Representatives of Britain’s African and Caribbean Christian Communities will meet in London on Wednesday 17 July 2013, following the gruesome killing of army drummer Lee Rigby, who was hacked to death in broad daylight on a London street last month. The two young men charged with Rigby’s murder, Muslim converts Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, are of Nigerian Christian heritage; and church leaders are concerned about an apparent trend towards radicalisation of former Christians.
‘In the first place, we are interested to find out why a number of young people brought up in our churches are converting to Islam, and what is the nature of the journey some make towards radicalisation, violence and terror’, said Bishop Simon Iheanacho, Chair of Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs (MECA).
Church leaders are responding to concern that there may be a deliberate attempt by terror groups to recruit vulnerable young men in prisons and elsewhere. This comes in the wake of evidence such as that of the Bromley-born, so-called, ‘shoe bomber’ Richard Reid who attempted to blow up an American Airlines plane in 2002; Umar Islam, born Brian Young, found guilty of a foiled suicide bombing attempt on a trans-Atlantic airplane in 2006; Germaine Lindsay one of the 7/7 suicide bombers that killed 26 people on a Piccadilly line train; and Kibley Da Costa, known as Abdul Khaliq after converting to Islam, who was jailed in 2007 for helping to run terror training camps in New Forest and Berkshire. All are converts to Islam, of African or Caribbean heritage, and radicalised.
Dr Eric Brown, Presiding Bishop of the New Testament Church of God said, ‘We need to understand how to help steer young people away from destructive, radicalised lifestyles; as well as to uncover what churches need to do better in areas where we may have failed young people in the past’.
Speakers at the Seminar will include:
Richard Reddie, Author, Black Muslims in Britain: Why Are a Growing Number of Young Black People converting to Islam?
Dr David Muir, Co-Chair, National Church Leaders Forum
Jennifer Crook, Equality and Diversity Adviser, Methodist Church
Pastor Ade Omooba, Co-Chair, National Church Leaders Forum
Taalib Alexander, Director of Alhambra Educational Initiative
- Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs (MECA) is a department of Churches Together in England (CTE) that supports the work of the British African and Caribbean Christian communities; ensuring they play their full part in Christian mission in England.
- Contact: Bishop Dr Joe Aldred 07775 632288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org