London is a more “Islamic” city than many in Muslim countries, a leading Islamic scholar has claimed.
Maulana Syed Ali Raza Rizvi, a Shia cleric, said he feels “more Islamic” in Britain due to the country’s multicultural policies and his freedom to practice his faith.
Speaking at the annual Benedict XVI lecture alongside Cardinal Vincent Nichols — the most senior Catholic bishop in England and Wales — and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the cleric claimed Islam was about “love and justice” but Muslim leaders were failing to show this.
The Telegraph quotes him as saying: “I feel that London has more Islamic values than many of the Muslim countries put together.
“There are many different communities living together in peace and harmony, giving respect to the others and loving others and that is what Islam is all about – and unfortunately [much] of the Muslim political leadership has failed to provide that.
“I feel more Islamic living here because I can easily practise my faith and give respect to all other members of the community belonging to different faiths and not even belonging to a faith, to anything.
“Because that is what Islam is all about, respecting and giving to others. If in one line I could say what Islam is all about, it is all about love and justice.”
However, Chief Rabbi Mirvis also said at the lecture that minorities should be required to pass the so-called “Tebbit Test” – the idea floated by former Conservative Cabinet Minister Norman Tebbit that the true loyalties of ethnic minorities can be determined by which national cricket team they support.
“Minorities are responsible to maintain their own traditions, to be proud of their background, loyal to their faiths, and at the same time to be proud members of their countries,” he said.
“In a nutshell, minorities need to pass the Norman Tebbit test. This is something which, thankfully, Jewish communities across the globe have almost always done, and we’re proud of the fact that we can pass that test within British society today.”
Earlier this year, figures showed that London’s population had reached a record high, despite large numbers of people moving away from the city.
The UK capital’s population is growing by around 100,000 a year, mainly due to immigration, with the city’s demographics changing rapidly as white Britons move out.
According to the 2011 Census, 620,000 white Britons moved out of London over the previous decade, including a third of all white residents in the borough of Barking and Dagenham.