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Christians - A Religious Minority?

Christians - A Religious Minority?

Issue 69 June 2010

Has political correctness led to the rejection of Christianity?


There is a current media preoccupation with the idea that Christians in the UK are being marginalised or even persecuted; or at least that Christians feel this is the case. At first glance, this might seem absurd but we should take a step back and place ourselves in the shoes of our Christian brothers and sisters.

Imagine you have grown up in a predominantly white, largely Christian community (whether practicing or nominally adhering as a cultural tradition). The shops you used as a child have been replaced by halal butchers and shops selling incense and exotic fruit. Your church congregation is dwindling and you see new mosques bursting at the seams. And then you read about the nurse who was suspended for wearing a tiny crucifix while female Muslim medics wear their headscarves with pride. You see the streets of your town decorated with signs and flashing lights proclaiming Eid Mubarak which the Local Authority has erected to promote community cohesion. But at the same time you hear that Dundee council has decided not to make reference to Christmas in the ceremony to turn on the winter ‘festive’ lights.

So if we accept that the current mood of political correctness has in places swung to such an extreme that Islam is acceptable but Christianity is not, why should we as Muslims be concerned? Why shouldn’t we simply rejoice that the system is now on ‘our side’?

We must remember that this situation plays straight into the hands of our detractors. The BNP use these kinds of news stories to generate anti-Muslim emotion. When they call for an end to immigration from Muslim countries to preserve Britain’s Christian culture this strikes a chord with some of those Christians who are feeling increasingly marginalised, even if, as I alluded to before, they barely practice the religion they seek to defend.

We must also ask ourselves: what kind of society would we like to live in? Many Muslims live in the UK because of its tradition as a liberal democracy where individuals have freedom of expression. We have spent many years campaigning for our own freedoms but if we are to maintain what we have achieved, let alone increase them, we must also defend those of our Christian and Jewish brothers and sisters, for if their freedom of expression is attacked, ours is sure to follow. Indeed, often these incidents of marginalisation are a case of Secularists attacking Christianity as the path of least resistance toward the goal of suppressing all public displays of faith and religious involvement in public life. They may seem to be preoccupied with Christianity but they have not forgotten about the rest of us.

But we should not react only in a spirit of enlightened self-interest but because it is the right thing to do. The Qur’an tells us, “there can be no compulsion in religion,” (2:256) reminding us of the presence of righteous servants amongst the Jews and the Christians that believe in the last day and perform good deeds. These are the people we should wish to live amongst and we should defend them against the hostility of secularists just as the Negus defended the Muslims of the first hijrah against the idolaters.

In this age where science and materialism have become the new dominant faiths, believers, both Muslims and People of the Book, need to work together to remind denigrators of the positive aspects of public declarations of faith; not least the contributions to charity and philanthropy. We should also seek to establish the remembrance of God in our society; from Hymns praising the Creator of “all things bright and beautiful” to the modest dress of the Imams, priests and Rabbis. Materialism has brought us a society festooned with multicoloured baubles, but these superficialities are obscuring the light of the Creator that we should see in faces of men, women and children. That is the light we should crave and we need to work together to sustain and promote it.

Dawud Bone is the Stone Ashdown Director of the Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations at the Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths in Cambridge.


To check out more of Dawud Bone's articles, click here


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17 Sep 14, 05:10

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2 Sep 13, 04:07

here o got to know and read about the various socila
and legal issues that the christian community os now
facing. but as i knw there are the sme set of issues
that different other communities too face. this could
not be considered as a very big deal.

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7 Nov 12, 19:46

This is a good post.

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3 Jun 10, 19:14

An enlightening, thoughtful piece - thank you Dawud. Based on my own experience in the UK, most examples of favouring other beliefs over Christianity is NOT the outcome of a complaint from other faith groups, but a secularist response which hides behind laying the blame at the door of 'ethnic minorities' (sic) . Some may see this as an aspect of a 'multicultural society'. However, in my view, this subtle shifting of 'blame' really amounts to an incitement to racial/religious hatred and should be shown up for what it is. When/if Christianity has been relegated to a minority, fringe interest (other than in times of crisis when suddenly the churches are full) the secularists will focus their destructive attention on *all* other religious groups.

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