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Sister Christine - the fearless Irish nun who took on might of ISIL

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Sister Christine aims to give hope to the Muslims living in deprived areas of the East End of London. Photo: Chris Harris

Sister Christine aims to give hope to the Muslims living in deprived areas of the East End of London. Photo: Chris Harris

Sister Christine aims to give hope to the Muslims living in deprived areas of the East End of London. Photo: Chris Harris

Until a few weeks ago she was a little-known Irish nun who worked for her community in one of the most deprived areas of East London.

But suddenly Sister Christine Frost (77), originally from Limerick, has been propelled into the spotlight and admired for her courage after she took down an Islamist flag in her neighbourhood.

She became a cause celebre last month when she ordered the removal of a banner linked with the notorious Islamic State from the entrance of a housing estate in Poplar, East London.

Similar flags have been flown in videos showing beheadings by the fanatical Islamist group, and the Irish nun was concerned that the banner would increase community tensions

Her act may have been fearless, but Sister Frost explains in an interview with 'The Spectator' that she is far from being a campaigner against Islam. On the contrary, she says she has tried to highlight the social deprivation and sense of grievance that pushes Muslim youth in her area into the arms of extremists.

The Limerick woman has won an MBE for her community work on education and housing issues in this mostly Muslim area. She believes that with care and attention she can persuade young Muslims to reject Jihad and embrace life in Britain.

Faith

She said her actions had been presented as trying to set one faith against another but that had never been her intention.

"We must find a way of bringing people together," she says. "We must create cohesion, or we will have a Bosnia/Serbia situation."

Sister Christine knows what it feels like to be an immigrant herself, having moved from Limerick to London as a girl.

She left her convent school at the age of 17, and qualified to study physiotherapy. Instead she chose to become a nun, and is a member of the Faithful Companions of Jesus.

"My parents wanted me to do the medical course, but I had a personal conviction," she said.

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Working out of a community centre in the East End, she is angry that many poorer residents, including Muslims, are being pushed out by a "new gentry" who work in the financial services centre at nearby Canary Wharf.

"I want the wealthy people who have millions and live in Canary Wharf to come over here and help the young people, get them into training. Make that an attractive alternative for them."

She says many Muslims have a persecution complex, linked with Tony Blair's invasion of Iraq and, more recently, Israeli attacks on Gaza.

The Irish nun may campaign on behalf of Muslims and other poor residents, but she is prepared to defend her own Christian faith when she sees fit - and it was the hate-filled connotations of the black flag that made her see red.

She believes some of young Muslims who put it up may not have known what it meant.

Evil

Sister Christine once took down Islamist notices that branded Christmas "evil".

She said at the time: "The more posters I saw, the more angry I got. If we said such things about Muslims, we'd all be hanging from lamp-posts."

The Limerick nun has also won admiration from all sides on estates for successfully campaigning against petty council rules, which sought to ban doormats and washing lines.

At the age of 77, Sister Christine has shown herself to be a fair-minded force to be reckoned with.


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