Church leader challenges Ken Livingstone on Islam comments
The pastor of one of the largest churches in Britain has challenged Ken Livingstone over his claim that he will make London a “beacon of Islam”.
Colin Dye, the senior pastor of Kensington Temple church, has written a letter to London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone following his controversial comments on Islam last month.
In a speech at the North London Central Mosque, Mr Livingstone told the audience that he was determined to “educate the mass of Londoners” about Islam.
“I want to spend the next four years making sure that every non-muslim in London knows and understands [its] words and message. That will help to cement our city as a beacon that demonstrates the meaning of the words of the Prophet”, he said.
Running for mayor for the fourth time, Mr Livingstone spoke to assembled muslims at the controversial mosque and described Mohammed’s words in his last sermon as “an agenda for all humanity.”
Responding to his words, Mr Dye wrote to Mr Livingstone:
“On Friday 16th you spoke at Finsbury Park Mosque. In your short speech you said that you were stunned after reading Muhammad’s last sermon. I was also stunned after reading the words of your speech. I understand that it is expedient for a London Mayoral candidate to affirm publically the Muslim community. However, to take it upon yourself to promote the Islamic faith, which is exactly the impression you have conveyed by your statements, is a serious breach of the objectivity in faith matters we expect of those in public office.
“You seem to have selected a few statements from Muhammad’s last sermon that appear to uphold values you want to see become a beacon for London. But, are you aware of the fact that Muhammad’s last sermon was directed solely to followers of Islam? This sermon speaks against racial discrimination only among those within the Islamic faith. Do you also realise that it refers to Islam as the only true religion and includes the mandatory implementation of Sharia?
“Wittingly or unwittingly you have succeeded in communicating to all knowledgeable Muslims and non-Muslims that you will spend the next four years (if elected) promoting the religion of Islam itself, rather than the few out-of-context words which so impressed you. This is frankly deeply disturbing. I urge you to clarify your position. You could easily affirm the Muslim community without these extravagant and potentially misleading statements.”
Links to fundamentalism
Mr Livingstone has often been linked to fundamentalist Islam.
In 2010, he campaigned against his own party’s candidate in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and backed an independent candidate, Lutfur Rahman, who had been previously fired by the Labour party for links to the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), an extremist group.
The IFE believes in sharia law, jihad and creating an "Islamic social and political order" in Britain.