The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, is under police protection after he and his family received death threats over his claim that parts of Britain had become no-go areas for non-Muslims The Bishop is also facing anger from the most senior members of the Church of England hierarchy for his comments on Islam. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has made Islam a priority of his archiepiscopate and set up a Muslim-Christian forum to promote relations between the faiths in 2006. One senior cleric told The Times yesterday: The Bishop of Rochester is in effect threatening to undo everything we have done. The cleric said that some congregations in cities such as Leicester, where interfaith work was a priority, were increasingly wary of donating money towards this work. Church leaders in towns with a large Muslim population were anxious that relations with their neighbors were being undermined
Criticism was mounting yesterday over “scaremongering” comments by a senior Church of England bishop about how parts of Britain had become no-go areas for non-Muslims. The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, blamed multiculturalism for segregating religious groups and said non-Muslims faced a hostile reception in places dominated by the ideology of Islamic radicals. He wrote that the integration agenda pursued by the government lacked “a moral and spiritual vision”, and he condemned the failure to give priority to the established church, which he believes has led to a “multi-faith mish-mash”. Helen Pidd reports.
A senior Church of England bishop says Islamic extremists in Britain are trying to create areas that exclude non-Muslims. The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali contends the goal is to establish “no-go” zones in England in which people of different faiths face physical attack, The Sunday Telegraph reported. The Pakistani-born Nazir-Ali, who serves as the bishop of Rochester, warned that Britain is becoming a divided nation due to government immigration policy and the “novel philosophy of multiculturalism.” Prime Minister Gordon Brown had no immediate comment. Muslim leaders scoffed at what they called an overreaction and asked for specific locations of the reputed Muslim strongholds.
One of the Church of England’s most senior bishops is warning that people will die unless Muslim leaders in Britain speak out in defence of the right to change faith. Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, whose father converted from Islam to Christianity in Pakistan, says he is looking to Muslim leaders in Britain to ‘uphold basic civil liberties, including the right for people to believe what they wish to believe and to even change their beliefs if they wish to do so’.
A Church of England bishop said in comments published Sunday that officials should have the power to ban veils that cover the face in public, continuing the divisive debate in Britain over the traditional garment for Muslim women. The Pakistani-born bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, urged Muslims not to wear the veil under some circumstances. “It is fine if they want to wear the veil in private,” he was quoted as saying by the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. “But there are occasions in public life when it is inappropriate for them to wear it.” Nazir-Ali said authorities should have the power to ban the veil in some situations. “I can see nothing in Islam that prescribes the wearing of a full-face veil,” he said. “In the supermarket, those at the cash tills need to be recognized. Teaching is another context in which society requires recognition and identification.”