A priest has been attacked in the grounds of his church, in what police described as a "faith-hate" crime.ATW was irritated by the designation of the criminals as "Asian", and understandably so. As the fuller reports out on the cowardly attack today confirm, it was the faith, not the ethnicity, of Canon Ainsworth's assailants which was the salient thing about them:
Canon Michael Ainsworth, 57, was injured by two Asian youths at the church, in Tower Hamlets, east London.
The church had previously been targeted when a brick smashed a window during a service. Allan Ramanoop, a member of the parochial church council, said: “On one occasion, youths shouted: ‘This should not be a church, this should be a mosque, you should not be here’. (Telegraph)Parts of east London have of course been solidly Asian / Muslim for many years. It is to be profoundly hoped that these anti-Christian attacks represent a temporary aberration on the part of a stupid minority of young men. After all, as I have noted before, Britain has an enviable record of integrating young Asians of all faiths, and most of us rub along just fine.
A local newspaper noted this in its level-headed coverage of the incident:
Canon Ainsworth wanted to emphasise the positive relationship he has with the large Asian presence in his parish and to play down the behaviour of disaffected youths.So what should be done?
He is also a governor of St Paul's School in Whitechapel, where 70 per cent of the pupils are Asian ...
The Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, Bishop of Hulme, who used to work with Mr Ainsworth, said: "I would want to see a condemnation of this cowardly behaviour by senior Muslims in the community ...Indeed. And alongside the imams, the teachers, friends and relatives of those responsible for these outrageous acts of religious violence should make it clear to them that they live in a society where such things are not to be tolerated.
The rest of us - and the media in particular - can help them in this task by facing, and stating, the facts: young Muslims have been vandalising a London church and have now assaulted an Anglican clergyman.
The majority of sensible, law-abiding British Muslims will quite rightly be shamed by the regrettable association of their religious identity with such despicable acts and prevail upon young Muslim hooligans to behave themselves.
They will thereby have forestalled any risk that other, perhaps equally noxious elements in our society will not echo the hooligans' call: "this should not be a Muslim country, this should be a Christian country, you should not be here".