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Right Reverend Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of RochesterBy Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
Saturday, February 2, 2008

ROCHESTER, ENGLAND (ANS) — A bishop who claimed Islamic extremism in Britain has turned some communities into no-go areas for non-Muslims has received threats against himself and his family.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) says the Bishop of Rochester, the Right Reverend Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, said last month non-Muslims may find it hard to live or work in some areas.

Now he says he has received threats which have been reported to police. Police in Kent said it was aware of the situation but could not comment on matters of personal security.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph on January 6, Dr Nazir-Ali said there had been a worldwide resurgence of Islamic extremism, leading to young people growing up alienated from the country they lived in.

He said there was “hostility” in some areas and described the government’s multicultural policies as divisive. But he did not name any such areas and Muslim leaders and some politicians accused him of scaremongering.

According to the BBC, the bishop said in a message posted on his website that he was aware his views would cause a debate on the issue but he added: “I have been surprised at 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,” he said.

The bishop’s chaplain, Canon Tony Smith, told BBC Radio Kent the threats were made by telephone by someone in Britain. “We have taken appropriate measures and are getting on with life,” he said, adding:”We have consulted Kent Police, who have taken appropriate action.”

Dr Nazir-Ali was born in Pakistan and has both a Christian and Muslim family background.

He said on Friday the purpose of his Sunday Telegraph article was to point out that the best way of welcoming and integrating arrivals to the UK should have been with Christian hospitality and not secular multiculturalism.

“I made clear in the article that my comments were about the particular impact of Islamic extremism and were not about Muslims in general,” he said.

He added: “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.”

** Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent of ANS, is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station. Michael’s involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department — Michael Ireland Media Missionary (MIMM) — of ACT International at: Artists in Christian Testimony (ACT) International. His weblog appears at: Michael Ireland Media Missionary.

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