornhill Rd, when in fact what you meant to say was the Madni Jamia Mosque on Thornbury Road?) And yes, most mosques do look the same to me - as do most traditional church buildings.

Anyhow, thank you for your diagnosis of myopia. I hope you don't mind if I get a 2nd diagnosis from someone who hasn't got their head firmly embedded in the sand.

26 October 2010 at 12:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“2.4 million Muslims in the UK”

That number was based on the last census and probably underreported the actual number. The true number today must be at least twice, if not three times that figure. No small wonder then that the ConDems, the moment they formed a government, said that the 2011 census would be the last. The scale of colonisation is to be covered up. They know that a 2021 census would expose the shameful truth that in less than three-quarters of a century the indigenous peoples of these islands will be on the cusp of being a minority in their own homeland with Islam as the dominant religion. Remind me, who was the true Conservative who was persecuted for his genocidal prophesy?

26 October 2010 at 16:30  
Anonymous Oswin said...

I tend to think of mosques as a form of repository for future hardcore/foundation requirements for other building purposes....

26 October 2010 at 19:39  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Not least, Bradford and Leeds are both are in the gritty county of West Yorkshire

Yes and comprise >50% population of said county and exceed the population of North Yorkshire. However Bradford mosques are Saudi financed and are business centres as much as places of worship...if only Churches ran cash-based businesses....

The Diocesan Levy in Bradford is oppressive and drives congregations to despair....it is time to introduce Presbyterianism into Bradford and remove the episcopacy completely.

Why England needs >100 Bishops in a telecommunications age is unclear - 10 for England would suffice.

26 October 2010 at 22:29  
Anonymous Pageantmaster said...

Interesting, and, just coincidentally, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds has recently moved West to Leeds from Ripon, which just happens to be much closer to Bradford.

However, the Archdeacon of Bradford reckons this is not a done deal.

27 October 2010 at 14:37  

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