The worm turns
A confidential Church of England document leaked to the press says that the British government's "interfaith" policies are exacerbating tensions between religious communities rather than reducing them. The Daily Telegraph describes the report as saying: (emphasis mine)
divisions between communities have been deepened by the Government's "schizophrenic" approach to tackling multiculturalism. While trying to encourage interfaith relations, it has actually given "privileged attention" to the Islamic faith and Muslim communities. ... Written by Guy Wilkinson, the interfaith adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the paper says that the Church of England has been sidelined. Instead, "preferential" treatment has been afforded to the Muslim community despite the fact that it makes up only three per cent of the population. Britain remains overwhelmingly a Christian country at heart and moves to label it as a multi-faith society suggest a hidden agenda, it says.
The report lists a number of moves made by the Government since the London bombings in July last year to win favor with Muslim communities. These include "using public funds" to fly Muslim scholars to Britain, shelving legislation on forced marriage and encouraging financial arrangements to comply with Islamic requirements. These efforts have undermined its interfaith agenda and produced no "noticeable positive impact on community cohesion", the Church document says.
Insiders at the House of Bishops meeting last week, where the briefing paper was "well received", say it marks a radical departure from the Church's usually diplomatic relations with the Government on the multi-faith issue. One bishop said it was the first time the Church had launched such a defense of the country's Christian heritage.
The BBC's account quotes the report as arguing that government pandering to the Muslim minority has created a market for "victimhood" which bodes ill for relationships between the faiths in Britain.
"One might argue that disaffection and separation is now greater than ever, with Muslim communities withdrawing further into a sense of victimhood, and other faith communities seriously concerned that the government has given signals that appear to encourage the notion of a privileged relationship with sections of the Muslim community,
Coverage by the Times of London is shorter, but very hard hitting:
The Church of England has criticised the government’s approach to integrating British Muslims as “divided, almost schizophrenic”. A paper by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s interfaith adviser said “one might argue disaffection and separation is now greater than ever”. David Stancliffe, Bishop of Salisbury, said: “We are raising serious questions about the government’s strategy.”
This is the first time a major Christian denomination widely viewed as liberal has openly argued that "multiculturalist" policies are fueling the rifts between religions rather than closing them. It was a startling reversal of the near-Pavlovian conditioning to apologize for anything Christian and a departure from the unquestioning commitment to pander to anything Muslim which has incited the aggressive behavior of Islamist extremists while "sidelining" not only the Church of England but an earlier generation of Muslims who lived in respectful coexistence with their Christian neighbors. This "interfaith" approach has ironically undermined the very leaders who are committed to real tolerance while boosting the stock of fanatics who advocate abominations like forced marriages and even providing money for these extremists to carry on their activities.
The Church of England's stance has broken the taboo within liberal circles against resisting the ultimatums which have reached the absurd height of demanding that the Pope to convert to Islam. "One bishop said it was the first time the Church had launched such a defense of the country's Christian heritage." The report also comes at a time when fears of a looming backlash against Islamic militancy have been fueled by rioting in the town of Windsor between Muslim and non-Muslims which has already resulted in the firebombing of a mosque.
I think that history will judge the Left's program of headlong appeasement and cultural self-hatred as one of the great stupidities of the 20th century equal to and possibly surpassing the disastrous actions of the Men of Munich in the 1930s. This has been evident for some time. And even the Church of England knows it now. This fatal policy has helped set up a world crisis whose end is not yet in sight and whose course may bring untold sorrow not only to Christians, but to Muslims too.