SCOTLAND: Socialists slam church leader's 'language of hate'

Issue 

Alex Miller

The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) has condemned Scotland's most senior church leader for inflammatory remarks against the country's Muslims. The Reverend David Lacy, who is the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, made the comments in an interview in the August 21 Scotland on Sunday.

According to the paper: "Lacy said extremist Muslims — such as Muhammad al Massari, who has been accused of encouraging attacks on Coalition soldiers in Iraq — should go."

Lacy was quoted as saying: "They have been welcomed as brothers and have treated us as enemies. It is hypocrisy, they should leave. If we are their enemies they should have nothing to do with us, but they don't. They speak out against us from within and get heart operations and care on our system. And we are happy to do that for them, to have rights and care, but we expect them to love us in return and accept our right to be who we are."

Scotland on Sunday added that "Lacy criticised civil liberties campaigners, whom he accused of stressing rights while underplaying the need for individual responsibility".

In a statement issued on the SSP website on August 21, the party's national convenor, Colin Fox, was scathing about Lacy's use of the "language of hate", writing: "It is absolutely astonishing that the moderator of the Church Of Scotland should choose this moment in time to parrot the racist and Islamophobic language of far-right racists like the British National Party when there has been an unprecedented rise in violence and abuse directed at Muslims and black and Asian members of our community.

"It is absolutely unacceptable for an individual in Reverend Lacy's position to use the language of hate when the current situation facing Muslims and ethnic minorities in our communities is one of violence and abuse. The comments of the moderator will instill fear in Muslims and give succour to those who direct hate and fear towards our Muslim brothers and sisters. The SSP unequivocally condemns the Reverend Lacy's remarks."

From Green Left Weekly, August 31, 2005.
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