Sunday, April 6, 2008

News on UK's Muslim Community

No more mosques, says senior Synod member

By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent

The Telegraph, 2 April 08.

A senior lay member of the Church of England's "Parliament" has called for a ban on the building of more mosques in Britain.

Alison Ruoff, a long-standing member of the General Synod, said that new mosques should not be built in this country while Islamic states continued to persecute Christians.

The former magistrate, who was one of the strongest critics of the Archbishop of Canterbury's speech on Islamic law earlier this year, added that sharia would be introduced into Britain "if we don't watch out".

Apart from being a Synod member, Mrs Ruoff, a conservative evangelical, also sits on the Bishop's Council, which advises the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres.

Although her views are representative of a small minority on the Synod, and Church spokesmen moved quickly to isolate her yesterday, they may exacerbate tensions over the place of Muslims in society.

A spokesman for the Diocese of London said: "Mrs Ruoff's comments are her own and do not reflect the views of the Diocese of London, which enjoys excellent inter-faith relations across the capital."

A Church of England spokesman added: "These are her personal comments, speaking as an individual." But senior Muslims had already reacted angrily to her comments, saying they were more typical of a member of the British National Party than the Anglican Church.

Mrs Ruoff, speaking in an interview with Premier Radio, the Christian radio station, said: "No more mosques in the UK. We are constantly building new mosques, which are paid for by the money that comes from oil states.

"We have only in this country, as far as we know, 3.5 to four million Muslims. There are enough mosques for Muslims in this country, they don't need any more.

"We don't need to have sharia law which would come with more mosques imposed upon our nation, if we don't watch out, that would happen. If we want to become an Islamic state, this is the way to go.

"You build a mosque and then what happens?

"You have Muslim people moving into that area, all the shops will then become Islamic, all the housing will then become Islamic and as the Bishop of Rochester has so wisely pointed out, that will be a no go area for anyone else.

"They will bring in Islamic law. We cannot allow that to happen."

Mrs Ruoff, who lives in Waltham Cross, north east London, added: "We are still a Christian country, we need to hold on to that.

"If we don't watch out, we will become an Islamic state. It's that serious."

However, Inayat Bunglawala, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "These are unfortunately very bigoted and, frankly, xenophobic remarks."

He added: "These kinds of comments you would expect to come from someone from the BNP not the Church."

According to Premier Radio, there are 47,000 Christian churches in the UK and about 1,600 mosques.

# 2

Anti-homophobia books removed from schools

By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent

The Telegraph, 2 April 08.

Story books designed to discourage children from bullying homosexuals have been withdrawn from two primary schools after an outcry from predominantly Muslim parents, a council said yesterday.

The books were removed by Bristol City Council after parents complained that the anti-homophobia programme was not appropriate for many pupils and had been introduced without consultation.

The Council said that it had temporarily withdrawn teaching materials from Easton Primary School and Bannerman Road Community School and Children’s Centre so they could “meet their legal responsibilities and operate safely”.

One of the books, which was aimed at pupils as young as five, featured the story of a king who could not find a suitable woman to be his wife so he married a prince instead.

Members of Bristol Muslim Cultural Society in Bristol said parents were not outraged by the school’s anti-bullying policies but were frustrated by the lack of consultation.

Farooq Siddique, the community development officer for Bristol Muslim Cultural Society and a governor at Bannerman Road, said many schoolchildren - 70 per cent of whom are Muslim - were too young to define heterosexuality and homosexuality.

“The main issue was there was a total lack of consultation with parents. ... The schools refused to deal with the parents, and were completely authoritarian,” he said.

“The agenda was to reduce homophobic bullying, and all the parents said they were not against that side of it, but families were saying to us 'Our child is coming home and talking about same-sex relationships, when we haven’t even talked about heterosexual relationships with them yet.’

“In Islam homosexual relationships are not acceptable, as they are not in Christianity and many other religions, but the main issue is that they didn’t bother to consult with parents. There was no option to withdraw the child.

“One of the library books was a fairytale about a king who couldn’t find a woman to love and eventually married a prince. This was for children aged five to read.

“The issue should have been, how do we stop bullying in general, and teaching about homosexuality can be a part of that. This was completely one-sided.

“Homosexuality is not a priority to parents, but academic achievement is. This just makes parents think 'What the heck is my child being taught at school?’.”

Julia Walton, a spokeswoman for Bristol City Council’s education department, said: “All Bristol schools have a legal duty to report and deal with homophobic harassment as part of the curriculum since April 2007.

“As part of this, schools can choose to seek specialist advice and training on topics such as homophobia.

“Bristol City Council has temporarily withdrawn the use of materials that can be used to explain homophobia to children to ensure that both Bannerman Road and Easton primary schools can meet their legal responsibilities and operate safely.

“We are now liaising with community forums in the city, local clerics, teachers’ unions, the Institute of Community Cohesion and the Equality and Human Rights Commission to ensure that the topic can be addressed in an inclusive manner in the curriculum.”

# 3

Muslims outnumber Catholics, Vatican says

By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent

The Telegraph, 1 April 08.

For the first time, Muslims outnumber Roman Catholics across the world, the Vatican has said.

Mgr Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican's newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 per cent of the world's population and Catholics 17.4 per cent.

"For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us," Mgr Formenti told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

He said that if all Christian groups were considered, including Orthodox Churches, Anglicans and Protestants, then Christians made up 33 per cent of the world's population - or about two billion people. The data referred to 2006.

The Vatican recently put the number of Catholics in the world at 1.13 billion people. It did not provide a figure for Muslims, but it is generally estimated at around 1.3 billion.

Mgr Formenti said that while the number of Catholics as a proportion of the world's population was fairly stable, the percentage of Muslims was growing because of higher birth rates.

He said the data on Muslim populations had been compiled by individual countries and then released by the United Nations, adding that the Vatican could only vouch for its own statistics.

Experts said that in terms of international statistics, the two religious groups that were expanding were Islam and evangelical Christians, while Christianity as a whole was static.

The new figures will concern Pope Benedict XVI, who has seen the growth of Islam in Europe as a threat to the continent's Christian heritage.

The Pope angered Muslims over Easter for role in the conversion of Magdi Allam, a former Muslim journalist well known in Italy for his stinging attacks on Islam.

The news follows separate projections in Britain which estimate that there will be more Muslims praying in the mosque every Friday than Christians in church on Sunday by 2045.

According to calculations by the independent Christian Research organisation, active Muslims will overtake practising Roman Catholics in just over a decade and Church of England worshippers at about the same time.

http://www.telegrap main.jhtml? xml=/news/ 2008/04/02/ nsynod102. xml

# 4
From April 2, 2008
BBC is too scared of Islam, says Ben Elton

Tai Ci Master


Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."

(Muttafaq 'alaih)

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