Phi Beta Cons

The Church of England vs. “Schizophrenic” Multiculturalism

Since the London bombings last year the British government has adopted numerous measures designed to gain favor with resident Muslims by transforming the UK into a multi-faith nation, such as providing public funding to fly Muslim scholars to Britain, shelving legislation against forced marriage, and sanctioning financial arrangements to comply with Islamic requirements.

As The Sunday Telegraph reports, the Church of England has condemned this multicultural drive and defended the nation’s Christian heritage in surprisingly audacious terms. In a leaked document it states:
that the attempt to make minority “faith” communities more integrated has backfired, leaving society “more separated than ever before”…[It] even calls for the term “multi-faith” to be reconsidered.
It claims that divisions between communities have been deepened by the Government’s “schizophrenic” approach to tackling multiculturalism. While trying to encourage interfaith relations, it has actually given “privileged attention” to the Islamic faith and Muslim communities…despite the fact that [the latter] makes up only three per cent of the population…
The leaked report follows a week of tension in which a Muslim policeman was excused armed guard duty at the Israeli embassy in London, Asian and white youths clashed in Windsor, and Jack Straw suggested that Muslim women should not wear the full veil across the face in public.
These efforts have undermined its interfaith agenda and produced no “noticeable positive impact on community cohesion”, the Church document says.
“Indeed, one might argue that disaffection and separation is now greater than ever, with Muslim communities withdrawing further into a sense of victimhood, and other faith communities seriously concerned that the Government has given signals that appear to encourage the notion of a privileged relationship with sections of the Muslim community.”
What is remarkable about this event, according to observers, is that it signals a fundamental break with the Church’s usually politic rapport with the government on the multi-faith policy and this it is the first time the Church has spoken up so forcefully for the UK’s Christian roots.