Christians, Muslims unite against UK housing ban on religious artifacts
Both Muslim and Christian elderly residents in a housing complex in the UK are upset at a ban that was issued recently against religious artifacts from being displayed on the premises.
The ban was announced in a letter that was sent to residents of all 40 flats in St. Paul’s Court in Preston, Lancashire, which also requested that they take down any religious icons and signs that may disturb the community.
Both Christians and Muslims criticized the ban that was imposed on St. Paul’s Court, which is run by Places for People.
One resident told The Mirror, “Some people are very old and their faith is important to them. What harm can there be in having a small statue of Jesus or Our Lady on view?”
The resident also told The Mirror, “Last Christmas we were told to not display a crib, and decorations were discouraged.”
The letter announcing the ruling said, “The reason being that St. Paul’s Court is a sheltered housing scheme which promotes diversity amongst its residents and visitors.”
As a result, it encouraged the elderly residents to take it upon themselves to become champions of “equality and diversity,” according to The Daily Mail.
The staff members of Places for People are taxpayer funded, and their salaries are taken from housing benefits that are given to residents. A spokesman for the group could not specify to The Daily Mail what exactly was meant by “offending” items.
Residents were however asked to remove a number of religious signs and statues, even though the home is named after St. Paul, the apostle who has authored almost half of the books of the New Testament.
“I would describe this as removing people’s dignity and respect in their own age. I would ask them to put themselves in the position of their own residents,” Father Andrew Teather, minister of Preston Minster told The Daily Mail.
Teather told The Daily Mail, “I have never found any religious tension between people of different faiths, although one often finds antagonism from people who are not themselves religious towards people who are.
“Rather than having to appoint equality and diversity officers, why don’t they encourage people to speak to their next door neighbors?”
Teather’s sentiments were echoed by a Muslim leader, Salim Desai, who is a local councilor of Preston City.
Desai told The Daily Mail, “Yes, I think they should look at it again. I don’t know why they came to this decision, or what the underlying complaints are. I think they should think again.”
“We get a lot of our morals from religion and I would prefer people to follow religion, Christian or Muslim, and have morals, rather than no morals at all,” Desai told The Daily Mail, adding, “They are causing more problems than they are solving.”
Father Timothy Lipscomb told Mirror that the ruling is “ridiculous,” noting, “Political correctness is getting silly.”