Church leader criticises Islam

A religious leader from Norwich was today widely condemned after he branded the Islamic faith “evil”.

Rev Alan Clifford, pastor of the Norwich Reformed Church, waded into the controversy surrounding anti-Muslim remarks made by the British National Party in an undercover BBC documentary.

Today, religious and race leaders in Norwich condemned his backing of claims that Islam is “a monster in our midst”.

BNP leader Nick Griffin was shown in the TV documentary telling a rally of party members that Islam was a “vicious, wicked faith” that “has expanded through a handful of cranky lunatics” and “is now sweeping country after country”.

He later repeated the remarks and refused to apologise during an interview on BBC2’s Newsnight.

While trying to distance himself from the BNP, who he describes as “abhorrent”, the Norwich evangelical pastor echoed its leader’s views on Islam in a letter to the Evening News.

He stated: “However unpalatable or non-PC the truth is to many people today, we need to know the facts about Islam.

“While the racism of the BNP is abhorrent, Nick Griffin’s recent Newsnight remarks regarding Islam are correct, when he said it was “a monster in our midst”.

“The only antidote to this evil religion is the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Dr Clifford today told the Evening News he stood by his decision to align his own views about the spread of Islam with those of the BNP.

“I’m quite clear to disassociate myself from the racism of the BNP. However, not every group wrong about one thing is wrong about everything,” he said.

“The views about Islam made by Nick Griffin gained widespread publicity and I happen to believe what he said in this case was correct.

“Anyone who knows anything about the history of Islam knows it has devastated large parts of the world through the force of violence and the power of the sword.”

Dr Clifford said Muslim leaders in Britain needed to do more to disassociate themselves from terrorism and parts of the Koran that could be used to incite violence.

“The more moderate followers of Islam need to be challenged that if they do settle in the West they need to do more to discard elements of the Koran that espouse violence. Terrorists are able to use parts of the Koran to justify their violence,” he said.

Norwich Evening News, 4 August 2004