Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali Stands by His Views

Jonathan Petre, London Telegraph, January 10, 2008

The Church of England bishop who provoked a storm by claiming Islamic extremists were making some areas “no-go” zones for non-Muslims has said he stood by his comments.

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, faced calls for his resignation after his article in The Sunday Telegraph.

But speaking from India, where he is attending a conference, the bishop claimed successive governments had failed to foster an “integrating vision” for Britain.

He said he was echoing concerns voiced by Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality Commission, and those in the 2001 Cantle Report on the race riots in Bradford, Oldham and Burnley.

“I deeply regret any hurt and do not wish to cause offence to anyone, let alone my Muslim friends, but unless we diagnose the malaise from which we all suffer we shall not be able to discover the remedy,” he said.

Gordon Brown said: “I know that there are pressures in many areas of the country but I don’t accept that there are or should be no-go areas in any part of the country.”

[Editor’s Note: Monday’s London Telegraph article and Bishop Nazir-Ali’s article can be read here.]

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