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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

PC Plod, the Bishop of Gloucester and Germaine Greer

Police Constable Plod is no longer. Nowadays he would be Officer Plod. We seldom if ever hear references to constables unless he or she is a Chief Constable. All are 'officers' with their unique form of police speak (here).

The Home Secretary recently gave the Police Force a hard time for not displaying the diversity apparent in our community but she missed the opportunity to advance the LGBT cause while bemoaning the shortage of colour and gender diversity in the ranks and upper police officer hierarchy (senior police staff). Echoing Alexander Boot (here), a male to female transgender constable may offer better protection than a mere slip of a girl if needed!

The notion that everyone could, or should, do anything regardless of ability suitability aptitude desire is supposed to ensure that we have the appropriate politically correct (PC) mix but this leads to ever more confusion.

The new Bishop of Gloucester, the first woman diocesan to sit in the House of Lords, sent back the first version of the writ of summons because it termed her a "right reverend father in God". She did not like the connotations of 'right reverend mother in God' so it was decided that she should be described simply as "bishop". Presumably it had not occurred to her that women bishops are a novelty accepted only by a tiny minority in the Universal Church and the oddity was that she was there at all.

Clearly not content with Jesus Christ's teaching that His disciples should pray "Our Father in heaven  ...", one of Rachel Treweek's first utterances in an interview before taking her seat in the Lords was that God should not necessarily be seen as a masculine figure. Choosing to take her lead from the Old Testament rather than the New Covenant she said "In the creation narratives, we’re told that God created human beings in God’s likeness, and then it goes on to talk about male and female."

"Male and female" is an old fashioned concept which has landed Germaine Greer in hot water with the LGBT community in Cardiff University for daring to express a view which contradicts theirs. As society tries to get to grips with the new found wisdom of choice rather than fact, more exceptions have to be made. Then reality strikes.

The question, Why Can't Two Gay Brothers Marry? is posed in Charisma News on the basis that "One of the strongest arguments against consensual adult incest is that incestuous unions could result in children with genetic defects, but since that concern wouldn't apply to same-sex couples, an Irish political leader has argued that gay cousins should be allowed to "marry." And that only begs the next obvious question: Why not gay brothers or gay sisters?"

My thanks to Anglican Mainstream (AM) for the Charisma News link but it was a subsequent AM link which raised my eyebrows in disbelief when I read about the first tampons for transgenders to permit the full female experience. It seems that the claim was a send up but for how long the way things are moving. One thing was missing however. To be fully appreciative a good punch below the belt would give the added pain experienced by many women. That is something at which the LGBT community is becoming increasingly adept, especially towards those who have enabled them to be where they are today.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Physician heal thyself!

Credit: BBC/AP

The Archbishop of Wales has criticised former Prime Minister Tony Blair over his 'emphatic defence' of the Iraq war. Blair was 'gung-ho' on Iraq invasion, says the Archbishop. Mr Blair has apologised for mistakes in the conflict but says without invasion Iraq might have become another Syria. Dr Morgan said the implications of the actions should have been considered. Report here.

That's rich coming from the Archbishop who is primarily responsible for the current parlous state of the Church in Wales after imposing his liberal values on her. Could he not see the consequences of pursuing the same failed policies which led to the decimation of the US Episcopal Church? Wise after the event on Iraq he must have been willfully blind to events which result in the collapse of the historic Parish system in Wales and in less than 1% of the population of Wales attending the Church of which he is Archbishop.

Also, I very much doubt that the Archbishop and the Bench considered the implications of their emotional response to the "refugee" crisis. From the Facing Islam Blog: "As millions of more Muslims continue to flood the continent, they will not be limited to expressing their anti-Christian hostility on the unprotected dead in cemeteries, or on inanimate church buildings, statues, and crosses. Rather, as in the Islamic world, native Christians themselves will be hounded and persecuted, possibly into extinction".

Dr Morgan said "It would seem to me that if you are the prime minister, it's no good just removing one regime without thinking what's going to replace it". So what is to replace the Church in Wales after extinction? It would seem to me that if you are Archbishop, Dr Morgan, you should ensure that members of the Church in Wales who wish to keep the faith benefit from arrangements already established in England. Physician heal thyself!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Persecuted and Forgotten? - Christian wipe out

Please do not skip this heart-rending video

"Islamic State's daily abductions, murders and beheadings on Christians have come close to wiping out the faith completely in Syria" warns Jean-Clement Jeanbart, the Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo who has been in London to call for action in Syria. Christianity has been almost completely destroyed by ISIS fanatics in Syria, he said. At least 1,000 Christians had been abducted and murdered in Aleppo. Report here

This is no exaggeration. The vast exodus of Christians from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East highlights the very real possibility that Christianity could soon all but disappear from much of its ancient homeland. Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has published a report 'Persecuted and Forgotten?' which assesses the deepening plight of Christians in 22 countries of concern. Drawing on testimony from witnesses of persecution, the report shows why Christians are the world’s most persecuted faith group. Executive Summary here.

There is no escape from this brutality. According to this report an Iranian man was severely beaten in a German refugee camp for converting to Christianity. The man is thought to have told some Afghan migrants that he had embraced Christianity. A few days later one Afghan beat him unconscious with a baton, declaring that his conversion was a "sin".

This is not an isolated incident. In August, riots broke out in an overcrowded German refugee camp after an Afghan resident tore pages out of a Koran and threw them in the toilet. At least 17 people were left injured when 20 Syrian refugees chased the man after he ruined the Islamic holy book. The crowd even turned their anger towards the camp's security guards who tried to protect the alleged offender. The migrants smashed car windows and ransacked buildings in a rampage which lasted several hours.

The 'holier than thou' Church of England  bishops who wrote to the Prime Minister demanding that tens of thousands of migrants be admitted to Great Britain should pay more attention to people who understand these matters such as the Archbishop of Aleppo and ACN. Migrants are not leaving Islam behind. It is being exported.

Postscript [25.10.2015]

Doubters read "Christians Persecuted by Muslims Even in the West" here.

Postscript [26.10.2015]

Christian refuges targeted by Muslim migrants. Mass slaughter of Christians in the Middle East should be recognised as “genocide” here.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Wales, Wales and beyond

Vienna 1683                                                                                           Vienna 2015

An interesting article from Wales Online today for Welsh History Month, Gerald of Wales championed what he believed were the ancient rights of his church: "In the closing days of November 1199, the archdeacon of Brecon, Gerald de Barry – better known today as Gerald of Wales – arrived in Rome after a long and arduous journey from Wales. He had not come as a pilgrim to pray at the shrines of the saints, but as bishop-elect of St Davids to champion what he believed were the ancient rights of his church". One wonders what Gerald de Barry would make of the Church in Wales under Archbishop Barry and, indeed, modern bishops in general and of the problems facing the Church today.

Also of interest is a letter to the Editor of the Western Mail headed "Immigration crisis in Europe". This is a very emotional subject as viewers of last Thursday's Question Time will testify. It is a natural Christian instinct to take pity on the plight of others, especially the less fortunate. As commented on the Question Time programme, "we are all human beings" but many of the worst affected do not have the resources to flee to Europe. Those who do so appear well dressed with smart phones and a determination not just to get out of war zones but to decide which Christian country (for now) should be their ultimate destination. Beware the Trojan Horse?

Vienna 1653 saw a mighty last ditch battle against the Muslim Ottoman Empire in defence of Christianity but in Vienna 2015 Muslims are welcomed with open arms despite the butchery of Christians that continues in Muslim countries. Armed jihad or cultural jihad, the object is the same, Islamisation of the world by whatever means according to their holy book. Read "Islamic State reveals it has smuggled THOUSANDS of extremists into Europe" here.

Church of England bishops who failed to see the consequences of their actions in mimicking the liberal policies of the Episcopal Church of the United States have joined the emotional clamor to allow more migrants into Great Britain on a suck it and see basis. Meanwhile, David Cameron is accused of "McCarthyism" over extremism plans by UK's biggest Muslim group, the Muslim Council of Britain.

Bishop Cottrell assured the Prime Minister that the church has "troops on the ground" ready to help. Just the Church?

Express: People climb through windows of a train to try and get to Serbia [Getty Images]

Postscript [20.10.2015]

David Cameron rebukes Church of England bishops over refugee letter here.

Postscript [23.10.2015]

Read Rod Liddle writing in The Spectator about his Question Time encounter with Simon Schama here. The TV clip is excellent. Note also the designer clothing in the above picture.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Simply stunning

My thanks to New Liturgical Movement for their link to this video about an "absolutely extraordinary" devotional object, a tiny portable shrine carved of boxwood, made in the northern Netherlands around 1510. Simply stunning.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Level playing field?

                        Church of the Virgin Mary in Tal Nasri, Syria and a Mosque in Peterborough

Two reports have caught my attention today, from the BBC's Newsbeat, What you can be flogged for in Saudi Arabia, and from ITV News, 'Anti-Muslim hate is normal': research reveals impact of Islamophobic attacks.

According to the BBC report, British pensioner Karl Andree, 74, has spent more than a year in prison since being arrested by Saudi religious police. His family say they were led to believe he would avoid his punishment of 360 lashes because of his age but that is now in doubt. They believe the punishment would kill him. Mr Andree is asthmatic, has gout (a type of arthritis causing joint pain) and has survived cancer three times. His crime? He  was caught with homemade wine in Saudi Arabia. Alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia.  Mr Andree's daughter said her father was transporting homemade wine in his car in August 2014 when he was pulled over and arrested (here).

Some would argue that people residing in Saudi Arabia should abide by Saudi law, a strict interpretation of Sharia, where "It is illegal to evangelise Muslims; conversion to another religion is punishable by death. There are no church buildings and house churches are raided; Christians risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation and sometimes torture" (here).

It is different for Muslims in the United Kingdom. They enjoy freedom of worship along with special privileges, examples here and here. Polygamous marriages with multiple wives are allowed for benefit purposes even though bigamy is a criminal offence in the UK.

The ITV report alleges that "Anti-Muslim hate is normal" while associating hate with "Islamophobic attacks". This is an erroneous and dangerous association designed to portray Muslims as victims and put Islamic excesses beyond criticism. There is nothing irrational about a distaste for Islamic notions of justice or of fearing Islamic attacks on innocent victims.

From the Telegraph's report Three 'Isil-inspired jihadists planned Remembrance Day beheading in Britain': ...the men had been inspired by the “truly chilling” fatwa issued by Al Adnani, a spokesman for Isil (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) - also known as Islamic State and Isis.
It called for the beheadings of the “crusaders” and to “strike their police, security and intelligence members” and to “slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him from a high place, or choke him or poison him”.

Such actions should be regarded as abominable by any rational human being of whatever religion or none. This is what motivates the rejection of Islam but it does not follow that all Muslims are rejected.

There is a world of difference between 'Anti-Muslim hate' and what is deemed to be Islamophobia, a construct to deflect any questioning of Islam while other religions are persecuted by Muslims. According to a Guardian report here the British Prime Minister is in danger of confusing Anti-Islam with Anti-Muslim. While reassuring Muslims that they are safe in Britian he would do well to reflect on the safety of Christians and their churches in Muslim countries.

David Cameron talking to young Muslim women at Jamia Masjid mosque in Manchester in 2013. Cameron has invited key Muslim figures
 to join a new community engagement forum. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/REX Shutterstock/Andrew Parsons/REX_Shutterstock. Credit: Guardian

Friday, 9 October 2015

Muslims need not apply!

"Milk Tray man to swing back into action for new Cadbury campaign." - Report here.

Marking the centenary of the 'Milk Tray' brand, this could have been a golden opportunity for Cadbury to be up front about their sale of halal products to unsuspecting customers by using an actor in Muslim clothing to emphasise their advancement of Islamic ShariĘ»ah.

The Cadbury products listed below have been certified halal but Cadbury Milk Tray is not among them so Muslims need not apply on this occasion because the product is suitable only for infidels!

Cadbury Boost
Cadbury Crunchie
Cadbury Flake
Cadbury Luxury Flake
Cadbury Time Out
Cadbury Twirl
Cadbury Picnic
Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate
Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut
Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut
Cadbury Dairy Milk Snack
Cadbury Dream
Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramello
Cadbury Dairy Milk Milk Bubbly
Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly Mint
Cadbury Moro
Cadbury Moro Gold

Cadbury Dairy Milk milk chocolate
Cadbury Dairy Milk Milk Bubbly
Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly Mint
Cadbury Dairy Milk Black Forest
Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramello
Cadbury Dairy Milk Coconut Rough
Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut
Cadbury Dairy Milk Peppermint
Cadbury Dairy Milk Roast Almond
Cadbury Dairy Milk Top Deck
Cadbury Dairy Milk Turkish Delight
Cadbury Dairy Milk Crunchie
Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut
Cadbury Dairy Milk Snack
Cadbury Dream
Cadbury Old Gold 70% Cocoa
Cadbury Old Gold Dark
Cadbury Old Gold Peppermint
Cadbury Old Gold Roast Almond

Cadbury Dairy Milk Roll

Cadbury Caramello Koala
Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo
Cadbury Dream Freddo
Cadbury Milky Top Freddo
Cadbury Peppermint Freddo
Cadbury Strawberry Freddo
Cadbury Furry Friends

Seasonal (Easter and Christmas)
Cadbury Dairy Milk Seasonal & Novelty products
Cadbury Dark Chocolate Seasonal & Novelty products
Cadbury Dream Chocolate Seasonal & Novelty products
Cadbury Beanie Characters
Cadbury Mini Eggs
Dream White Chocolate Seasonal & Novelty products
Cadbury Old Gold Seasonal & Novelty products
Red Tulip Milk Chocolate Seasonal & Novelty Items
Red Tulip White Chocolate Seasonal & Novelty Items

Chocolate Coated/Scorched Products
Chocolate Coated Fruit & Nut
Chocolate Coated Almonds
Chocolate Coated Peanuts
Chocolate Coated Sultanas
Pascall White Marshmallows
Pascall Pink Marshmallows
Pascall Jubes
Pascall Wine Gums
Pascall Eclairs
Pascall Columbines

The Natural Confectionery Co.
Berry Bliss
Strawberries & Cream Bliss
Forbidden Fruits
Forest Fruits
Fruit Salad
Jelly Babies
Party Mix
Sour Squirms
Citrus Slices

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Radicalisation - Cameron's Conference Speech October 2015

Prime Minister David Cameron at the Conservative Party Conference                       Picture: Getty

The following extract from David Cameron's speech to the Conservative Party conference as reported in the Mirror (here) touches on National security, extremism, radicalisation, terrorism, oppression and integration. Fine words but spoken from a Western, Judeo-Christian perspective with no apparent understanding of the threat posed by Islam.

"My first duty as Prime Minister is to keep people safe. Some of the loneliest moments in this job are when you are reading intelligence reports about plots being planned against the British people.

This summer I was told that Reyaad Khan and Junaid Hussain were in Syria planning terrorist attacks on UK soil. Of course, I asked all the proper questions. How do we stop them? Is there another way? Do we have that capability? Is it legal?

I knew that whatever action I took would provoke a big debate. But my job as Prime Minister is quite simple, really: ultimately, it’s not to debate; it’s to decide. And the choice I faced was this: Act – and we could stop them carrying out their plans. Stall – and we could see innocent people murdered on our streets. So I took decisive action to keep Britain safe – and that’s what I will always do...

"We need to confront – and I mean really confront – extremism. When I read what some young people born and brought up in this country are doing, it makes me feel sick to my stomach. Girls not much older than my eldest daughter, swapping loving family homes and straight-A futures for a life of servitude under ISIL, in a land of violence and oppression.

Boys who could do anything they wanted in Britain – who have benefitted from all this country stands for – instead ending up in the desert wielding a knife. This ideology, this diseased view of the world, has become an epidemic – infecting minds from the mosques of Mogadishu to the bedrooms of Birmingham. And here’s what we need to do.

One: tear up the narrative that says Muslims are persecuted and the West deserves what it gets. 
Never mind that it’s Britain and America behind the biggest effort to help the victims of Syria. 
Who is ISIL murdering more than anyone else? Muslims. No-one should get away with this politics of grievance anymore.

Two: take on extremism in all its forms, the violent and non-violent. People don’t become terrorists from a standing start. It begins with preachers telling them that Christians and Muslims can’t live together. It moves to people in their community saying the security services were responsible for 7/7. It progresses to a website telling them how to wage jihad, fight in Syria, and defeat the West. And before you know it, a young British boy, barely 17, is strapping bombs to his body and blowing himself up in Iraq. We have to stop it at the start – stop this seed of hatred even being planted in people’s minds, let alone allowing it to grow.

Three: we need to tackle segregation. There are parts of Britain today where you can get by without ever speaking English or meeting anyone from another culture. Zoom in and you’ll see some institutions that actually help incubate these divisions. Did you know, in our country, there are some children who spend several hours each day at a Madrassa? Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with children learning about their faith, whether it’s at Madrassas, Sunday Schools or Jewish Yeshivas. But in some Madrassas we’ve got children being taught that they shouldn’t mix with people of other religions; being beaten; swallowing conspiracy theories about Jewish people.

These children should be having their minds opened, their horizons broadened not having their heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate. So I can announce this today:

If an institution is teaching children intensively, then whatever its religion, we will, like any other school, make it register so it can be inspected. And be in no doubt: if you are teaching intolerance, we will shut you down.

This goes to a wider truth. For too long, we’ve been so frightened of causing offence that we haven’t looked hard enough at what is going on in our communities. This is passive tolerance. And I’ll tell you where it leads: To children, British children, going to Pakistan in the summer holidays, before they’ve even started their GCSEs, and forced to marry a man they’ve never met…children, British children, having their genitals mutilated, not just in a clinic in Lagos but the backstreets in Britain.

This passive tolerance has turned us into a less integrated country; it’s put our children in danger. It is unforgiveable. So let me say it right here: no more passive tolerance in Britain. We’ve passed the laws – now I want them enforced. People who organise forced marriages – I want them prosecuted.

Parents who take their children for FGM – I want them arrested. And as we do that, we shouldn’t just be saying what’s wrong with these practices; we should be saying what’s right with Britain.

Freedom. Democracy. Equality. These are precious. People fought for them – many died for them…
…in the trenches, a century ago; on the beaches, 30 years later…in the Suffragettes; in Gay Pride.

Half the world is crying out for these freedoms – they see what we’ve achieved with them. Free speech – and the best literature in the world. Freedom of religion – and many faiths living side by side, peacefully."

If Mr Cameron genuinely wants to "confront extremism" he needs to develop a strategy which recognises Islam as the supremacist ideology it is, believing that everyone and everything belongs to Allah who demands to be worshiped and rewards believers for their good works which includes killing non-believers. If not willfully blind, talking with 'friendly'  Muslims and their sympathizers is pointless. They will explain that Islam is a religion of peace despite all the evidence to the contrary.

From WikiIslam: "According to Islamic laws, non-Muslims in Islamic lands should be subdued and be treated as dhimmis (second class citizens). They should be coerced and intimidated to convert to Islam, through special humiliating taxes like Jizyah imposed on them. Following Prophet Muhammad's example, this has been taking place throughout Islam's history. While Muslims demand for concessions in non-Muslim countries, non-Muslims are systematically persecuted, terrorized and ethnically cleansed from Islamic lands".

Islam is spreading through Europe. Immigration on a colossal scale and a much higher birthrate have led to estimates that Muslims to will outnumber Christians worldwide by 2070 while in 10 years Islam could be the dominant religion in the United Kingdom.

Mr Cameron expressed surprise at girls not much older than his eldest daughter "swapping loving family homes and straight-A futures for a life of servitude under ISIL, in a land of violence and oppression". - It's the ideology, stupid! - "The root of the problem lies in a radical ideology that drives individuals to join the jihadists...The minds of Islamic State group militants and those who are recruited have a deep and twisted ideology where absolute power in the name of Allah and the elimination of infidels are their main drivers". Grasp this and we can make some progress.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Trouble and strife

Unhappily married: Andy and Flo                                       Credit: daily Mirror

Andy Capp and Flo are unhappily married. Andy is a working-class figure who never actually works. Andy's hobbies include pigeon racing, darts, snooker (his cue's name is "Delilah"), football (which always involves fights with the other players, and frequently ends with Andy being sent off), occasional cricket and rugby, betting on horses, getting drunk in the local pub (often falling into the canal and being fished out by a constable, and always, seven nights a week, arriving home late as a result), ending up in the local jail, fishing (and not catching anything bigger than a goldfish), unsuccessfully mooching money from everyone for beer, unsuccessfully flirting with barmaids, picking up other bargirls, loafing on the sofa, and fighting with his long-suffering wife, Florrie (also known as "Flo").

Despite their difficulties Andy and Flo have have stuck together but their life together is a cartoon. The reality for others is no joke. A loveless marriage other than a marriage of convenience is a burden to both parties. When children are involved the atmosphere can be unbearable for them when constant bickering and worse takes place. This is the problem the Catholic Church has to resolve without the divisions that have split and weakened the Anglican Communion.

Two addresses "set down important markers" for Synod-2015 on its first formal day of work. The Rorate Caeli Blog sets out the Synod's most likely outcome "barring a miracle". Surely a miracle is needed. Watering down the faith can lead to no faith other than faith in one's own desires as witnessed in liberal Anglicanism whereas absolutism can be equally destructive as illustrated by Islam.

The alternative of living one's life in a loveless marriage and continuing to receive Holy Communion compared with a loving, happy marriage but denied the sacrament is a dilemma the Catholic Church must resolve without all the baggage that has gone with it in the Anglican Church, much of it brought about by liberal clergy.

"Church risks being seen as 'homophobic' if it doesn't evolve" said the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan in his presidential address to members of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in April 2014. "Gay marriage should be accepted in the same way that divorce and re-marriage has been" and added that quoting the Bible is not the way to settle debate on such emotive issues: "Some people have changed their minds for example on women’s ministry and same-sex relationships when they have experienced the ministry of a woman priest in the one case, or discovered their own son or daughter to be gay in the other".

Dr Morgan argued, "Holy scripture itself is far more nuanced, subtle and complex than we often realise. We cannot just quote biblical texts on different subject matters and think that settles an issue". But that is exactly what Dr Morgan did in 2008 when he quoted St Paul ("In Christ there is no bond or free, male or female, Jew or Greek") to justify his stance on women bishops: "I do not see how, having agreed to ordaining women to both the diaconate and priesthood, the church can logically exclude women from the episcopate".

If Synod becomes embroiled in similar arguments the Catholic Church will find herself in the same sorry mess as the Anglican Church. For outsiders, denying the sacraments to people who have remarried looks particularly harsh, especially when compared with the practice of annulment.

The Rorate Caeli blog referred to "squaring the circle". Can it be possible without detriment to the Church? Pray that it is.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Interfaith discussions: the big problem

Archbishop Justin Welby with Dr Waqar Azmi (l) and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones (r) at the
Muslim Council of Wales dinner, Cardiff, Wales, 1 October 2015.    
Photo Credit: Lambeth Palace

In his address to the Muslim Council of Wales (see previous entry), the Archbishop of Canterbury urged faith groups to "go the extra mile" for the common good. Speaking "as a Christian" Archbishop Welby spoke of the values that spring out of the person of Jesus Christ:

"The first of these springs from the fact of incarnation, that in Christian belief we understand that Jesus was at the same time both fully God and fully human, two persons in one nature. Incarnation is summed up in a title of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. Not just God for us, but God with us in all the mess of the life in which we live." Full report here.

The event marked the 10th anniversary for Cardiff University’s Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK with its "mission to promote scholarly and public understanding of Islam and the life of Muslim communities in the UK". According to its Director, Prof Sophie Gilliat-Ray, we should understand that "poverty, lack of aspiration and Islamophobia are partly to blame for radicalisation of Muslims from Cardiff and elsewhere". Poverty and lack of aspiration are not peculiar to Muslims while Islamophobia is a construction to deflect honest questioning of a system of oppression and often the utmost cruelty when Muslims are in the majority but that does not prevent them from playing the victim.

Prof Gilliat-Ray has been appointed to a UK-wide commission which will be in Cardiff to hear from local Muslims what barriers they face getting involved in the societies in which they live (here). 

When it comes to barriers, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at Edinburgh ­University’s Divinity School gives an account of essential differences between Islam and Christianity in her book 'Christians, Muslims And Jesus'. From a review here "Jesus is revered within Islam as the most significant prophet before Muhammad, and is seen as a key precursor in bringing the message of God’s unity and sovereignty to humanity. He is not, however, worshipped as God; and the ideas of the Incarnation, Resurrection and the Trinity led Muslim scholars to see in Christianity a surreptitious polytheism...The idea of the Crucifixion – that God could voluntarily elect to die – struck Islamic theologians, particularly of the Mu’tazilite school, as a paradox verging on blasphemy."

No meeting of minds there! While the charm offensive continues in this country, Muslims continue to persecute Christians abroad so the real problem remains unaddressed as Islamic influence expands unabated. 

Postscript [03.10.2015]

'Ancient Faith' Interview: Islam through the heart and mind of a convert to Orthodox Christianity - Part 1.
"In this two-part interview Kevin's guest is "George," who became a Sunni Muslim at age 14 and studied to become an Imam at a madrasa, studying Quran, Arabic language, Islamic theology, hadith, and jurisprudence. He left Islam and became an Orthodox Christian 20 years later. Among other things, Kevin and his guest discuss Islamic theology, common misunderstandings of Christianity by Muslims, differences between "orthodox" Islam and the Nation of Islam, the true understanding and practice in Islam of slavery and jihad, and the extraordinary journey that led "George" to Orthodox Christianity". Hat tip to Facing Islam Blog.

Postscript [04.10.2015]

More from the "Religion of peace" to "promote scholarly and public understanding of Islam":

Abroad - Christians fleeing Muslim persecution are finding just as much oppression in the refugee camps and shelters of Germany as they suffered in their home states. As the vast majority of asylum seekers are Muslims, many of whom have imported an adherence to sharia law with them, the few Christian co-travellers find themselves ostracised, abused, and even physically attacked. Full report here.

At home - A family who converted from Islam to Christianity say they are being driven out of their home for the SECOND TIME by neighbours who accuse them of blasphemy. Nissar Hussain, his wife Kubra and their six children claim they have become "prisoners in their own home" as neighbours attack them in the street, smash their car windscreens and throw eggs at their windows. Report here.

Postscript [05.10.2015]

'Ancient Faith' Interview: Islam through the heart and mind of a convert to Orthodox Christianity - Part 2.