A CONTROVERSIAL Norwich pastor has used the third anniversary of the World Trade Centre bombings to renew his attack on the “evil” of Islam.
Rev Alan Clifford hit the headlines last month when he said he agreed with comments made by British National Party leader Nick Griffin that Islam was an evil religion.
And Dr Clifford, who leads Norwich Reformed Church in Eaton, today stuck his head above the parapet once again — and was promptly told to “shut up” by Norwich North MP Ian Gibson.
This week Dr Clifford re-issued a document entitled Path to Paradise: Christ or Muhammad, which he penned in response to the September 11 bombings.
In his treatise, Dr Clifford said it was clear the words of the Qu’ran had inspired the bombers to attack New York — believing it would win them a place in heaven.
The 62-year-old said: “As the third anniversary of September 11 approaches, I re-issue my Path to Paradise: Christ or Muhammad? as an epilogue to our recent Islam debate.
“We dare not lose sight of the fact that our controversy with Islam is not only about free speech, civilised values and democracy.
“Since authentic Christianity gave birth to these things, their survival cannot be guaranteed with it.
“Thus the chief crisis we face is the widespread collapse of Christian conviction in the West.”
He said the decay of civilisation as a result of that meant there was “no defence against militant Islam.”
He added: “The only antidote to this evil religion and its barbaric ethos is the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
But city MP Dr Gibson gave Dr Clifford’s latest comments short shrift, and said he should not try to use the anniversary of September 11 for his own purposes.
He said: “I think it is time for him to shut up. He wants to be much more measured and civil in his assessment of Islam and ensure he does not make inflammatory statements which can worsen the tension which exists.”
Sohale Rahman, a Muslim who is involved with the West Norfolk and Fenland Muslims and is chairman of campaign group Minority Matters, said Dr Clifford’s reading of the Qu’ran was extremely selective and his comments were motivated by his own agenda.
He said: “Muslim is the fastest growing religion in England and the fastest growing among women and it seems to me all he is trying to do is prevent anybody else from becoming Muslim.
“He is not worth getting into a slanging match with, because he would not be interested in having a reasoned debate.
“There are lots more very important people in very respectable positions working in a different way to him who we would rather talk to.
“To some extent it is good what he says, because he has drawn a dividing line with him on one side with Nick Griffin, while our side is us and people like Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
“But the other side of the coin is that people like him are trying to create social disharmony.
“What we do with Minority Matters is to celebrate diversity and understand differences.”
Mm-hmm. I wish Sohale Rahman would spend some time combatting Omar Bakri‘s “extremely selective” reading of the Qur’an.