A comment left at the website of the respected English daily, The Telegraph, revealed some British pique over official efforts to squelch any perceived bias towards Muslims in the United Kingdom. Signed by Fr. Marcus Stewart of Broadstairs, Kent, the comment complained that British officialdom is “overwhelmingly politically correct in its obsession with gender, race and sexual orientation.”
Furthermore, wrote Fr. Stewart, “Governors (ed. prison wardens) appeared frightened of Muslims and the potential for allegation of racism from them. Officers were fearful lest they appear “anti” something. This undermined cohesiveness and pride in the job. In prisons, the Government’s “Prevent” initiative (which seeks to divert Muslims from terrorism) was hopeless.”
The comment came just days after a savage attack on a serving British soldier in London, who was allegedly murdered by two Muslim marauders in broad daylight just steps away from an army barracks. Corporal Lee Rigby, a drummer with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was a married man who had two children. He was struck by a car being driven by Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolaje and then repeatedly stabbed and nearly beheaded by the pair who wielded knives and a cleaver. The two Muslim men were soon arrested by English police, while now at least 10 others have been questioned in connection to the murder that rocked the UK.
The attack has rallied British patriots and members of the English Defence League, which has often been accused of anti-immigrant sentiment. The EDL rallied several hundred protesters in the streets of London on May 27, which in the United Kingdom as in the United States is held in honor of war dead, who jeered British prime minister David Cameron.
PM Cameron was on vacation in Spain when protesters ranged outside his official residence at 10 Downing Street in London. EDL protesters were seen with placards denouncing Islam. EDL protesters cried “Scum!” at counter-protesters who were held at bay by throngs of police. EDL leader Tommy Robinson denounced Islamists and leftists as his supporters listened. Some of the EDL protesters were veterans of the war in Afghanistan, and wore service ribbons and medals and waved the flag of St. George. The Guardian newspaper quoted one veteran as saying “It seems there is one law today for Muslims and one for everyone else," while expressing dissatisfaction with Britain’s Labour and Conservative parties.
Raucous demonstrators, bearing Union Jacks and symbols of England, clashed with counter-protesters organized by a group called United Against Fascism. Insults and bottles were thrown by the two groups, and at least one police officer was slightly injured. A mosque was damaged by a fire bomb on the day of the protest. Some of the UAF protesters were women wearing Muslim headscarves. One man wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf was surrounded by EDL protesters who threatened him until police intervened. There were nearly two dozen arrests made.
According to the comment left by Fr. Stewart at The Telegraph, the current coalition government headed by PM Cameron “is too ideologically compromised to address” the “toxic ethos” in the prisons, thus conniving “against the constructive, reformative discipline that prisoners need.” Moreover, wrote Fr. Stewart, “There is a disgraceful unofficial policy of opposing ex-Forces personnel helping in prisons, on the grounds that they are “harsh”, whereas they are precisely the people required.”
An internet search revealed that there is a Fr. Marcus Stewart who was appointed Anglican chaplain of Pilgrims Hospice in Thanet, a local government district in the county of Kent in southeastern England. A 2012 publication by Pilgrims Hospice identifies that Fr. Stewart as having been ordained into the Church of England in 1998. After serving as a parish priest, he then went into chaplaincy of the armed forces of the U.K. , the National Health Service, and the prison system.
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