*** DEBUG END ***

Nazir-Ali: Britain is founded on faith

13 December 2007

by Bill Bowder

CHRISTMAS churchgoing is evidence that a large proportion of the British people follow the Christian faith, the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, said last week. He was speaking about Britishness, Islam, and Christianity at the launch of a religious media charity, Lapidomedia.

“Forty-three per cent of people in this country will go to church at Christmas — what is the significance of that? Is it just something to do after the pub? I think it is more than that.”

“We can’t let the British people off the hook: literature, art, law, institutions, and values derive from the Christian faith. Turning back from the Christian faith for people as a whole is turning back from the very foundations of our society.”

Dr Nazir-Ali rejected as “facile” the idea that extremes in Islam were simply a sign of its youth, and that it would mature over the centuries, as Christianity had done. Religion could regress instead, and in places had done so.

He argued that all faiths would be “answerable at the bar of human opinion” for the suffering they caused: “We do not have the luxury to leave this to the faith communities to resolve themselves — they are accountable.”

Hannah, aged 32 and a Christian convert from Islam, who was present at the meeting, was one person who had suffered under an extreme interpretation of Islam. She is now under police protection, as her family had threatened to kill her after she had been baptised. Yet she said she was not afraid to die. “I am not going to let it stop me being who I am — being a Christian.”

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)