Christian pastors and Muslim imams have come together to draw up guidelines detailing advice on how to deal with inter-faith marriages.
Although marrying between faiths is entirely legal in Britain, couples often face resistance and hostility, both from family members and religious leaders. Occasionally both Muslims and Christians feel pressure to convert to another’s faith in order to avoid fallouts and ostracism.
The new guidelines by the Christian-Muslim forum reinforce the need for religious leaders to accept inter-faith marriages and warn that no one should ever feel forced to convert. The publication of the document, which will receive a high-profile launch at Westminster Abbey today, is significant because those supporting it include imams from the more orthodox Islamic schools of thought and evangelical Christians.
Among those who have signed up to the document include Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, a prominent Leicester-based imam from the conservative Deobandi school, the Right Rev Paul Hendricks, associate bishop of Southwark Catholic Archdiocese, and Amra Bone, one of the only women in the country to sit in a Sharia court.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INDEPENDENT
The Rt Rev Kenneth Cragg, who has died aged 99 , was a distinguished scholar who, more than anyone else in the 20th century, helped Christians to a deeper understanding of, and a wider sympathy for, the religious faiths of Muslims and Jews.
This he achieved long before the importance of such understanding for world peace was widely recognised. Besides a long teaching ministry in universities, he was the author of some 40 books, two of which, The Call of the Minaret (1956) and Sandals in the Mosque (1959), became classics. In these Cragg concentrated on Muslim prayer and spirituality, showing the rich treasury of devotion available to the devout Muslim and its affinity with the Christian tradition.
His later books, written after the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism on to the world stage, were particularly concerned with the question of whether or not violence is an integral element of the Muslim faith. He believed it to be unhelpful to deny the existence of such an element, which had developed during the period when Mohammed was living in Medina and creating through political and military strength the conditions favourable to the spreading of his message.
But Cragg pointed out that during the preceding period, when the Prophet was virtually a prisoner in Mecca, he received his original revelations, which emphasised the central importance of promoting harmony and peace. Cragg urged today’s Muslims to recover this emphasis and abandon all forms of militarism, though he recognised that for many in the Arab world religion and politics are inseparable.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
As England play their first games of Euro 2012, I’d like to be an England fan. But even though I’m English, it’s hard.
For a start, as a British Muslim, I am unsettled by the sight of England supporters dressed as Christian knights and jovially waving Crusader shields at the European championships in Poland and Ukraine. Footage of last night’s cagey opener with France was interspersed with close-ups of young men dressed in the armour of Knights Templar hordes. There’s an irony in the fact that images of Polish supporters chanting antisemitic slogans and giving Nazi salutes have been met with such deserved outrage, but to brandish a sword and recall the brutal and bloody invasion of Muslim lands is portrayed as harmless banter.
There is an obvious difference of course. I don’t for a second believe that those dressed as Christian knights do so to offend Muslims – I hope not, anyway – whereas there is obvious menace in the sickening behaviour by neo-Nazis. But this doesn’t make it any less disturbing an image for the Muslims in this country and around the world.
The Crusades are romanticised in the west as heroic battles to win back the holy lands in the name of Christianity. But for Muslims they are remembered as two centuries of brutal and unprovoked attacks on Arab lands. To celebrate this in fancy dress recalls a bloody and divisive chapter in Muslim-Christian relations. That may not be the intention of those donning the fake chainmail and helmets but there’s no denying it’s a uniform of war that certainly doesn’t instil a feeling of inclusiveness in me.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE LONDON GUARDIAN
Something I wrote last week about Islam caused a bit of a stir, with one conservative blogger wondering if I had been threatened with beheading.The great Mark Steyn even wrote: “I’m sad to see the usually perceptive Ed West of the London Telegraph planting his flag on this wobbling blancmange.” Considering I am Mark Steyn’s biggest fan in the whole wide world, complete with a wall covered with pictures of him and a tattoo of his face on my chest, that’s left with me some mixed feelings.
And yet I still believe that Islam has become something of a scapegoat for the problems associated with mass immigration, and here’s why.
Conservatism is all about protecting the community from radical change; that is why conservatives tend to oppose large-scale immigration, which alters the social fabric in a huge way.
Yet from the 1960s to the 1990s, both in Britain and the US, conservatives lost this argument, despite overwhelming public support. They lost because they lost the intellectual justification for group solidarity or “parochial altruism” against post-war radical universalism, to the extent that normal human feelings were redefined as forms of mental illness. Defeat. Until Islam came along, allowing conservatives to make arguments using language that liberals would permit.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE LONDON TELEGRAPH
CAIRO – In an effort to clear misconceptions about the term of jihad, a group of British Muslim women have initiated a new campaign to fight against all types of violence, terrorism and domestic abuse.
“People think ‘jihad against violence’ is a contradictory statement but our jihad is for peace,” Sara Khan, the director of Inspire campaign, told The Guardian on Monday, June 6.
Themed “Jihad against Violence”, the campaign, launched on Sunday, aims to fight all forms of violence.
It focuses on combating crimes, including terrorism, domestic abuse and female genital mutilation that some perpetrators attempt to justify in the name of Islam.
FULL ARTICLE FROM ONISLAM
BBC Newsnight examines the reactions of Muslims. (video)
Anjem Choudary the former UK head of the Islamist group al-Muhajiroun and Dr Taj Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation, spoke to Jeremy Paxman.
LINK TO VIDEO