Thinking Anglicans

The challenge of Islam

Updated Wednesday morning

Michael Nazir-Ali , who retires from his current post on Tuesday, has given his final interview, as Bishop of Rochester, to Martin Beckford at the Telegraph.

See Bishop of Rochester: Church of England must do more to counter twin threats of secularism and radical Islam.

However, he will be continuing to speak out on this topic, as evidenced by this announcement from a right-wing Washington DC think tank, the Ethics and Public Policy Center:

EVENT: Agressive Secularism, Multiculturalism, and the Islamist Threat
A Lecture with Bishop Michael James Nazir-Ali
.

As Jim Naughton notes at Episcopal Café in CANA and the coming campaign against Islam:

CANA is also announcing a new program on “the Church and Islam” led by Canon Julian Dobbs, formerly of the vigorously anti-Islamic Barnabas Fund.

See the CANA press release: CANA Announces the “Church and Islam Project” and the website The Church and Islam.

Update See also Bishop of Rochester to aid persecuted Christians in Islamic world by Ruth Gledhill.

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Göran Koch-Swahne
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I think you need to take the anti Modern dissing of other religions and world views seriously. It risks getting out of hand rather easily, vs the Birthers and such persons…

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Given Christianity’s long history of barging into the native lands of other religions, declaring their adherents “heathens” and “pagans” and, often, forcibly proselytizing them, I think it ill behooves any modern Christian leader to complain of an overly aggressive Islamic threat. As for “aggressive secularism”, perhaps it wouldn’t need to be so aggressive if those like Nazir-Ali and the CANA crowd weren’t so apt to reject secular knowledge that contradicts their long-held religiously based biases. Or if they weren’t so quick to declare anyone who thought even a little differently from them–even fellow Christians–as beyond the pale. If you wish… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Given Christianity’s long history of barging into the native lands of other religions, declaring their adherents “heathens” and “pagans” and, often, forcibly proselytizing them, I think it ill behooves any modern Christian leader to complain of an overly aggressive Islamic threat. As for “aggressive secularism”, perhaps it wouldn’t need to be so aggressive if those like Nazir-Ali and the CANA crowd weren’t so apt to reject secular knowledge that contradicts their long-held religiously based biases. Or if they weren’t so quick to declare anyone who thought even a little differently from them–even fellow Christians–as beyond the pale. If you wish… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

This visitation is most unwelcome. Here where I live in Virginia, the local paper regularly gets anti-Islam letters to the editor. A couple of years ago the paper featured a page long editorial claiming that all Islam was radical. Of course, some of the same letter writers refer to our president as “HUSSEIN Obama,” and many of these are also ‘birthers.’ The combination of ignorance, prejudice and rage is just plain scary. Many of you Im sure have seen the town hall screaming matches. I do think beneath a lot of the rage is racism. We’ve, alas, got lots of… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“We now have people in the US but not only there who believe things about God, about salvation, about marriage and about human sexuality that seems to be another religion” – Bp. Nazir-Ali – In his Telegraph interview with Martin Beckford, the retiring Bishop of Rochester seeks further to excoriate the Anglican Church in North America with his out-dated and homophobic rhetoric about the LGBT community in the Church. His pathetic attempt to align himself with the two-strata Covenant movement may help him to retain some sort of dignity with his fellow conservatives in the Church of England, but will… Read more »

Steve Lusk
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Steve Lusk

Didn’t CANA used to warn us that if the Anglican Communion become known as “the church of the homosexuals,” it would expose our African brothers and sisters to the murderous wrath of the radical mullahs? But now CANA itself says that “Islam represents and promotes a litany of human rights abuses, oppression and aggression” and vows to convert as many Moslems as it can.

RosemaryHannah
Guest
RosemaryHannah

This makes me even more unhappy than their attitude to queer folk. Alarm bells always ring at ‘so-called’. The last thing we need for peace, either abroad or in our own communities, is an attack on ‘so-called’ moderate Islam – pushing it into extremism. ‘See, father, my mates were right – they have no respect for us…’

It is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Cheryl Va.
Guest

It is a problem to attempt to counter radical or fundamentalist religions with equally radical or fundamentalist thinking. We see this in Christians who are so obsessed about winning the argument that they have hyperbolised Jesus so far that the other elements of God no longer exist or are subsumed into some totalitarian vision. (It is also a manipulative strategy to pretend to newly converted muslims that they are not guilty of polytheism and thus apostatic). The testosterone pissing contests between various prophets/gods/messiahs/angels will not lead to victory. Rather all become discredited as they resort to unscrupulous and cruel strategies… Read more »

lapsang
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lapsang

For some unknown reason, I regularly receive mailings from the Barnabas Fund. Where did they get my details? I somehow doubt they got them from Watch, Changing Attitude, Inclusive Church or Affirming Catholicism, all of which I belong to. Anyway, I have sent them an email asking I be removed from all their databases. I will wait to see what happens. Bit worrying though. What does the postman think?

BillyD
Guest

I am not fond of Islam* (Arab culture and aesthetics are another thing). But the Anglican Evangelical fixation on the Muslim world as as enemy is scary, especially in view of the violent words (and perhaps actions) of ++Abuja towards Nigerian Muslims.

*full disclosure: I’m also not fond of the LDS, the different Baptist bodies, American Old Catholics, Sydney “Anglicanism,” or saffron. There are many things I am not fond of; for a full listing, write me privately and I’ll try to have a partial catalog ready by Christmas

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

One take on this new-old ramping up of the religious and culture wars, complete with more occasions of weaponized preaching by the vaunted Nazir Ali and others, is perhaps the obvious, simple answer to our pending CANA conservative Anglican question: Who is the next target on the enemy lists? In a Rushdoonian tone, Nazir Ali is hostile to all the contemporary (and often quite democratic or progressive?) phenoms he wants us to gloss as ‘secular.’ This is not only sloppy ethics, sloppy theology, it is outright dangerous in a global village terrorized by any number of hot button sharp differences,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Bp. Nazir-Ali ought to take note from a far more celebrated (yet humbler) Christian Apologist than his good self – Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis chose to go and talk to the Sultan, risking his own life in that enterprise. It was Francis’ Gospel of Peace that prompted the Sultan to invite him to a meal with him, and to discuss the Peace of Christ that Francis brought with him. How the world needs the pacific intentions of a new Francis. Perhaps if Bishop Nazir-Ali were a little more Muslim-tolerant, he might even be allowed back into Pakistan to preach… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

So painfully out of touch. The changes related to gay people have been accepted in the UK. They are only an issue for a small number of fanatics – yet he doesn’t seem to realise this.

Leonel
Guest
Leonel

If only he would get over not having been appointed ABC, maybe Nazir-Ali would find some peace.

Father Ed
Guest

Just interested Cheryl, what is this extra-ordinary new religion you as espousing? It is certainly not Christian. And do you REALLY mean to imply that Jesus was prejudiced against women?

Counterlight
Guest
Counterlight

If people really are intent on refighting the sectarian wars of the 12th and 13th centuries (The Crusades), then count me out. I’ll sit out this World War III with the secularists while Christianity and Islam bomb each other into oblivion. Unlike Dawkins and Hitchens, I won’t be laughing. I’ll be weeping over the radioactive ashes of Jerusalem.

Remind me again, how many liberal religious or liberal secularist suicide bombers are out there?

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

The Challenge of Islam should be a real and concrete warning that the extremism that has infested it can readily happen to Christianity, and the resultant fundamentalist society it breeds is anything but vision of heaven.

Wake up and realize it can happen to you!

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“He (Nazir-Ali) is also in talks with a leading theological college attached to a university – not Oxford – about accreditation for the courses he will be offering.” – Ruth Geldhill, Times on line – (Will these courses be fundamentalist Christian?) “The overall point is to enable countries and religious communities to agree on and then respect fundamental freedoms, freedom of belief and expression and freedom to change your belief. In terms of churches, I am very concerned that they should be strengthened to live in their very demanding contexts.” – Bp. Nazir-Ali – What Bp. Nazir-Ali should remember, is… Read more »

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

If Christ tarries, I think another 12 years of ignoring such warnings in England will prove whether Bp. Nazir-Ali is a true Prophet of God or just another noise maker. May God spare all our lives till then, though I pray the warnings are not ignored.

MarkBrunson
Guest

Oh, I don’t think he’s a noisemaker; he’s a dangerous nationalistic rabble-rouser posing as a Christian cleric.

The English heard too many such voices over the course of two world wars to be much impressed, and the rest of us have seen too many just like him leading the conservative “anglican” movement to be fooled.

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

‘Oh, I don’t think he’s a noisemaker; he’s a dangerous nationalistic rabble-rouser posing as a Christian cleric. The English heard too many such voices over the course of two world wars to be much impressed, and the rest of us have seen too many just like him leading the conservative “anglican” movement to be fooled.’ What a foul summary of a Bishop in God’s church who is prayerful, faithful, obedient and caring. As a priest in his diocese (and from a very different tradition) I have nothing bad to say about him. If every cleric were as God-centred and devout… Read more »

Gerry Lynch
Guest
Gerry Lynch

Oh great! Just when it looks like you’ve managed to finish one holy war, along come people wanting to start a different one.

RosemaryHannah
Guest
RosemaryHannah

Yes, Ed, but possibly not a better grasp of what makes trouble and what does not.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The deeply worrisome thing about Nazir-Ali’s piety – indeed a great many pieties on display among conservative Anglican realignment leaders/thinkers? – is exactly how their profound piety reinforces their patent abilities to do two very troublesome things. One trouble nearly constant with Nazir Ali and others is a very bad habit (especially given Anglican traditions/precedents?) of dumbing down every hot button cultural or religious controversy. Things get simplified down, more or less to about USA fifth grade levels. Then all we get are inadequate glosses – about good/evil, right/wrong, Us/Them, Salvation/Doomsday. Christ Against Culture (See Niebuhr for starters?) is one… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“As a priest in his diocese (and from a very different tradition) I have nothing bad to say about him.”

Yes Ed, but perhaps that’s because you both share a common Bigger Picture than mere differences of High vs. Low? You’re both happy apologists for “The Gays (and their friends) = BAD!” (To wit, “what is this extra-ordinary new religion you as espousing? It is certainly not Christian”: back atcha!)

I will join drdanfee in an “Alas. Lord have mercy”…

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“What a foul summary of a Bishop in God’s church who is prayerful, faithful, obedient and caring. As a priest in his diocese (and from a very different tradition) I have nothing bad to say about him. If every cleric were as God-centred and devout as this man the world would be a better place.” – Ed Tomlinson – Well, Well! Believe it or not, Ed, this is precisely what may be said about Bishop Gene Robinson – except that Gene has not initiated a crusade of insitutional hatred of gays and liberals in the Church. I am reminded of… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

“What a foul summary of a Bishop in God’s church who is prayerful, faithful, obedient and caring. As a priest in his diocese (and from a very different tradition) I have nothing bad to say about him. If every cleric were as God-centred and devout as this man the world would be a better place. And to those hinting at nationalism et al…let us not forget this is a Pakistani speaking who has a FAR better grasp of Islam than you do. “ We’re also familiar – far too familiar – with his propaganda ministers, Eddie-boy. Stop talking nonsense! He’s… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I’m with JCF.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

If I wanted to learn about Islam, the very last person I would ask is someone whose immediate family converted from Islam to another religion – it would be all too obvious that their perspective would be deeply hostile in consequence of course, what is amusing – and again, typical of converts, is that he espouses a narrow and fundamentalist view of Christianity which has much in common with Islam’s conservative wing, although he would be unable to see this. Nazir-Ali is, in a single person, most of what is wrong with the Church of England, both personally (smug, self-promoting,… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Oh, and I suggest you look towards Liverpool Hope for accreditation, where the Rector is a known evangelical, and a colonial to boot.

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

These comments about +Michael Nazir-Ali simply prove what a narrow minded, bigoted and uncompromising group of people you are. Unable to see any good in one whose theology differs from yours you simply resort to attacking the man. If you had actually met him you would know that he is neither smug nor self-promoting. Far from being outdated he is visionary enough to sit between various traditions and look to the pressing issues of our day. Certainly I would not expect arch-liberals such as comment on here frequently to love his theology but your vitriol really does you no favours.

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Father Ed Not espousing a new religion. God and I had many discussions in 2001 and I made it quite clear that a new religion was not the solution to this planet’s problems. It might somehow fluke its way work, and might even go wonderfully well by some miracle for a few hundred years. But then the whole set of problems of ego posturing and territory preservation would kick in. Instead, what was required was to reform the existing religions. Jesus and his Christians have behaved no better than the other religions (witness the court determininations against Irish religious institutes… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

“Certainly I would not expect arch-liberals such as comment on here frequently to love his theology but your vitriol really does you no favours.”

Neither does it coming from a man such as himself with his position downriver from London, and he should at least know better. Remember that “Arch-Liberals” such as myself probably aren’t going to get much beyond this blogsite with our “vitrrol”, but his gets in all the international papers!

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Ed: if you weren’t so narrow minded yourself, you might realise that some of us simply don’t agree with anything Nazir-Ali – or you, for that matter, believe in. I realise you may find this hard to believe, but some people don’t like your religion or your beliefs and see no reason why we should compromise with such harmful opinions.

BillyD
Guest

“Not espousing a new religion. God and I had many discussions in 2001 and I made it quite clear that a new religion was not the solution to this planet’s problems. “

Yes, well, um, glad you could talk some sense into the old boy. (*backs slowly away*)

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Certainly I would not expect arch-liberals such as comment on here frequently to love his theology but your vitriol really does you no favours.” Let’s take this in context, Fr. Ed. Below is a quote from the bishop: “We now have people in the US but not only there who believe things about God, about salvation, about marriage and about human sexuality that seems to be another religion” – Bp. Nazir-Ali” Now my problem with this is simple: this is not new. From my point of view, we have for a long time had people in England, but not only… Read more »