Thinking Anglicans

Nazir-Ali: Church Times weighs in

Pat Ashworth has a lengthy article in the Church Times headed Clergy criticise Nazir-Ali’s talk of no-go areas.

CLERICS working in predominantly Muslim areas of British cities have rebutted assertions by the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, that Islamic extremism and multiculturalism have resulted in “no-go” areas for non-Muslims.

The Bishop’s comments, made in an article for The Sunday Telegraph, have angered many working in interfaith relations, who says that he has undermined years of patient work. He wrote that one result of a worldwide resurgence of the ideology of Islamic extremism had been “to further alienate the young from the nation in which they were growing up and turn separate communities into ‘no-go’ areas”…

The article includes comments from clergy working in Leicester, Oldham (Manchester), Tower Hamlets (London) and Manningham (Bradford).

There is a leader as well: Dr Nazir-Ali’s view of Britain:

THE Bishop of Rochester is uniquely placed in the House of Bishops to speak about the experience of Christians as a beleaguered minority in a hostile society, though not by virtue of his see in southern England. His continuing interest in Pakistan has shown him how Christians there are becoming increasingly anxious about the growth of intolerant strains of Islam. As a global observer, he is inclined to take the “clash of cultures” view of the relationship between Islam and the West, and the treatment of Christians in the Indian subcontinent and parts of the Middle East contributes to this view.

There are several surprising aspects about his attempt, in a newspaper article, to place the British situation in this context. It is perhaps unfair to criticise him for what he did not say: Dr Nazir-Ali tends to need a larger canvas to develop his views. None the less, there were three elements missing from his article which might have tempered the glee with which his comments about no-go areas were seized on in some quarters….

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