Earlier this month, an Anglican priest was beaten up quite badly by a group of ‘Asian youths’ in east London. Canon Michael Ainsworth was left with cuts and bruises after an attack by a group of boys in his own churchyard. The police said it was a ‘faith hate’ crime; some of the boys had repeatedly shouted ‘fucking priest’ as they beat him up.
Inevitably, there were complaints about ‘political correctness’: calling the boys ‘Asian’ was obfuscating the fact that Muslim persecution of Christians had reached the shores of Britain. Med Mel took it one step further at her Spectator blog: the “jihadi nature of the attack on of the attack on Canon Ainsworth”, she wrote, “is unmistakeable”.
Except, of course, Med Mel, Damien Thompson and lots of other right-wing commentators and bloggers had forgot to ask the Canon what he thought of the vicious assault. A local paper, the East London Advertiser did, however, interview Canon Ainsworth:
“We must respond calmly, and not jump to conclusions…” Coping with the hysteria from “wild” national press coverage had been “almost worse than being attacked.” He felt helpless as his church was besieged by cameramen and reporters after the story broke last Friday. “They have their own agendas,” said Mr Ainsworth, “as do the bloggers, both professional and amateur, who are using the story for their own ends and drawing bizarre, mainly racist, conclusions.”
Perhaps Med Mel’s fellow Spectator blogger Clive Davis could also send her the link to the interview seeing as though he noted it at his blog? Then again, given her previous efforts in documenting the jihad in Britain, she will probably dismiss the Canon’s interview as an example of self-hating dhimmitude.
I do, however, think such incidents ought to force us to think more closely the intersect between race, class and identity (which is what religion is such cases). If, as Inayat Bunglawala argues, the assault involving Canon Ainsworth was an example of drunken yobs losing control rather than ‘religiously motivated’ what about other similar incidents where someone from a ‘minority’ group is the victim? The problem, I think, is that we are not necessarily motivated do something (good or bad) by a single factor*.
Those interested might be think about (re)visiting some material on this subject.
*Which is probably why doing something fisabilillah is held in such high regards within an Islamic ethical framework.