More on the ban on Norwich church by Norwich council

I wrote yesterday about the banning of a Norwich church by the City Council.  Thankfully the widely-read Cranmer blog has picked up on this disgraceful story.

This is the New Inquisition: the demand for theological orthodoxy has given way to prohibition of ‘feeling insulted’. And you might be next. Indeed, as His Grace has previously observed, this blog may well be closed down because someone (just one) complains to the police that religio-political polemic makes them feel uncomfortable and causes them distress; that they feel ‘insulted’, despite His Grace’s best efforts ‘to foster good relations between people of all backgrounds and religions’. This blog is, after all, a public space and His Grace is publishing alarming material. He probably not infrequently falls foul of equality and diversity demands, or transgresses the bounds of acceptability for those of other faiths or ‘disordered’(© Benedict XVI) sexual proclivities. His Grace never means to insult or cause distress, but the intention or motive is irrelevant: if the beholder feels offended, His Grace may be reported to the police under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, and they are obliged to investigate.

And now, if they determine that no crime has been committed, you can rely upon some jobsworth from bureaucratic officialdom to override the law and mete out their own brand of summary justice, with no indictments, no right of appeal, no juries, and no witnesses. This blog does not agree with all of Dr Clifford’s message, but, by God, it stands foursquare with him against the misuse and abuse of power by Norwich City Council.

And so does this blog.

A correspondent has pointed me to what is said to be the leaflet.  Since I understand that Norfolk police have advised that, despite everything, it violates none of our new and excitingly vague laws against saying what we think, I give it here.  It reads as follows:


The Inauguration of President Barack Obama is an alarming development. Behind his seductive charm and eloquent rhetoric lurks a dark and dangerous agenda. His speech should alert all who dimly perceive the world-wide Islamic threat. Yes, he challenged terrorists, but he also proposed cooperation with the Islamic world. Does he not realise that in one sentence he betrayed the ‘free world’?


It is undeniable that Islam’s global jihadists – some quietly, others violently – are plotting the overthrow of all we have known for centuries. They are preparing for ‘USAistan’ and ‘UKistan’ in no uncertain terms! Tragically, our secularist Governments – which Islam aims to subjugate and replace in any case – are playing dangerous games by ignorantly distinguishing between militant and moderate Islam. The only difference between moderates and militants is between those who keep their mouths shut and those who don’t! Western Governments and other secularists are deluded by the deceptive mantra ‘Islam means peace’ (reinforced by the early, pre-abbrogated Sura 2: 256 and the frequently misquoted Sura 5: 32). But it means nothing of the kind! The Arabic word for ‘peace’ is ‘salaam’, the Hebrew equivalent being ‘shalom’. No, ‘Islam’ means ‘submission’, submission to Allah. The only sense in which the Pax Islama could mean ‘peace’ is when tribute-paying non-Muslims are silenced by conquest and reduced to a state of dhimminitude or ‘second class’ citizenship. To properly use Sir Iqbal Sacranie’s deceptive expression (used to shield Islam from its critics after 7/7) ‘the Qur’an is perfectly clear’, it states: ‘Make war on them: … Fight those who believe not in Allah … Nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are of the People of the Book, i.e. Jews and Christians), until they pay the jizyah with submission, and are utterly subdued’ (Sura 9: 14, 29).


Yes, you have read it correctly. Muslims are not really Muslims. They are properly called ‘Muhammadans’ – followers of their prophet Muhammad. The god they claim to submit to (the true meaning of ‘Islam’) is in reality the ancient pagan moon god of Arabia. For all their protestations against ‘idolatry’, their crescent moon symbol of Allah may be seen on every mosque. This imagined god is not to be confused with the living God who has uniquely revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. Since Muslims reject the true God, only acknowledged by true Christians, Christians alone are truly ‘islamic’ since they alone submit to God! Invoking an absurd piece of Islamic rhetoric, the Lord Jesus Christ was only a ‘muslim’ in the sense that He, as the Son of God, submitted Himself to the will of His heavenly Father. While Jesus may be regarded as a ‘muslim’ in this sense, Muslims are arguably not Muslims because they fail to submit to the living God! Their hostility to God in Christ makes them strictly ‘anti-muslim’!


So, Muslims need rescuing from Islam! At the same time, the West needs rescuing from Islam! To implement this twin rescue mission, two directives must be pursued:

1. Reliable information must be made available to community, educational, church and political leaders about authentic Islam. The loveless concept of Allah; the incoherence of the Qur’an; Islam’s appeal to the baser instincts of human nature; the degradation of women involving female circumcision and forced marriages; honour killings; the killing of apostates, its bloody jihadism and a fallaciously-promised erotic paradise for suicide bombers (murderers not martyrs); all these features must not be hidden. In responding to the growing threat, Western Governments are failing to face reality. The distinction between moderate and militant Islam misses the point that the religion itself is the source of the problem. Indeed, no other religion on earth can claim to match the violence of the Islamic agenda. Seemingly-benign Muslim communities will always be breeding grounds from which their more militant members can recruit jihadists.

2. With sensitive yet courageous compassion, Christians must use all proper means to evangelise Muslims. In the process, there must be no concessions to liberal as well as Muslim denials of the deity and grace of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and only Saviour of the world. In short, the case for the pure, life-transforming faith of biblical Christianity must be courageously made. On the religious education level, the RE component of National Curricula must ‘put the record straight’. Teachers must stop pretending that Jesus and Muhammad are on a par and that the Holy Bible and the Holy Qur’an teach similarly-positive values. Without denying that too often Christians have failed to demonstrate the compassionate virtues of its Founder, the true character of Muhammad’s programme and its devastating dictates must not be hidden from our children. Yes, the Christian Gospel forbids and condemns hatred and violence. The same cannot be said of the message of Muhammad. The children of Western schools must learn the difference between the mercy of the Sermon on the Mount and the hatred of the Hadith. The children of Muslim citizens must also be exposed to the purity of Christ and not the poison of Muhammad.


With a continuing and growing assault on our Christian heritage, never was there a greater need to get to grips with the truth of the Bible text: ‘No man ever spoke like this man’ (John 7: 46). This was the response of amazed men who heard Christ. What truths explain their astonishment?


And why? He was no ordinary man. He was perfect and sinless. He is the ‘God-man’ (Matthew 1: 23); ‘God manifest in the flesh’ (1 Timothy 3: 16); the Eternal ‘Word made flesh’ (John 1: 14).

Thus, He spoke words of truth, purity, love, kindness and compassion. He spoke with divine unction, grace and authority. No one else, before or since, ever spoke like Him. He is Creator, King, and Lord of the Universe.

On the other hand, Muhammad was an ordinary man. He was imperfect and sinful. He spoke words of error, impurity, hate and cruelty.


His life backed up His words. In lip and life, He was perfectly consistent. He brought blessing, healing, comfort and joy to people. His many miracles confirmed His deity.

His tender touch declared the compassion of God. He liberated women from the abusive treatment of selfish men. He rejected violence as a method of spreading His message. No life has ever been lived to match the life of Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, Muhammad’s life contradicted many of his more noble sayings. His life is not a good example for ‘private character’. His claims cannot compare with Christ’s. Spreading his message by the sword, he brought violence and bloodshed to those who refused to submit to his ‘Allah’. He humiliated women. His tenderness was reserved chiefly for his own sexual indulgence and his stomach (according to wife – one of fourteen – A’isha).


While His life and preaching angered the religious establishment of His day, nothing could justify the hatred directed at Him. He was guilty of no sin. Expressing God’s mercy to us hell-deserving sinners, Jesus, Saviour of the world, died for our sins.

He died, ‘the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God’ (1 Peter 3: 18). In His agonizing crucifixion, He breathed nothing but love and kindness to His enemies. Such dying! Such love!

On the other hand, Muhammad died, burdened by his own guilt. Sadly and tragically, his death did not terminate his cruel conquests. Others perpetuated his vicious legacy.





His impact on history is not just the effect of a perpetuation of His memory. Jesus rose from

the dead! He lives! The Gospel is the greatest blessing the world has ever known! It has

brought forgiveness, love, joy and peace. Christ has mended broken hearts and lives.

He has given hope to those in despair. Through Him, the light of heaven has dispelled the

darkness of death.


He has liberated individuals and nations. The Gospel has delivered people from

ignorance, slavery, poverty and degradation. All that is truly good, noble, pure and

beautiful comes from Him (even if apostate believers – crusading Roman Catholics and

deity-denying Protestant Liberals – have corrupted His truth). Christ’s resurrection

influence continues still where He is accepted, trusted and served.


On the other hand, Muhammad died, to rise no more, except to be judged by Christ when He

returns. His tomb is not empty. His legacy is ignorance, cruelty, fear and oppression. The

continued influence of his teachings is a threat to all that Christ represents.


In conclusion, the case for Christ and against Muhammad is compelling in every respect.

Assessed by every test that may be devised, there is simply no competition. So let us all

respond as did the men in our text! May we all acknowledge, believe, trust, love and

surrender to the incomparable Christ. May we all rejoice in Him, and seek to make Him

known throughout the world.


I am well aware that many in the secular West desire Christ no more than they desire

Muhammad. Therefore, I must warn them. Even if they never suffer from some jihadic

atrocity, they will stand before the judgement seat of Christ, when He returns to judge the

world in righteousness (see 2 Corinthians 5: 10).


While opportunity remains, come to Christ! If you are a Muslim, renounce Muhammad,

and come to Christ! Then, everything I have tried to express will become wonderfully and

experientially true. I invite you all to trust and serve Him with me. Amen!


Dr Alan C. Clifford

Norwich Reformed Church


6 thoughts on “More on the ban on Norwich church by Norwich council

  1. Muslims worship ‘the ancient pagan moon god of Arabia’? That’s news to me, and to my Muslim girlfriend. I agree with you that censorship of the expression of religious views is deplorable, but it would help Christians to make their case better if they got the facts about Islam right.

    The author of this diatribe makes some cogent points, particularly about the oppression by Muslim states of their Christian minorities (the ‘dhimmi’ paragraph). But it is absurd to equate Muslims with the pre-Muslim pagan inhabitants of Arabia, and I rather suspect that the author knows this himself.

  2. The stuff about Allah being the moon god has been around for a while. Maybe it’s like the “Jesus is really Osiris” thing, or the “pagan origins of Easter”. If so, it’s striking how different the treatment is depending on the religion being attacked.

  3. @David, doubtless you are right on the factual issue. But for once I don’t feel very good about picking holes in a leaflet which is being proscribed in this way, because so doing feels a bit like colluding with the censors.

  4. People have the right to make stupid apologetics.

    Though to be fair, a lot of serious medieval theologians doing in-depth studies of Islam in Spain also ended up seeing Islam as more polytheistic than monotheistic. It seems to be very difficult to find out _why_, because the theology works generally aren’t translated and historians don’t seem willing to explain. It’s possible that some wacky stuff was going on, on the outskirts (like the sects which have strong feelings about invisible imams or try to appease the Devil). It’s also possible that their info was bad.

    (But the polytheistic Islam stuff in “Song of Roland” seems to be more about Saxon and Frankish and Visigoth paganism than Islam. All that riding around in carts stuff.)

  5. Dear Roger.
    You are absolutely right to draw attention to this one.
    I’ve read Alan Clifford’s pamphlet, and whilst it is not a particularly good one, it certainly does not contain hateful content.
    I have been wondering if your felt motivated to write to the relevant Council department, and therefore whether you had a point of contact that you might wish to share?
    I am beginning to wonder if we all ought to be writing courteous but firm letters to these people, given their almost total ignorance about anything factual?

  6. Dear Kevin,

    Your thoughts are mine. But I’d hesitate to write based on a newspaper story, however well-founded. I don’t have any contact, therefore. I tend not to have the time, in truth.

    All the best,


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