Thursday, 19 March 2009

Melanie Phillips: Beware The New Axis Of Evangelicals And Islamists

Melanie Phillips says there is a dangerous new alliance between anti-Israel Christians and radical Muslim groups, often plotting in secret against their common enemy

Last weekend the Revd Stephen Sizer, vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water appeared at an anti-Israel meeting with an Islamist called Ismail Patel. Patel has not only accused Israel of ‘genocide’ and ‘war crimes’ but considers Disney to be a Jewish plot and supports Hamas, Iran and Syria.

Sizer is a virulent opponent of Christian Zionism and of Israel, which he has said he hopes will disappear just as did the apartheid regime in South Africa. He has also applauded Iranian President Ahmadinejad for having ‘looked forward to the day when Zionism ceased to exist’. Nevertheless, the appearance of an Anglican churchman on a pro-Islamist platform in Britain is a new and significant development. The Church of England recently banned its clergy from joining the BNP; should it not equally ban them from siding with the forces of Islamofascism?

Sizer’s participation, however, must be seen in the context of a disturbing realignment in the services of the forces of darkness against the free world: the emergence of an axis between a body of evangelicals, the hard left, the Islamists — and the far right.

Last July, a discreet meeting was held by a group of influential Anglican evangelicals to co-ordinate a new church approach towards Islam. The meeting was convened by Bryan Knell, head of the missionary organisation Global Connections, and others from a group calling itself Christian Responses to Islam in Britain. The 22 participants, who met at All Nations Christian College in Ware, Hertfordshire, were sworn to secrecy. The aim of the meeting was to develop the ‘grace approach to Islam’, which ‘tries to let Muslims interpret Islam rather than telling them what their religion teaches’. The meeting had in its sights those ‘aggressive’ Christians who were ‘increasing the level of fear’ in many others by talking about the threat posed by radical Islam.

The aim was thus to discredit and stifle those Christians who warn against the Islamisation of Britain and Islam’s threat to the church. Those who do so include the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, the Africa specialist Baroness Cox, the Islam expert Dr Patrick Sookhdeo and the Maranatha Ministry. A few weeks ago, Dr Sookhdeo became a spectacular victim of precisely such a discrediting process. Dr Sookhdeo, an Anglican canon, a Muslim convert and one of this country’s premier authorities on Islam, runs the Barnabas Fund, an aid agency helping persecuted Christians. He has written many books about Islam of which the latest is Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam. Read more

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