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Church of England general synod to be addressed by Muslim

Church of England general synod to be addressed by Muslim
The synod will discuss threats against religious minority groups next month

A Muslim speaker is to address the Church of England's general synod for what is thought to be the first time.

Activist and journalist Fuad Nahdi will take part in an event looking at the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
He will join a panel exploring the "unspeakable evil" religious minority groups have faced in the countries.

Synod general secretary William Fittall said he believed the event next month would be the first time a non-Christian had addressed the assembly.

"We have certainly had people from other faiths in the gallery who have been greeted by the synod, who have been welcomed," he added.

Mr. Nahdi is executive director of the Radical Middle Way faith group and founding editor of Muslim magazine Q News.


The panel will also feature the leader of the Coptic Christian Church in the UK, Bishop Angaelos, alongside the Bishops of Coventry and Leeds.

A report produced for the synod discussion says Christians have been attacked by Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq with a "narrow religious ideology", alongside Yazidis, Alawites and other Shia Muslims.

It also accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of carrying out atrocities against his country's Sunni population.

It adds: "The boundaries in this struggle are blurred and fluid. Not surprisingly religious minorities can be found on opposing sides of conflicts that have caused untold human suffering for all."
The discussion will take place on 18 November.


Q&A: The general synod

General Synod meets at Church House, London, in February 2005
The synod is no stranger to debating controversial issues

The Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to use his address to the Church of England general synod to respond to the row over his Sharia law comments. Here is a brief guide to a body that often finds itself under the spotlight.
What is a synod?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an assembly of the clergy of a particular church, nation, province, or diocese, sometimes with representatives of the laity, to discuss and decide ecclesiastical affairs.

So what is the general synod?

The national assembly of the Church of England - effectively its parliament. Established in 1970, it replaced the Church Assembly and continues a tradition of synodical government dating from medieval times.

Is there anything unusual about it?

It is the only body with powers delegated from parliament to pass so-called "measures" which are incorporated into English law. They have the full force and effect of an act of parliament and can apply to any Church-related matter.

How does the process work?

MPs and peers can vote to agree or reject a measure, but cannot amend it. Once agreed by both houses of parliament, it goes for Royal Assent and becomes law.

Who attends the synod and how often does it meet?

There are 482 members divided into three houses: bishops, clergy, laity. Lay members are the largest element and are elected by dioceses.

Each synod is elected for five years. It meets in February at Church House in Westminster and in July at the University of York, for up to five days each time. A third meeting is sometimes held in London in November.

What does it do?

It debates church business, relations with other churches, and topical issues. It also elects some members to the Archbishops' Council.

Have there been any controversial synods?

In 1992 the general synod voted to ordain women priests by a margin of just two votes. In 1993 it passed the Act of Synod setting up an official structure to enable parishes to refuse women's ministry. Recent meetings have been dominated by rows over the Church's attitude to homosexuality.
What's on the agenda this time?
Before the storm over sharia law, Dr Williams was expected to tackle issues facing the Anglican Communion in the run-up to the forthcoming Lambeth Conference, including problems faced by the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.

Other issues up for debate include government plans to extend detention without charge of terrorist suspects, mental health services, and policy on casinos.

Terms of service for clergy and plans for limiting the prime minister's say over senior Church of England appointments will be also be discussed along with the Anglican Covenant, which proposes a new structure for dealing with disputes within the worldwide church - such as the row over gay priests.

Are there any innovations this year?

Electronic voting will be in operation for the first time, with electronic key pads used when more than a show of hands is required.

Can the synod censure the archbishop?

No. It would be for an individual to make a complaint by writing to Lambeth Palace. It would then go to a diocesan registrar to consider whether to proceed under the terms of the Clergy Discipline Measure. It is highly unlikely Dr. Williams' comments would be regarded as serious enough for a complaint to be upheld.

The synod has powers to hold emergency debates but these are rare.

DEAR VOL READERS. When you have finished reading this story watch this video: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2014/February/German-Woman-Publicly-Rebuking-Islam-Goes-Viral-/

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