Protect our mosques from the far right
“Recent attacks on British mosques show that our freedom of worship is under threat from extremists”
* Unfortunately the Bunglawussi forgets to mention the constant Islamic attacks on churches Â in Islamic and Western countries. In Europe, most synagogues have been firebombed and Jews have been pelted with stones. In Egypt, the remaining Coptic Christians are under siege, as we can see here:
Fear of massacre grips Christian village in Egypt
Whenever Muslims are seen “dancing and chanting ‘Come to Jihad’ and the ‘Cross is the enemy of God” outside the homes of grossly outnumbered indigenous Christians, who are further oppressed by the state, massacres become very real possibilities. More onÂ this story.
“Fear of Massacre Grips Christian Village in Egypt; Crops Destroyed,” fromÂ AINA
- UK Compo Jihad:Â Â Muslim Cop Sues Force after Boss Says He Looks Like Osama
- (UK) Domino’s Pizza Goes Halal…
- Muslim Mob Invades Coptic Church, Smashing and Slashing…
- Silent on Iran, Muslim Leaders Find Voice over Veil Remarks…
- Pakistani Muslims Beat 14-Year-Old Boy for Being Christian…
But none of the above matters for this die hard agit-prop from the MCB, who defends “universal values” like the burka, otherwise known as the freedom sack, as we can see here:Â How to ban theÂ veil?
TheÂ arson attackÂ on Greenwich Islamic Centre just after midnight last Tuesday which caused about Â£10,000 of damage could have been much worse had it not been for the bravery of the mosque’s caretaker, Mohammed Koheeli.
Mr Koheeli received burns on his left arm and to the side of his face as he tried to fight the blaze while waiting for the fire brigade to arrive. The Greenwich borough commander, Richard Wood, has assured worshipers at the mosque that he has “assigned a team of highly trained detectives” to the case. No one has been arrested to date over the attack but many worshipers suspect it to have been far-right inspired.
The arson attack on the Greenwich mosque comes after a very similar attack on a mosque in Luton last month, which I blogged aboutÂ at the time,Â and an attack on a mosque inÂ Bishop’s StortfordÂ the month before that. Those attacks too are believed by the worshippers to have been far-right inspired, with the Luton one coming as it did in the wake of several written threats of a racist nature.
Over at the website of the BNP, there is an article decrying the “Islamification” of Britain, citing in evidence the number of churches that have been converted to mosques in recent years. Here are just a couple of example comments left on that site by readers responding to the article: “Did our ancestors sweat building beautiful places of worship for them to be converted into temples for Muslim foreigners?”
“As far as I am aware, I don’t think any churches in Scotland have been turned into mosques. This is very shocking. I hope and pray it never happens here. It is bad enough when former churches are turned into pubs … ”
Of course, in the eyes of BNP supporters it may well be better for a church to be converted into a pub than to a place meant for reflection and the remembrance of God. But what are the facts about mosques and churches? The website of the Church Society contains records ofÂ Church of England attendanceÂ and they show a decline in Sunday worshippers from 1,606,000 (1968) to 871,000 in 2006. That is a 46% fall-off in less than 40 years. Given that very dramatic fall, it is evident that it must be becoming increasingly difficult for many smaller Christian congregations â€“ sometimes with an average age ofÂ more than 60 or 70Â â€“ to afford the maintenance costs associated with churches. It can hardly be a surprise that some are being sold.
If the BNP is genuinely interested in preserving our churches as churches then surely the place to start is by convincing the 94% of Christians who no longer go to church regularly of the merits of doing so, instead of inciting hatred of Muslims for practicing their own faith.
Of course, the more likely explanation is that the BNP is not really serious at all about Christianity in the first place, but have simply seized on the issue of some former churches being purchased by British Muslims as a useful opportunity to incite hatred against them. After all, the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, is on record asÂ having said in 2006: “We should be positioning ourselves to take advantage for our own political ends of the growing wave of public hostility to Islam currently being whipped up by the mass media.”
The earliest mosques in the UK were usually just converted houses. As British Muslim communities have become more settled and wealthier they have been able to afford to buy larger premises.
For more than 20 years I lived in Ilford, Essex. The mosque I regularly attended there in Albert Road was formerly a Methodist church: its Christian congregation had dwindled over the years and the premises were sold to local Muslims looking for a permanent place of worship and teaching for their children.
In the same area, the local Sikh community a few years back built their own magnificentÂ Karamsar GurdwaraÂ on the site of the former Labour party hall. That gurdwara would always elicit a smile from me when I drove past it on the Ilford High Road. Just one look at theÂ gorgeous pink sandstone structureÂ and you are instantly transported to Rajasthan.
That reminds me of an incident that happened to me one Sunday morning about 20 years ago, not long after I had passed my driving test. I had stepped out of my home and had just got into my car when two elderly Indian ladies opened my rear car door and sat down on the back seats. I had absolutely no idea who they were, but they just pointed their bony fingers straight ahead and chattered away in Punjabi. I did not understand what they were saying, but could just about make out the word “gurdwara”. I followed their finger instructions, and a few minutes later was dropping off two happy old women at a gurdwara near Barking. That memory also brings a smile to my face.
I don’t know if we will be seeing more arson attacks on mosques around the UK. One of the most wonderful aspects of living in the UK for me up until now has been our commitment to freedom of worship.