Friday, 16 July 2010
Bishop speaks out against Radical Islam
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali: "Radical Islam is filling void left by collapse of Christianity in UK"
The decline of Christian values is destroying Britishness and has created a "moral vacuum" which radical Islam is filling, one of the Church of England's leading bishops has warned.
Pakistani born Dr Nazir-Ali faced death threats in 2008 after he said some parts of Britain had become "no-go areas" for non-Muslims. The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, claimed the "social and sexual" revolution of the 1960s had led to a steep decline in the influence of Christianity over society which church leaders had failed to resist. He said that in its place, Britain had become gripped by the doctrine of "endless self-indulgence" which had led to the destruction of family life, rising levels of drug abuse and drunkenness and mindless violence on the streets.
The bishop warns that the modern politicians' catchphrases of respect and tolerance will not be strong enough to prevent this collapse of traditional virtues, and said radical Islam is now moving in to fill the void created by the decline of Christianity.
His claims, in an article published in the new political magazine Standpoint, come just days after he accused the Church of England of failing in its duty to convert British Muslims to Christianity.
Dr Nazir-Ali claims in the new article that Britain, previously a "rabble of mutually hostile tribes", would never have become a global empire without the arrival of Christianity.
But he said the Church's influence began to wane during the 1960s, and quotes an academic who blames the loss of "faith and piety among women" for the steep decline in Christian worship.
He says Marxist students encouraged a "social and sexual revolution" to which liberal theologians and Church leaders "all but capitulated".
"It is this situation that has created the moral and spiritual vacuum in which we now find ourselves. While the Christian consensus was dissolved, nothing else, except perhaps endless self-indulgence, was put in its place."
The bishop, who faced death threats earlier this year when he said some parts of Britain had become "no-go areas" for non-Muslims, said Marxism has been exposed as a nonsense but went on: "We are now confronted by another equally serious ideology, that of radical Islamism, which also claims to be comprehensive in scope."
Asking what weapons are available to fight this new "ideological battle", the bishop said the values trumpeted by modern politicians such as "respect, tolerance and good behaviour" are "hardly adequate for the task before us".
"The consequences of the loss of this discourse are there for all to see: the destruction of the family because of the alleged parity of different forms of life together; the loss of a father figure, especially for boys, because the role of fathers is deemed otiose; the abuse of substances (including alcohol); the loss of respect for the human person leading to horrendous and mindless attacks on people."
The bishop added that Christian hospitality has been replaced by the "newfangled and insecurely founded" doctrine of multiculturalism, which has led to immigrants creating "segregated communities and parallel lives".
He said many values respected by society, such as the dignity of human life, equality and freedom, are based on Christian ones. But he warned that without their Christian backbone they cannot exist for ever, and that new belief systems may be based on different values.
"Radical Islamism, for example, will emphasise the solidarity of the umma (worldwide community of the Muslim faithful) against the freedom of the individual.
"Instead of the Christian virtues of humility, service and sacrifice, there may be honour, piety and the importance of 'saving face'."
In an implicit criticism of the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent claim that the adoption of some parts of Islamic law is unavoidable, Dr Nazir-Ali said: "Recognising its jurisdiction in terms of public law is fraught with difficulties precisely because it arises from a different set of assumptions from the tradition of law here."
He said that the Church of England must retain its importance in public life even if it does not remain privileged as the established church.
"It is necessary to understand where we have come from, to guide us to where we are going, and to bring us back when we wander too far from the path of national destiny."