Relax and enjoy it
The bishop of Oxford is ‘personally very happy for the mosque to call the faithful to prayer in East Oxford’. I don’t suppose he lives there, does he? Or does he.
“Faith is a very important factor in the lives of 80 per cent of the world’s population and a public expression of that faith is both natural and reasonable…It is good that we should be reminded of the faithfulness of many members of the community.”
Is it? Why? And even if it is, we get reminded quite a bit already, don’t we?
“It is natural that Muslim communities will gather in a particular area and what matters is that we demonstrate the kind of respect that is the basis of any civilised society.”
Okay. The next time I see Muslim communities gathering in a particular area, in their natural way (like wildebeest gathering at a water hole is it?), I’ll make a point of demonstrating the kind of respect that is the basis of any civilised society. I’m not sure what that is, but I’ll make a point of demonstrating it anyway. Perhaps I just go up to the gathering communities and tell them, in so many words and accompanied by poignant and demonstrative gestures, that I respect this gathering in a particular area ceremony? Would that be it?
“I would say to anyone who has concerns about the call to prayer to relax and enjoy our community diversity and be as respectful to others as you would hope they would be respectful to you.”
Relax and enjoy it. So if one of my neighbours takes to broadcasting a speech by Huey Long through a loudspeaker from a tower for two minutes three times a day every day, I should relax and enjoy it? I should relax and enjoy any old broadcast repeated noise? Or just the kind that reminds me of the faithfulness of many members of the community? Well whichever it is, I’ll find it difficult. The bishop may be a good multitasker but I’ve never been very good at filtering out intrusive noise. I try not to make a lot of racket myself, and I don’t enjoy it when other people do – so the relaxation bit will probably be difficult, and the enjoyment even more so.
“I sympathise with those who find any kind of expression of public faith intrusive, but I think part of being part of a tolerant society is saying, ‘I don’t agree with this but I accept it as part of my responsibility as being part of a diverse community’.”
Why? Why is it part of being a tolerant society along with part of my responsibility as being part of a diverse community? Why is it my responsibility to not mind amplified intrusive noise? Why isn’t it the responsibility of other people to not make amplified intrusive noise? The bishop forgot to explain that part.