Muslim speaks to Church of England synod for first time
Nahdi branded violent Islamist jihadists as ‘idiots’ and condemned discrimination against Christians
A British Muslim addressed a Church of England synod for the first time on Tuesday in a discussion with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on the suffering of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, Agence France-Presse reported.
Fuad Nahdi, head of Radical Middle Way, a think tank involved in inter-faith dialogue, recited an Islamic prayer and greeted the Anglican gathering with the Islamic greeting “salaam aleikum” or Peace be with you.
“The persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria is heinous and totally unacceptable to any sane human being. But we should not forget that the Muslims have borne the brunt of these extremists,” Nahdi said during his speech.
“Thousands if not tens of thousands have died in the past couple of years and they will continue to die if we pretend to ignore it,” the Kenya-born campaigner, who was dressed in a blue robe and cap, told hundreds of assembled delegates.
During his address, Nahdi described violent Islamist jihadists as “idiots” and condemned discrimination against Christians.
He also said that Muslims who did not adhere to extremist ideologies had suffered in greater numbers.
Nahdi also spoke about growing anger among young Muslims in Britain in reaction to criticism that they face because of the actions of extremists they have nothing to do with “thousands of miles away”.
“All the pressure on us is to try and justify things that are unjustifiable,” he said, calling for peaceful existence and joint “fight against ignorance” by Christians and Muslims.
Also on Tuesday, Nahdi wrote in an article published in The Guardian newspaper that he hopes his appearance “as the first Muslim to address the General Synod shows that followers of these great religions can be allies”.
The Church of England is the mother church of the global Anglican Communion, which has some 80 million followers in over 165 countries.