Saturday, February 2, 2008

UK bishop faces death threats

Freedom of speech UK style.

The Bishop of Rochester has been placed under police protection following death threats made in the wake of his claims that Islamic extremists are creating "no-go areas" for non-Muslims in Britain.

The Right Reverend Dr Michael Nazir-Ali revealed calls had been made to his home in Kent threatening both him and his family.

Kent Police are understood to have given the bishop an emergency number and are treating the threats made seriously.

In a statement made on his website, the bishop sought to clarify his comments originally made in an article in The Sunday Telegraph on January 6.

He said: "The purpose of my article was to point out that the best way for welcoming and integrating newer arrivals in this country should have been a Christian vision of hospitality and not the secular policy of multiculturalism which has led to such disastrous consequences."

He added: "I was aware that what I had written would cause a debate on the issue, but I have been surprised by its scale. If my overflowing postbag is anything to go by - and it has been overwhelmingly supportive - then it is clear that this is an issue that needs further discussion."

Of course the bishop's counterparts are understanding of the death threats.

In an interview with the Press Association this week, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams praised the bishop's record in Christian Muslim dialogue, but said the phrase used had given "a very unfortunate impression".

He said: "A lot of Muslims will say well there are 'no go' areas for us in British society, in some ways, so if the question is about how do we overcome that mutual isolation, that is a very good question."

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali added in his statement: "I made clear in the article that my comments were about the particular impact of Islamic extremism and were not about Muslims in general.
"I deeply regret any hurt and do not wish to cause offence to anyone, let alone my Muslim friends."

That distinction is not good enough, I guess.

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