In the media
No more mosques, says senior Synod member
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
A senior lay member of the Church of England's "Parliament" has called for a ban on the building of more mosques in Britain.
Alison Ruoff, a long-standing member of the General Synod, said that new mosques should not be built in this country while Islamic states continued to persecute Christians.
The former magistrate, who was one of the strongest critics of the Archbishop of Canterbury's speech on Islamic law earlier this year, added that sharia would be introduced into Britain "if we don't watch out".
Apart from being a Synod member, Mrs Ruoff, a conservative evangelical, also sits on the Bishop's Council, which advises the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres.
Although her views are representative of a small minority on the Synod, and Church spokesmen moved quickly to isolate her yesterday, they may exacerbate tensions over the place of Muslims in society.
A spokesman for the Diocese of London said: "Mrs Ruoff's comments are her own and do not reflect the views of the Diocese of London, which enjoys excellent inter-faith relations across the capital."
A Church of England spokesman added: "These are her personal comments, speaking as an individual." But senior Muslims had already reacted angrily to her comments, saying they were more typical of a member of the British National Party than the Anglican Church.
Mrs Ruoff, speaking in an interview with Premier Radio, the Christian radio station, said: "No more mosques in the UK. We are constantly building new mosques, which are paid for by the money that comes from oil states.
"We have only in this country, as far as we know, 3.5 to four million Muslims. There are enough mosques for Muslims in this country, they don't need any more.
"We don't need to have sharia law which would come with more mosques imposed upon our nation, if we don't watch out, that would happen. If we want to become an Islamic state, this is the way to go.
"You build a mosque and then what happens?
"You have Muslim people moving into that area, all the shops will then become Islamic, all the housing will then become Islamic and as the Bishop of Rochester has so wisely pointed out, that will be a no go area for anyone else.
"They will bring in Islamic law. We cannot allow that to happen."
Mrs Ruoff, who lives in Waltham Cross, north east London, added: "We are still a Christian country, we need to hold on to that.
"If we don't watch out, we will become an Islamic state. It's that serious."
However, Inayat Bunglawala, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "These are unfortunately very bigoted and, frankly, xenophobic remarks."
He added: "These kinds of comments you would expect to come from someone from the BNP not the Church."
According to Premier Radio, there are 47,000 Christian churches in the UK and about 1,600 mosques.