“We demand you raid our churches as well! Go on, turn the ‘ole thing inside out!”
“Faith leaders in Leeds shocked by police raids,” from Church Times, with thanks to Mark:
CHRISTIAN LEADERS in Dewsbury and Leeds have pledged to stand together with their Muslim neighbours this week, after police raided homes in both areas and named the London suicide bombers as local residents.
The Revd Nigel Stimpson, Vicar of Ravenhill and Thornhill Lees, where police raided houses on Tuesday, said there was a feeling of unease.
Speaking on Wednesday morning, he said: “I have just returned from taking a school assembly, and one of the children was related to one of the men who has been arrested. At leadership level, we have very good relations with Muslim leaders, and there is a feeling of disbelief that this could happen on our doorstep.”
“This” — the bombings? Or the raids? He seems to be referring to the latter. Was he as indignant at the bombings? That is not recorded.
Serious concern was expressed about the effects of the news among extremist groups, particularly the British National Party, which has already used an image of the bus blast for an election leaflet.
That is unfortunate. But it is a result of mainstream politicians’ unwillingness to deal honestly or forthrightly with the issue at hand. When they fail, groups like the BNP can capitalize upon the resentment among the public. If they want to neutralize the BNP, let them deal with the jihad threat.
The Bishop of Pontefract, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, who co-chairs the North Kirklees Inter-Faith Council, said on Wednesday that since the raids he had been in constant touch with Muslim leaders.
“There is obviously concern among the Muslim communities that the BNP will use this as ammunition. We are standing together with them, and this afternoon the Bishop of Wakefield and I will visit Dewsbury Mosque.”
The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, said: “The Muslim community is bound to feel alarmed by what has happened and we will stand with them on this.”
The Revd Neil Bishop, secretary of the group Faith Together in Leeds 11, said on Wednesday: “Christian-Muslim relations are almost unique in this part of the world, and we are upset.
“Our Muslim colleagues are very disappointed and sad about what has happened. It seems to negate everything they have been working for: presenting a compassionate face of Islam, active in the local community.”
You want to present a compassionate face of Islam? Easy: cooperate with anti-terror efforts. Turn jihadists over to the authorities.