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Rowan Williams says Islam makes positive contribution to society, ‘secularist’ groups disagree

Rowan_Williams

I’ve always liked the former Archbishop of Canterbury. He seems to represent the best of British society. Those eyebrows are fantastic as well!:

Rowan Williams says Islam makes positive contribution to society, ‘secularist’ groups disagree

Islam is restoring traditional British values such as shared responsibility and duty, a former archbishop has said.

Rowan Williams said that Muslims had brought back “open, honest and difficult public discussion” in one of their “greatest gifts” to Britain.

He used a speech yesterday to criticise sections of the press for portraying Muslims as “un-British” and complained of “illiteracy” about religion among figures in government.

Secularist groups accused Dr Williams of “foolishness”, but his remarks were welcomed by British Muslim organisations.

Keith Porteous Wood, the executive director of the National Secular Society, said: “I’m still smiling about the comments he made about Sharia law a few years ago. You’d think he’d have learnt his lesson.”

In 2008, when still Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Williams provoked controversy by stating that the application of some aspects of Islamic law in British courts was “unavoidable”. He also drew both praise and criticism after telling a literary festival in 2012 that the hijab gave some Muslim women strength.

Yesterday, Dr Williams, who stood down as the head of the Church of England to become master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, in 2012, told the Living Islam Festival in Lincolnshire that Christianity and Islam were shifting British values back towards the community.

He said that Britain was an “argumentative democracy” where “we are not just individual voters ticking boxes but individuals and communities engaging in open, honest and difficult public discussion. One of the greatest gifts of the Muslim community to the UK has been that they have brought that back to the people.”

Asked if he meant that Islam was rejuvenating British values, Dr Williams said: “Yes. I’m thinking of the way in which, for example, in Birmingham we have seen a local parish and a mosque combining together to provide family services and youth activities, both acting out of a very strong sense that this is what communities ought to do. ”

Earlier this year, David Cameron began a debate when he warned that a failure to be “muscular” in promoting British values had led to the rise of extremism.

Dr Williams appeared to offer a riposte yesterday. “It’s really important that we respect and try to understand diversity of conscience and belief and conviction in our environment,” he said. “These are not just about what makes us British, they’re about what makes us human.”

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, warned that the speech could undermine the UK’s social cohesion.

“Narratives that promote the view that religious belonging is necessary for social responsibility may be comforting to those for whom the promotion of religion is a profession, but in the UK they are totally unsupported by evidence,” he said.

Muslim groups praised Dr Williams’s intervention. Dilwar Hussain, chairman of the Muslim charity New Horizons, said: “That is a sentiment we would agree with, very much. We would also be concerned about any of those values being taken to extremes, whether it’s communitarianism or individualism.”

The Times, 2 August 201


See also “‘Muslim Glastonbury’ challenges perceptions of Islam in Britain”, Guardian, 1 August 2014

According to the Guardian report: “Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, one of a number of non-Muslim speakers, gave a talk entitled ‘What do British values look like and is there room for Muslims?’ He expressed his unease about focus on British values rather than values of human beings generally. ‘The setting-up therefore of British values against any kind of values, whether Muslim or Christian, just won’t do,’ he said.

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  • JD

    guardian of the galaxy soundtrack

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Good, good for you. I do not follow your line of thought but since you said that you would defend me even though you don’t share my opinion then I must of course do the same for you. I really can’t give you advice (you’re not a child after all), but just this: please, don’t despair. As long as there is life there is hope. But I think you already know that.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Thank you.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Well, as long as he does not actually and openly advocate for the destruction of the Muslim cultural herirtage, it’s Ok with me. And he tod me we basically agree on the secular and social significance of the Muslim cultural heritage.
    Of course we couod not give up on Islam even if the Ka’aba were (Allah forbid!) destroyed. On that point I also can agree with him.
    And of course Muslims do not worship the buildings themselves, neither do I. I just don’t want to lose them, for peace of mind.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    OK.
    And thanks for the explanation. It’s good to know that in detail.

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    It’s quite challenging XD

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    I didn’t say that’s how anyone interprets the hadith, or that’s what it
    says. I said one could conceivably do that. It’s a “very strange
    interpretation” because it’s a very strange hadith…

    Only because you’re a Quranist. I won’t waste time defending it. Regardless of whether you accept hadith or not, it doesn’t change the fact that Goldziher got the hadith totally wrong, which makes me suspicious of him. A very noobish mistake to make.

    Goldziher mentions fabricated hadiths that were circulated during Abd
    a-Malik’s rule to give the Dome of the Rock a sacred veneer. But he says
    that al-Ya’qubi’s specific assertion that Abd al-Malik built the Dome
    of the Rock as a substitute for the Sacred Mosque is is probably a
    fabrication due to anti-Umayyad sentiment. Again, read the footnote.

    I’ve read the footnote, and unless I’m mentally handicapped, it doesn’t change anything. I never even mentioned the substituting Jerusalem for Makkah in that paragraph, it’s irrelevant. It does nothing to change the fact that Goldziher was incorrect when he stated Abd al Malik employed al-Zuhri to back up his decision to make Jerusalem sacred, that is, the assertion that al-Zuhri spread the saying about making pilgrimage to Makkah, Masjid al Nabawi and Jerusalem. You have no evidence to back up the claim that Abd al Malik innovated anything.

    He didn’t say that (see above). I quoted him to give a sense of the
    hadith fabrication before, during, and after Abd al- Malik that was
    meant to confer distinction on Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock

    Again, I see no reason to accept this claim.

  • MichaelElwood

    Friend of Bosnia wrote: “And that , besides mass murder, is to me the most execrable crime. THAT’s why I object to it, get my point, and what the … is so objectionable about that? Even to those of us who are more secular, it’s just not acceptabe to have the best of our history consigned to oblivion and THAT’s what it’s all about. Do you have a probem with that? And if you don’t, then what’s the point of this endless theological dispute with me wasting both our time and energy? Besides that, I don’t have a degree in Islamic theology just so you know. I do know what you wrote me is true, of course, but that wa snot the point. The pointz is that teh destruction of cultural heritage is part of warfare, it’s part of genocide, and this war, be it in Bosnia or in Palestine, is a most unjust war.

    “The Dome of the Rock, whatever purpose it was built for (whixh I do happen to know) and whether this agrees with dormal Islamic doctrine or not, belongs to the Palestinian people, as inheritance of the Ummayads who built it there. It belongs to all Muslims too, So do the Ottoman mosques in Bosia-Herzegovina, they belong to the Bosniak people as inheritance from the Ottomans. Since he Bosniaks are Muslims they form part of their historic and cultural heritahe and are part of their identity as a people and a nation. Nobody has a right to take them away from them. Nobody has a right to rob a people of their past.”

    We already agreed on this point.

  • MichaelElwood

    Tanveer Khan wrote: “Very strange interpretation and one I’m willing to bet absolutely no Muslim in any meaningful sense of the word subscribes to. The hadith isn’t saying pray at Makkah and you can miss the next 100,000 prayers, pray at Masjid Nabawi and miss the next 1,000 prayers or pray at Jerusalem and miss the next 500 prayers. It’s referring to the reward of the prayers.”

    I didn’t say that’s how anyone interprets the hadith, or that’s what it says. I said one could conceivably do that. It’s a “very strange interpretation” because it’s a very strange hadith. It implies that one’s prayers are more rewarding or potent depending on which mosque they’re said in. A prayer in the sacred mosque is a 100,000 times more potent, a prayer in the prophet’s mosque is 1000 times more potent, and a prayer in the aqsa mosque is 500 times more potent than a prayer in the mosque wherever you are. That’s nonsense, of course. Prayer is rewarding and potent whichever mosque it’s said in. . . or outside a mosque. This is because God is wherever we are:

    “When My servants ask you about Me, I am always near. I answer their prayers when they pray to Me. The people shall respond to Me and believe in Me, in order to be guided.” [Quran 2:186]

    “To GOD belongs the east and the west; wherever you go there will be the presence of GOD. GOD is Omnipresent, Omniscient.” [Quran 2:115]

    “O you who believe, you shall respond to GOD and to the messenger when he invites you to what gives you life. You should know that GOD is closer to you than your heart, and that before Him you will be summoned.” [Quran 8:24]

    “We created the human, and we know what he whispers to himself. We are closer to him than his jugular vein.” [Quran 50:16]

    He doesn’t privilege the prayers of people who, by accident of birth, are in certain cities with access to certain mosques (or people who have the means to travel to those cities). We’re no closer to God in aqsa mosque than we are in our bedroom, and our prayers are no more rewarding or potent in aqsa mosque either.

    Tanveer Khan wrote: “Goldziher says that Abd al Malik did this by using al-Zuhri. However, as the article points out, he was too young and also unknown at the time. Al-Zuhri met Abd al Malik seven or eight years after the death of Zubayr. So how exactly would Abd al Malik justify and legalize his action if al-Zubayr didn’t even meet Abd al Malik at the time, which is how Yaqubi and Goldziher claim Abd Al Malik gave the Dome of the Rock, in your words, “a sacred veneer”.”

    Goldziher mentions fabricated hadiths that were circulated during Abd a-Malik’s rule to give the Dome of the Rock a sacred veneer. But he says that al-Ya’qubi’s specific assertion that Abd al-Malik built the Dome of the Rock as a substitute for the Sacred Mosque is is probably a fabrication due to anti-Umayyad sentiment. Again, read the footnote.

    Tanveer Khan wrote: “You quoted Goldziher so I assumed you agreed with him when he said Abd al Malik tried to equate a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with that to Makkah, which would be kufr.”

    He didn’t say that (see above). I quoted him to give a sense of the hadith fabrication before, during, and after Abd al- Malik that was meant to confer distinction on Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock (not Ya’qubi’s specific assertion that Abd al-Malik wanted to replace pilgrimage to Mecca with pilgrimage to Jerusalem). Over the years an entire genre, Fadaʾil al-Quds (religious merits of Jerusalem), developed for this purpose.

  • Nur

    I refer to the area as Palestine because that is how history refers to it. I don’t believe there was ever a ‘Jewish State’, no more than I believe that I live in China by living in a ‘Chinese neighborhood’ in Kuching Malaysia.
    I don’t believe there should be 2 separate entities. There should be ONE state. Jews want to live there, they will have to live just like every other Jew around the world that is at peace with his neighbors…without special recognition over and above everyone else, and without that fantasy of ‘chosen people;

  • Solid Snake

    Hes from New York. You might want to consider that statement lol (May Allah keep all of us safe)

  • Solid Snake

    Hey, you never cease to amaze me Tanveer.And at this age to boot, InshaAllah you will go far in life.

  • Jekyll

    Oh he is not a Whabbi, most certainly not Whabbi. As the young Earl said, he is most likely a Qurranisnt, a phenomenon that is well observed in some educated converts. The example of Brother Gary Miller (youtube) comes to mind.
    They are not so zealous as they are known for their exacting, meticulous, eloquent, assiduous form of verbal exegesis, as clearly shown by by Mr. Elwood.

    In a way one can compare them to “Academic Muslim Mormons”. Their faith is, in my opinion, a fusion of pragmatism, scientism and a fine tuning of fait accompali in the modern setting.

    But unfortunately along with their other peccadilloes, some have gone far as to purport the role of the prophecy as peripheral to the message of of the Quran. Some might acknowledge the “nubwa” as just a fine a pirori statement for their understanding of the Quran. And one cannot debunk them at face value, since they do have command of the theological, historical and philosophical (one would wonder why the last) “nature” of the Quran.

    Needless to say under their argument one can even do away with Mecca and Medina, or to be exact, the kabba and the mosque of The Prophet (How many Muslims actually genuinely “worship” the Kabba, and aside from extreme deviated Sufis, the Mosque of the Prophet ) ?

  • HSkol

    Jekyll, you are not a poor lad . . . and, I’d take a bullet for you, believe it or not . . . I would.

  • Jekyll

    I will not cease from Mental Fight,
    Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
    Till we have built Jerusalem,

    All paths will lead to Jerusalem Mr. Elwood…Al-Auqsa or not.

    Read Jerusalem in the Quran.

  • HSkol

    No matter whom you or I may annoy, you’re good by me. If we annoy one another at times, all the better. At least I feel I’m getting to understand you – and, that does matter to me.

  • Jekyll

    Indeed…a question I always ponder is how do they pray ?

  • Friend of Bosnia

    The Mongols are not evil. I never said that. Indeed they are a quite sympathetic people, today. But they were the force that around 1258 put an end to the Golden Age of Islamic Civilization. You can’t deny that. The interetsting thing is that their capital Karakorum was a highly cultured place where people of many different faiths and ethnicities coexisted peacefully.
    Oh, for Eastern Europe, for Russia and for the Middle East and Central Asia they were terrible, terrible. Nevertheless, like when the Romans invaded Greece and got conquered by Greek culture so it was when they invaded China. They were not foolish. They had much to gain by adopting Chinese ways and they did, I know that. But for the Muslims it was terrible. There were later wars but until today none like that. Sure, a few decades later they founded the Ilkhanid dynasty that made Iran a prosperous, cultured nation.
    Its just that with IS, today the Arabs have demostrated that they don’t need the Momgols any longer to make a wasteland. But that does not mean I hate the Mongols. All that is long sinc epast and gone and I don’t think my family was very much affected by them (if they had ventured further west it could have been however) So, let us not quarel. In the Middle Ages their name was a byword for wanton and wholesale destruction but except for ancestry it has nothing to do with the Mongols of tiday, In fact I think they are quite likable even though I donÄt know them personally. I have always believed that nobody’s ancestry should be held against him or her. You are right on that, nobody has good or evil DNA. There is no such thing. Good and evil is always only a matter of character and upbringing. No, you’re OK. Just don’t despair of yourself. I know it’s very hard. I sometimes too despair of myself. I know I can say terrible things when I do.

  • HSkol

    Fabulous thought.

  • HSkol

    Ha! I’ll go through your links tomorrow. I certainly didn’t mean to invade. I happen to simply find you an interesting fellow. Ignore me now; and, Peace Be Upon You.

  • Nur

    OK…here is something that is NOT mythical.

    Although the Mongols were ruthless monsters, thousands of people where my family originates can trace their ancestry to either ‘rape and pillage’ of the raiders, or the mass migration and resettlement of the people.

    So yes, what the Mongols did was evil, but some of us are the result of what happened. We don’t have evil DNA.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Not only that, it’s the adaptation of many pagan Roman ideas into a derivate from Judaism. Nevertheless for me that’s not the point. After all, if it’s written in the Holy Qur’an that righteous Jews and Christians too will be rewarded in the Hereafter.
    It’s their deeds that are objectionable. 180° opposed to what the Messiah taught, to what they preach. Think of antisemitism, the Inquisition, the conquest of the Americas, the slave trade.
    As Mahatma Gandhi said “I like your Christ but I don’t like you Christians. You Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    But as I said there are righteous people among Jews and Christians and they have my respect.

  • Tanveer ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Khan

    I’m not sure when 500 = 1000 or when 500 became greater than 100,000 or
    1000 either. Whatever the number, these type of fabricated hadiths are
    still problematic. Instead of praying regularly over a lifetime at your
    hometown mosque, one could just pray once at Mecca, or several times in
    Medina or Jerusalem and be done with it.

    Very strange interpretation and one I’m willing to bet absolutely no Muslim in any meaningful sense of the word subscribes to. The hadith isn’t saying pray at Makkah and you can miss the next 100,000 prayers, pray at Masjid Nabawi and miss the next 1,000 prayers or pray at Jerusalem and miss the next 500 prayers. It’s referring to the reward of the prayers.

    The point of my quoting Goldziher wasn’t to demonstrate that Abd
    al-Malik equated pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the pilgrimage to Mecca.
    But to demonstrate his lack of scruples in trying to confer sanctity on
    the Dome of the Rock.

    Goldziher says that Abd al Malik did this by using al-Zuhri. However, as the article points out, he was too young and also unknown at the time. Al-Zuhri met Abd al Malik seven or eight years after the death of Zubayr. So how exactly would Abd al Malik justify and legalize his action if al-Zubayr didn’t even meet Abd al Malik at the time, which is how Yaqubi and Goldziher said he did?

    And I didn’t call him of a kafir, I called him a piece of s***
    You quoted Goldziher and I assumed you agreed with him when he said Abd al Malik tried to equate a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with that to Makkah, which would be kufr.

    But for some reason, we hesitate to call historical self-styled caliphs
    like Abd al-Malik, who ordered the murder of thousands of civilians, and
    compound their sin by doing it in the sacred mosque during the sacred
    months, a piece of s***.

    Never objected to calling him a piece of s***. I’m just not convinced that he tried to innovate regarding the Dome of the Rock.

  • HSkol

    Hey, can you unlock so that I can follow you? Or, is that asking too much? I’m locked down too; so, I understand a big fat NO. :)

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Well OK, it’s no more sacred than any other mosque is. Still itr is written that there is no greater sin than tp destroy the mosques where Allah is worshipped.
    I’m quite sensitive to the issue because if you knew that in Bosnia-Herzegovina the Serbs destroyed 618 of 1000 mosques, among those some with great historic significance and of great cultural value you would understand. They have thus robbed the Bosniak people of their past, of the tangible evidence of ever having been there at all. Loke the nazos tried to do with the Poles by flattening Warsaw after they had suppressed the Warsaw Uprising while the Red Army looked on (and let the Germans do the dirty work of liquidating the class enemy, the “bourgeois.”)

    If you knew that the Israelis destroyed the mosques in Gaza primarily with the aim to humiliate and demoralize the Palestinians. Their petext “we are only fiughting terrorists” is just a self-serving justification. If it weren’t so why would they shoot children at point-blank range? Why do they wear T-shirts showing an ostensibly Muslim prwgnant woman in the crossgairs of a sniper rifle , inscribed with “One shot, two kills?” I should not hate such people? I should give in to their demands and facilitate their destruction so that my enemies can build theor places of worship over the spot and proclaim their ownership of the land, because the Dome of the Rock or the Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka, on grounds of their not being “sacred”, are of little value and consequence? I shoudl accept that proceless heritage of mankind is wantonly destroyed so that future generations will never see it and just shrug it off?
    No, the mosques and other buildings are surely not sacred. The Old brodge at Mostar certainly isn’t. So what? Where did I say that they are sacred, or objeccts of worship? I just object to their being destroyed, and theor destruction just being shrugged off. What could possibly be wrong with that? In the last 22 years more ancient cultural landmarks have been destroyed than in WWI and WWII together, and an end is not in sight. Louvain was repeated in Sarajevo in 1992 when the Serbs burned down the National Library. For me the destruction of the Ferh

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