Affluent high-profile Britons who convert to Islam have been in the news lately. Are they, like Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam), sincere spiritual followers who have felt the call of the Prophet? Or do they simply sense which way the wind is blowing in Britain these days?
Sometimes it can be a matter of basic prudence. When young working-class women in Birmingham take up the veil, it is generally to avoid being harassed or raped by local Muslim men, not because of the spiritual majesty of Islam.
Here at Gates of Vienna we’ve become accustomed to the moribund irrelevance and passivity of the Anglican Church, both in the United States and in Britain. Thus it took smelling salts to revive us when we heard about a bishop in the Church of England who actually defended his faith against the encroachment of mushy multiculturalism.
To make the affair even more poignant, the bishop in question was born in Pakistan. Here’s the report from The News:
A leading Anglican bishop has attacked the trend towards what he called a multi-faith mish-mash in ethnically diverse Britain, and said it was time to reassert the country’s Christian identity.
Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali also questioned heir-to-the throne Prince Charles’s desire to be seen as a defender of all faiths, not just Christianity, when he takes over as monarch.
Pakistani-born Nazir-Ali, whose family background is both Christian and Muslim, pitched into an emotive debate about national identity in a country deeply shocked last year when four British Islamic militants killed 52 people in attacks on London’s transport system.
The bishop argued that the basis of British society, from the monarchy to its laws, was “Christian constitutionally”.
“All our values come ultimately from the Bible,” he told BBC radio.
Isn’t that a bit over the top? I mean, the Bible is all very well, but, really…
Then he has the nerve to assail the current heir to the British throne:
As the future titular head of the Church of England, Prince Charles has said he would like to be known as “Defender of Faith” rather than “Defender of the Faith.”
Bishop Nazir-Ali took issue with the heir to the throne, saying: “The coronation service is such that whoever takes the oaths actually takes oaths to defend the Christian faith.”
“You can’t defend every faith because there are very serious differences among them,” he added.
This is the crux of the matter: not all religions can be reconciled with one another. Islam has its own hallowed scriptural basis for refusing reconciliation with all other faiths.
I’ve been expecting Prince Charles — based on his fatuous pronouncements from recent years — to undergo a prominent conversion to Islam in the not-so-distant future.
Would that cause a constitutional crisis in Britain? If any of our British readers care to weigh in with an opinion, I’d be glad to hear it.
You can’t defend every faith because there are very serious differences among them.
Hat tip: Bharat Rakshak.