UK ‘Progressive Christian’ Festival to Include Muslim Group Teaching Sufi Worship Chants

LONDON — A “progressive Christian” festival in the UK has added a Muslim platform to its upcoming event in an effort to eradicate negative stereotypes against those of the Islamic faith. The event will include a group that will teach attendees universal Sufi chants, as well as others who seek to combat “Islamophobia” in the world.

“It is because we are Christian that we do this,” Paul Northup, the creative director of the Greenbelt Festival, asserted in a recent blog post. “Not because we want to dilute or deny our faith. It’s because we want to be true to our faith and to continue to live and express it dynamically, creatively and generously. In a world which seems ever-more divided, then we want to build bridges not barriers.”

He said that since the September 11 attacks, the leaders of the festival have desired to introduce attendees to those of the Muslim faith so that they can see what the two groups have in common and perhaps unite for shared causes.

“Since 9/11, the Greenbelt trustees have wanted the festival to engage with Islam more deeply,” Northrup explained. “We wanted to play our part in dismantling, as far as we could, the extremist stereotyping and narrative the Muslim faith and community laboured under and to introduce Greenbelters to Muslim thinkers, artists, activists and spirituality. Muslims who shared many of our values, if not our faith, and with whom we can make common cause.”

The festival, scheduled for Aug. 25-28, is partnering with the group Amal, which uses culture and the arts to “forge common ground” between various communities and faith groups. It has therefore dubbed its Muslim program at the festival “Amal at Greenbelt,” and its slogan this year is “The Common Good.”

“Amal at Greenbelt is just another step in our long journey to model inclusivity and engagement—to listen to and to learn from different religions, cultures and philosophies,” Northrup said. “For me, it’s this open-mindedness that characterizes Greenbelt at its best. It is also what is most distinctively Christian about the festival.”

The event will include an appearance on Aug. 28 by the Ansari Qadri-Rifai Sufi Order, whose mission is to “guide seekers of Allah.”

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At 9:45 a.m., “[p]articipants can learn basic universal Sufi chants (also called dhikr) that are rhythmic, healing and a unique form of worship,” the Greenbelt site outlines. And at 3:00 p.m., attendees can participate in an introduction to some of the various songs and chants of Muslim mystical Sufis.

“Come, enter in, learn and participate. Here is healing,” the professing Christian festival writes.

Other speakers and features will include comedian Bilal Zafar, who uses humor “to respond to the prejudice and abuse increasingly faced by British Muslims today;” Fakhara Rehman, a Muslim leader who founded the More in Common group; Salma Yaqoob, a psychotherapist who will discuss “the mainstreaming of Islamophobia;” and the musical duo Pearls of Islam.

The festival, founded in 1974, is expected to draw thousands to the Boughton Estate in Northamptonshire.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 reads, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'”

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  • bowie1

    We already know Muslims do not worship the same Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior of Humankind. For them Jesus is another prophet like Moses or Elijah but not divine and that he did not die on the cross being replaced instead by Judas Iscariot.

  • Allan Trenholme

    2 minutes ago
    Intellectually, sounds so good and acepting… spiritually, its deadly… good luck with that, I already know how that snare will work out.

    • BenjiMule

      How you so-called Christians blabber all the time about your Truth. Truth is not “Our god is bigger than your god.” The Truth about the bible: it’s a large messy collection of often contradictory writings, and politically motivated councils decided which of many conflicting writings should be tossed aside and which should be included. You can find some wisdom and a lot of ignorant bloodlust within it. To worship the bible as direct telegrams from the divine creator is obviously to make an idol out of a book. You can justify anything by picking and choosing individual verses from the bible. Jesus’s angriest words were against the self-righteous religious people of his time, “whitewashed tombs.”

      • Allan Trenholme

        Matthew 22:29 Jesus replied, “you are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”

        • BenjiMule

          It makes me so sad to see you trying to be a robot. Instead of using your god-given mind to learn and share in the real world, you try to follow an ancient book like it’s a script. You know nothing about me, and you ignore hints in my earlier comment that I’ve studied the bible and its history, and with damnable pride and ignorance you dare quote a line from your holy robot-script to call me ignorant. What happened in your real life to make you so terrified of participating any more in it like any honest healthy human would? I pity you. You were personally supposed to grow out of your world-view around age four. Culturally, we grew out of it in the Renaissance, when we dared to start questioning the ignorance of church dogma, which led to scientific inquiry. If you’re so sure everything not in the bible is demonic, then stop using electricity and the automobile and everything else Science has given you, and go live in a cave. Or… you can take the bone out of your nose and join the human race.

          • BenjiMule

            Cause for my strident tone should be obvious: I am appalled that sick souls like yours are now poised to destroy our nation, founded as a beacon of hope for human freedom from mental tyranny like yours. You Puritans, you Bible-Taliban have always lurked in the corners of our nation like festering mildew, but now a stressed and lazy people have allowed you to seize power. I weep.

          • Allan Trenholme

            One question… why are you here on a Christian site when you are obviously not a Christian. Just what do you expect to see or hear here? STOP BEING A TROLL.

          • BenjiMule

            Nobody asks the people screaming “Don’t kill your baby!” outside abortion clinics, “You’re not a feminist. What are you doing here?”

  • Richard Mconnochie

    look forward when muslims will ask christian share there beliefs in there mosque. sounds fair

    • Rebecca Bonnell

      That will Not happen as Muslims forbid any other beliefs as we are all infidels…

  • Trilemma

    This is certainly consistent with the desire of progressive Christianity to be inclusive since God can be experienced inside any religion. Progressive Christians generally reject the belief that Jesus is God so their view of God is more compatible with the Muslim view of God than the Trinitarian view and therefore easier to accept the fact they worship the same God.

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      and they do not worship the same god or God ….. and so it is a lie …………. and it is deception ….. and all that is is feeding into that deception ……. and therefore not of God ……….. God is not “inclusive” ….. never has been ………

      • Trilemma

        Hi, Amos. Thanks for bringing the Calvinist perspective.

        Who is the “they” that do not worship the same god or God?

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          they are muslims and christians …. both ……..

          • Trilemma

            Would it be reasonable for progressive Christians who deny the divinity of Jesus to believe they worship the same god as Muslims who also deny the divinity of Jesus?

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            if they deny the divinity of Christ ….. then yes …. they do ……… “progressive Christians” …. oxymoron and contradiction in terms …………

          • Madmouse

            “Progressive Christians” can not deny the divinity of Jesus, or they become “Not Christians”.

          • Trilemma

            Where does the Bible say a person must believe Jesus is God to be a Christian?

          • Lily Haley

            Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:22-23

          • Trilemma

            Okay. A person must believe Jesus is the Christ to be a Christian. But where does the Bible say a person must believe Jesus is God to be a Christian?

          • Lily Haley

            What part of SON of GOD don’t you understand? The Son is the Christ. A Christian is a follower of Christ who is the only begotten Son of God. People should not be calling themselves Christians if they don’t believe this most basic of concepts.

          • Trilemma

            If Jesus was begotten, then there had to be a time that he didn’t exist in order for God to have begotten him.

  • Emm Jane

    The wheels is turning, but the hamster is dead. Dead, dead, dead.

  • Lydia Church

    Welcome to their Temple of Baal.
    Just don’t think you are a Christian or received by the Lord if you attend this event.
    Spare me the pearl clutching please!

  • sagat

    And so it begins (not that it had not already begun) the great falling away. I would advise anyone thinking of attending to steer well clear for their own sake as the current path of this ‘church’ is not heaven but sadly hell

  • Kirk Douglas

    Where is the discernment? These people are so ignorant of the Truth.
    Islam does not believe Jesus is the Son of God, they do not believe the Bible is the word of God, they do not believe Jesus died for our sins, they do not believe in the Holy Spirit of God.
    This is a Satanic cult – why do they insist on welcoming it into the Church?
    Come Lord Come!

    • sagat

      This is the falling away the bible predicted would happen before our very eyes. In other words this is just another version of “Chrislam”

  • DookyDan

    Paul wrote to the gentile believers. Can you tell me where in any of Paul’s epistles that he wrote we are to link up with those who deny who Christ is? He said speak no evil to any man. Not join them in their sin to show them how much we love them. The cross of Christ is anathema to those who are perishing, it is foolishness to them. So why bring them into your house and teach their ways to your people. We are truly witnessing the great falling away that will usher in the final days.

  • Trilemma

    I’ll take progressive Christianity over fundamentalist Christianity because progressive Christianity is more like first century Christianity. Whenever an apostasy article like this is run, people start talking about the great falling away and the last days. But, according to the Bible, the falling away and the last days had to have happened in the first century. Many of the beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity today are actually the result of the falling away that started happening in the first century.

  • Michael

    “…partnering with the group Amal, which uses culture and the arts to “forge common ground” between various communities and faith groups.”

    Interesting, considering the fact that Muslims routinely destroy art whenever they seize control of any area. And music is non-existent in Muslim cultures.

  • Rebecca Bonnell

    They are all so Blind and Deaf to The Truth and will only wake up when they either feel the cold steel blade against their throats or are being sent to their second death…the latter will be too late…!

  • screamingmimi

    “Progressive Christianity” is nothing more than an oxymoron. If one is “progressive” one is “of the world” something Christ advised us against!

    • Trilemma

      Are you saying a progressive Christian isn’t really a Christian?

      • screamingmimi

        What I’m saying is that most of those who call themselves “progressive,” simply do so because it’s a nicer way of saying “Liberal.” The whole progressive thing (as it stands today) is based on a liberal mindset, which leans toward–and even accepts–things such as abortion, feminism, socialism, the LGBTQ agenda, the “prosperity gospel,” expecting cradle-to-grave Government handouts, “cafe & coffee” lukewarm churches, ecumenism and interfaithism (which is what this article seems to imply), as well as being anti-authority, all which are not attributes ascribed to in the Bible. The Bible, and Jesus, NEVER taught “tolerance.”

        This line screams “progressive:” “…just another step in our long journey to model inclusivity and engagement—to listen to and to learn from different religions, cultures and philosophies.” It sounds “helpful” but it’s blurring the lines. You have to remember that God tells us that the way of the Christian life is VERY NARROW (wide road, narrow gate). We are not to be OF the world, and progressivism is nothing BUT being ALL about the world; which, when distilled, is nothing more than being all about SELF.

        • Allan Trenholme

          Amen… well said.

        • Trilemma

          Liberal Christianity is not the same thing as progressive Christianity. Progressive Christianity covers a broad range of beliefs. There are many progressive Christians who are against abortion. The progressive writers that I’m familiar with are critical of the “prosperity gospel.” They are not anti-authority and though they are for the government helping people who need it, they are not for enabling people by giving them cradle to grave handouts. As for socialism, the first century church in Jerusalem was clearly socialist. As for tolerance, Romans 14:1-23 teaches tolerance.

          “…just another step in our long journey to model inclusivity and engagement—to listen to and to learn from different religions, cultures and philosophies.”

          This has been going on with Christianity from its beginning. This is why saints are pictured with halos. This is why Christians celebrate Easter with Easter eggs hunts. This is why Christians celebrate Christmas with Christmas trees. You apparently believe you are on the narrow road and that anyone who believes anything differently from you is not on the narrow road. The narrow road is not as narrow as you believe. Progressivism is all about loving God and loving others. As such, it is much less about self than other varieties of Christianity.

  • Jack-b-Quicker

    Sad to see, but expected from the likes of London.