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Islamic Sufi chants at Greenbelt Festival

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Greenbelt festival started as an explicitly Christian music and arts festival in 1974. Last weekend marked a significant break from their Christian roots as they hosted Islamic Sufi chanting and meditation, describing it as one of the "ways we worshipped at Greenbelt 2017".

Worship of Allah

Ansari Qadiri Rifai Tariqa led the times of Sufi chanting and meditation.Greenbelt's own website says that "The primary mission of the Ansari Qadiri Rifai Tariqa is to be available to guide seekers of Allah." Greenbelt was therefore hosting worship of a different god to the God of the Bible.

The Ansari UK website says: "Our mission is to promote the AQRT teachings and principles of Sufism". It goes on to say:

"Sufism  is  founded  on  the  Holy  Quran,  the  Holy  Scriptures and the  teachings  of  the Prophet  Muhammad  and other  Prophets (peace  be  upon  them). We believe that the teachings of Sufism transcends all religions and faiths. Sufism promotes harmonious living with all communities and faiths."

Greenbelt refer to Muhammad as "The Prophet (pbuh)"

Another Islamic contributor to Greenbelt was Ahmad Ikhlas who is described on the Greenbelt website as: "a British born Jamaican convert to Islam who has used his heritage and love for the Prophet (pbuh) to generate an expressive unique style of music and poetry." It is shocking to see Greenbelt referring to Muhammad as "the Prophet" (capitalised) followed by "(pbuh)" short for "Peace be upon him" which devout Muslims say after referring to Muhammad.

'Christian' is a 'slippery' word

The Church Times reported that Creative Director of the Festival, Paul Northup was asked whether Greenbelt was "distinctively Christian." In reply, Northup said that the word "Christian" had become "more slippery and vexed". It is interesting to see him blaming the word "Christian" for its behaviour! He is actually saying that it is no longer "distinctively Christian" if you mean what the word "Christian" used to mean.

It is a shame to see Greenbelt so openly and unashamedly promoting Islamic worship. Northup is right. Greenbelt is no longer a 'distinctively Christian' festival if there is any substance to the word 'Christian'.


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