Christian Peoples Alliance defends bishop over Islam comments

Published 07 January 2008  |  
The leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance group on Newham Council, Cllr Alan Craig, has come out in support of the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, after he warned on Sunday that Islamic extremism was creating "no-go areas" for people of a different faith.

Bishop Nazir-Ali faced strong criticism from the Muslim Council of Britain and a number of politicians for his comments in a piece for the Sunday Telegraph.

The Pakistan-born Bishop wrote that a global resurgence of Islamic extremism was turning "already separate communities into 'no-go'areas", and that "hostility" in certain areas was making it difficult for non-Muslims trying to live or work there.

"There has been a worldwide resurgence of the ideology of Islamic extremism," the Bishop wrote. "One of the results of this has been to further alienate the young from the nation in which they were growing up and also to turn already separate communities into 'no-go' areas where adherence to this ideology has become a mark of acceptability.

"Those of a different faith or race may find it difficult to live or work there because of hostility to them.

"In many ways, this is but the other side of the coin to far-Right intimidation."

He added: "Attempts have been made to impose an 'Islamic' character on certain areas, for example, by insisting on artificial amplification for the Adhan, the call to prayer."

The Muslim Council of Britain said the Bishop was "talking nonsense" and a number of politicians dismissed the Bishop's fears as scaremongering, including Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg who called the idea of no-go areas "a gross caricature of reality".

Cllr Craig commended the Bishop as "courageous" for highlighting the "deliberate creation of Muslim enclaves by radical Islamists in Britain".

"Of course the Bishop will get attacked by ostriches who hide their heads in the sand and hope the problem will go away," said Cllr Craig.

The CPA leader has spearheaded a lengthy campaign against the building of a giant mosque next to the London Olympics site in east London by the controversial Tablighi Jamaat group.

"Mega-mosque promoters Tablighi Jamaat have just such a track record of creating a Muslim enclave around their current UK headquarters mosque in the Saville Town area of Dewsbury in West Yorkshire," said Cllr Craig.

"Muslim superiority and separatism is what Tablighi Jamaat preach, and Muslim ghettos are often the result.

"That's why we don't want the Tablighi Jamaat mega-mosque in our diverse east London where social cohesion and integration are highly valued."

He added, "LibDem leader Nick Clegg should visit Dewsbury before he further criticises Dr Nazir-Ali. He should see for himself the 'parallel society' Tablighi Jamaat have established in the streets around their mosque."

The assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Inayat Bunglawala, said that Bishop Nazir-Ali was trying to "franatically scaremonger" as a result of "what he perceives as the decline in the influence of Christianity upon this country".

Conservative Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague told Sky News, meanwhile, that the bishop had "probably put it too strongly".

Reprints

More News in Society