This is a very late post. Sadly, it is still relevant.
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You get the idea. I have had this URL in my “GetReligion guilt” computer file for a month because it once led to a very timely and disturbing Telegraph article by Alasdair Palmer that ran with this headline: “The day is coming when British Muslims form a state within a state.” It described post-cartoon crisis research done by Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, who was studying the reaction of Islamic leaders in Great Britain. He is the director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity. The Muslim leaders believe they won the day, to which Sookhdeo said:
“It’s confirmation of what they believe to be a familiar pattern: if spokesmen for British Muslims threaten what they call ‘adverse consequences’ — violence to the rest of us — then the British Government will cave in. I think it is a very dangerous precedent.”
Dr Sookhdeo adds that he believes that “in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law. It is already starting to happen — and unless the Government changes the way it treats the so-called leaders of the Islamic community, it will continue.”
These are some strong words on one side of a very hot issue and, sadly, it is no longer possible to read them at the Telegraph website. They were — hat tip to Andrew Sullivan and others — pulled due to pressures, either legal or cultural.
However, you can read the full article on exit zero.
There are a number of issues here, in a confusing swarm. What are the facts? Are Islamic community structures in England beginning to clash with British structures? Why was the article pulled? Was the government involved in any way? One or more major Islamic groups? What happened here?
In light of other news events, it is also important to note the following paragraph in this banished story:
For someone with such strong and uncompromising views, Dr Sookhdeo is a surprisingly gentle and easy-going man. He speaks with authority on Islam, as it was his first faith: he was brought up as a Muslim in Guyana, the only English colony in South America, and attended a madrassa there. … Dr Sookhdeo’s family emigrated to England when he was 10. In his early twenties, when he was at university, he converted to Christianity.
Yes, it is a controversial thing when members of one faith convert to another and then, offering a mix of their old training and their new commitments, comment on religious matters in the public square. But does this automatically mean their views are out of bounds? Do MSM reporters, let’s say, avoid the views of former Southern Baptists when they write about conservative Christianity? Do they avoid former Roman Catholic priests when they write about issues in the modern American Catholic church?
I do not think so. These sources are valid, as part of a wider debate with a diversity of voices and viewpoints.