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Marc My Words Leap of Faith

Marc My Words.

Leap of Faith

To pretend that one religion is no better than another may result in less conflict, but despite the overlap of some universally held precepts, this seems to be contrary to the very essence of religion. It goes to the heart of why an individual makes the leap of faith in favour of one belief rather than another. Stated plainly, my God is bigger than your God.

Since faith is a matter of personal and individual choice, there is no good reason for the State to be involved. Put another way, there is no rationale for the State to promote one religion above another. It is a fundamental principle that all individuals should be free to express and support their beliefs without the interference of the State to give influence to, or impose a particular creed.

The recent State funding of a mosque at Hagley Community College in Christchurch undermines the impartiality of the State. No one should object to worshippers of any religion digging into their own pockets to fund an outward architectural representation of their beliefs. I welcome interesting edifices to our city's skyline - but what I do object to is the subsidy paid by taxpayers who do not deserve to have their pockets burgled yet again, for something they were not consulted about, and many do not want. Where is the separation of church and State? I would apply this reasoning as much to a temple, a cathedral, a shrine or a kibbutz, not just a mosque.

Just as I do not want taxpayers to fund a mosque by State edict, I am even more alarmed that the so-called charity Al-Haramain is proposing to take over the existing Christchurch mosque. The move has split the city's Muslims and a recent "Press" article has highlighted concerns centred on the Somalian and Bosnian branches of the charity which have been accused of funnelling funds to organisations connected to Osama bin Laden's al Quaeda terror network. If true, this will impact on all peace-loving Muslims who have made a deliberate choice to come to enjoy the freedoms here. Do we want to put our peaceful multi cultural future at risk?

According to the "Washington Times" of 15 September 2003, Al-Haramain was listed in 2001 in a Presidential order that allowed the US to block the resources of individuals and institutions determined to be involved in possible terrorist acts. As it turns out, the group was banned from Kenya after a connection with the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy there. The London "Sunday Times" reported that the CIA had linked Al-Haramain to the nightclub bombing that killed 202 persons in Bali. Furthermore, former FBI analyst, Matt Levitt, said in the "Age" of 3 April 2003 that confessions of al Quaeda members revealed that wealthy Saudis had funded Jemaah Islamiah through the Al-Haramain foundation, thus allegedly implicating that organisation in the Bali bombings, (The Age, 3 April 2003).

Most disturbing is that one of the main efforts to spread the Wahabi doctrine was through the Al-Haramain Foundation which has often been used in the recruitment of US prison inmates by al Quaeda. A central Wahabi belief is that a jihad should be maintained until the rest of the world is either converted to Islam, killed or enslaved.

The "Press" of 24 October 2003 reported that a spokesman for the Minister of Foreign Affairs said Mr Goff had been briefed on the situation and "appropriate agencies" were investigating.

Let's hope they do more than that because if any of these allegations are true then we will be dragged into an extremist terrorist world the hard way. It will threaten us whether we are Christian or Muslim, agnostic or atheist, and affect all of us who call New Zealand home.

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