‘Koran invites people to violence’ – Queen’s chaplain
Reverend Gavin Ashenden, who is one of 35 chaplains who serve Queen Elizabeth II, made his comments on LBC radio Wednesday.
He was responding to the suggestion by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby that young people turn to jihad because mainstream politics is not “exciting” enough.
Ashenden said Christianity appealed to him because “it invites people to the extremity of forgiveness and love. Islam has, I think, over 100 verses inviting people to violence in the Koran which Christianity doesn’t have.”
He added: “If you’re going to invite people to be dedicated ... followers of their scriptures, Christians will go around forgiving people and Islamists will do something else.”
Ashenden’s comments come a day after a number of high-profile British Muslims signed a statement condemning the treatment of Muslims by the UK government.
Their statement came in the wake of revelations earlier this week that the British Home Office is considering the launch a “more assertive” campaign against Muslim extremism.
It would include penalizing benefit claimants who do not learn English and forcing those applying for UK visas to commit to “British values.”
The signatories accuse the British government of “criminalizing” Islam and silencing “legitimate critique and dissent” in what it says is “the ongoing demonization of Muslims in Britain [and] their values, as well as prominent scholars, speakers and organizations.”
“We reject the portrayal of Muslims and the Muslim community as a security threat. The latest act of parliament, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, threatens to create a McCarthyite witch-hunt against Muslims, with nursery workers, schoolteachers and universities expected to look out for signs of increased Islamic practice as signs of ‘radicalization.’”
It remains to be seen how the views expressed by Ashenden will affect a recent drive to recruit more Muslims into the armed forces.
In February, General Sir Nicholas Carter, Chief of the General Staff, admitted that the number of ethnic minorities in the army was “nowhere near where it needs to be,” particularly in relation to religious minority groups such as Muslims.
Figures released by the Ministry of Defense showed only 0.54 percent of regular soldiers identified as ‘Muslim’ – with many coming from Commonwealth countries rather than the UK.
According to the figures, there are just 480 Muslims serving in the British Army, one of the lowest representations of a minority group across the forces.