LONDON – A former magistrate and regular commentator on London's leading Christian radio network has made a strong call in favor of halting the construction of new mosques as a way of protecting Christians freedoms in the United Kingdom.
"Halting the building of mosques in the United Kingdom is about preserving precious freedoms – both here and abroad," Alison Ruoff told Premier Christian Radio in a recent interview.
In explaining, Ruoff pointed to the severe persecution faced by Christians in majority-Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Pakistan where churches are being burned down and pastors and Christians murdered.
"If people in those countries were to convert from Islam to Christianity, the punishment is death," she noted.
Ruoffa, a long-standing member of the Church of England's General Synod, said the United Kingdom needed to hold onto its Christian freedoms.
"We need to look at what is going on in the U.K.," she told the station. "We are still a predominantly Christian country, that was hard won by people giving up their lives hundreds of years ago and we need to hold onto it.
"As a still predominantly Christian nation we must guard our hard won Christian freedoms dearly," she continued. "Many Muslims have come to this country in search of just this and to escape the tyrannical oppression of living under Sharia law."
Ruoff referred to the recent assertion by the bishop of Rochester, the Pakistan-born Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, that some largely Muslim areas of Britain are turning into "no-go areas" for people of other faiths.
"Christian freedoms are priceless but if we allow more and more mosques to be built then we run the risk of creating purely Islamic areas which will surely become 'no-go' areas for a non-Muslim," she said.
The debate over Islam's place in British society flared up recently when the archbishop of Canterbury suggested earlier in the year that the incorporation of some aspects of Sharia law into the British legal system was "unavoidable."
Plans to build a giant mosque next to the site of the 2012 Olympic Games in London have also brought to the surface inter-religious tensions. The proposals, backed by the controversial Tablighi Jamaat group, have been met with strong opposition from a number of Christians, particularly the leader of the Christian People's Alliance, Councilor Alan Craig.
Craig, who defended Nazir-Ali's no-go areas comments, has repeatedly raised concerns as part of his bid for London Mayor that the area around the mosque will become an enclave for Islamic extremists.
"Struggling Christians in Islamic countries cannot understand our foolishness and indeed foolhardiness," Ruoff continued in her recent comments.
"They are under enormous opposition in Islamic countries and I believe that as a Christian nation we should be doing all we possibly can to help and protect them."
The former magistrate insisted that efforts start with the withholding of planning permission in the country.
"We have enough mosques already," she argued. "If we don't withhold planning permission to build more mosques in the U.K., these Islamic countries will have no reason to listen to our pleas to stop Christian persecution."
Following Ruoff's comments, a Premier spokesperson urged Christians to listen to the whole interview before drawing any conclusions.
"It's essential to hear all elements of this issue, and not immediately jump to the conclusion that Christians are calling for a blind nationwide ban on mosques," the spokesperson said.
"I would ask that Alison Ruoff's opinions as broadcast on Premier Christian Radio are listened to in full before drawing any conclusions."