Ask the Archbishop


In our new series, agony uncle Justin Welby answers your questions.

Questions should be addressed to:
The Most Reverend, the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Lambeth Palace,
London SE1 7JU


Dear Archbishop,

My Muslim friend Selima started it all when she took me to the madrassa.  I got very interested in Islam, and now my parents are afraid that I have been radicalised. What should I do?

Rachel, Sutton Coldfield.

Dear Rachel.,

As everybody knows, Islam is a religion of peace. So I would say to you, not to worry about radicalisation.

Of course all religions have their hotheads. Good heavens even Anglicans burnt people at the stake centuries ago! The truth is that we are all aiming at the same things and going to the same place. In a world where there is so much religious ignorance and illiteracy, it’s a splendid thing that you are learning about Faith.

Go on with it, I would say!

Personally, I have to tell you, I find it so refreshing and reassuring to hear of a young person who is concerned about the spiritual things of life.  When you come to think about it (as I have had reason to do only recently) there is practically no difference between the teachings of Jesus and Mohammed, after all.

Muslims, of course, do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God; but that is also true of many members of the Church of England. So it’s as well not to make too much of a fuss about it. There are more important things in life.

The only problem, it seems to me, is the Muslim attitude to women. We in the Church of England are committed to the absolute equality of all the sexes. And we even have women bishops to prove it. In some Islamic countries women are not even allowed to drive a car! There is a real problem there.

I don’t know what sex you have decided to be. But if you can put up with outmoded attitudes like that, I say good luck to you.

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