The muslim community of Rotherham (and the UK) needs critical friends, desperately.
I was invited, when the cse scandal became front page news, to attend a faith leaders seminar with Sarah Champion, to explore what the faith communities could contribute to tackling cse (the forum seems to have died a death, maybe because Sarah has had other battles to fight!!).
The meeting was well attended by around 17 leaders representing a whole range of Christian churches from Pentecostal on one side to Catholic on the other. But only two Muslims attended, albeit concerned and enthusiastic, but both represented small third sector organisations, not the BMY nor any mosques.
It was very disappointing. It is perhaps understandable that muslim leaders might want to keep a low profile because they find it difficult to admit there is a problem (Corbyn’s approach is in no way helping them face this!).
IF, I repeat, IF, that is the case, as I have repeatedly stated in my by-election campaign and subsequently, the other faith communities are ready and waiting to stand by them in supporting them in facing up to reality (we, sadly, are in no position to cast stones).
The presence of the Roman Catholic representatives would have been helpful in this regard and they shared their own painful, humiliating journey and experience in this respect.
But this offer and experience has fallen on deaf ears apparently. This leads me to fear that more sinister agendas are at play.
While on the subject, I find it perplexing that many on the left are never slow in pointing out the failures of Christian faith communities…but lose their bottle and fail to apply their self righteous standards across the board.
A problem is never addressed through denial…Corbyn’s response to Sarah Champion’s stance on this issue has been sufficient reason for me to decide never to support him.
The truth is a stranger to him and ideology trumps everything with his party. I believe they will be morally, socially and spiritually dangerous to this nation if they take power (never mind economically!).
A far cry from the days of Keir Hardie et al, who were informed by a Christian, non conformist vision of social and economic justice.
Time for Labour to recover their true roots…they are in the best possible position to be that critical friend.