[01.24.08] A prominent bishop in the Church of England came under fire recently for alleging that England’s emphasis on “multiculturalism” and religious pluralism, coupled with a worldwide surge in interest in Islamic extremism, have helped to isolate Muslim communities.
As a result, he said, Christianity had been sidelined, youth were feeling alienated from the nation they grew up in and some communities had turned into “no-go” areas for non-Muslims.
The ominous letter written by the Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the Church of England’s Bishop of Rochester, and published in the Sunday Telegraph on Jan. 6 drew a backlash of protest from England’s Islamic community, which called for his resignation.
But senior figures from the Church of England backed the high-ranking, Pakistan-born bishop’s remarks, pointing out that Christians living in predominantly Muslim areas in England feel nervous about expressing their faith.
The Rev. John Goddard, the bishop of Burnley, later told London’s Daily Telegraph he endorsed his colleague’s position.
It’s the “start of a debate that has serious connotations,” Goddard said. “The seriousness is, how do you enable people of different cultures, races and faiths to live together as one nation? That seems to be at the back of what he is saying.”