‘No-go’ bishop gets death threats

07 February 2008

by Bill Bowder

THE BISHOP of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, has been given an emergency police alarm, after receiving death threats.

His chaplain, Canon Tony Smith, confirmed that the Bishop had received threatening phone calls, after his comments about no-go areas in Britain for non-Muslims. The news came in the same week that the Archbishop of Canterbury described Muslim-Christian relations in Britain as good.

Canon Smith said on Tuesday that he had taken the phone calls during Dr Nazir-Ali’s absence in India last month. “The callers said they were going to sort him out, that they were watching his family and, yes, they did threaten his life, effectively.”

In a number of speeches and articles, Dr Nazir-Ali had developed his belief that Britain now faced a radical form of Islam that threatened inter-communal cohesion. He has also said that the parish system was under threat from no-go areas where Christians believed they could not work or live. He believed that Britain’s best chance to extend a welcome to strangers lay in its Christian vision, which was now being lost.

Dr Nazir-Ali said on his website that he deeply regretted any hurt he had caused. “But unless we diagnose the malaise from which we all suffer”, the Church “would not be able to discover the remedy”.

Dr Williams, in an interview published last week, said that the Bishop of Rochester’s comments

had given “a very unfortunate impression”. In his view, relations between the two faiths in Britain were in a “very good place”.

But he said that there was a problem of “mutual isolation” in some areas with different communities, and that to ask how that could be resolved was “a very good question”.

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