Church of England's Best Cleric: A Pakistani Roman Catholic

By AR - Anglican Bishop of Rochester, Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali, a Pakistani Roman Catholic convert, has stressed his anti-idiotarian credentials. Criticising Britain's multicultural policies, he claims Islamic extremists have turned parts of Britain into no-go areas for non-Muslims. Right Rev. Nazir-Ali says the acceptance of Sharia laws and amplified calls to prayer from the muezzins impose Islam on the surrounding areas and pretty much remind everyone else they shouldn't be there. The bishop blames the "multi-faith mish-mash" promoted by the British Government for undermining the influence of Christianity.

He has some support in senior levels of politics - Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said the bishop had exposed "a deeply serious problem," adding that Government confusion "risks encouraging radicalism and creating home-grown terrorism". His comments have sparked predictable outrage from the usual suspects - one calling for the Church of England to take "serious action" against him. Mohammed Shafiq, of the Ramadhan Foundation, said the bishop's words would "remind people of the road to Nazism". And in refuting his claim about the call to prayer, Assistant Secretary-General (that's some title!) Inayat Bunglawala from the Muslim Council of Britain compares it to church bells.

I think a better comparison would be the shop steward's whistle from the comedy show The Rag Trade - peep! "Everybody out!"

Some background on Nazir-Ali:
"The Bishop's attack on Islamic extremism has cemented his place as one of the Church of England's pre-eminent defenders of traditional Christianity. Michael Nazir-Ali's outspokenness has put him in the vanguard of opposition to hard-line Islamism and made him one of the highest-placed enemies of the gay rights movement. Born into a Roman Catholic family, Michael Nazir-Ali converted to Anglicanism aged 20.

The 58-year-old father of two has set himself against feminism by criticising couples who decline to have children and he is among the clerics who speak most strongly against attempts to remove signs of Christianity from public life." No doubt his detractors such as Shafiq would regard Nazir-Ali more as Nazi Rally, but as has been said before, the first one to cry Nazi loses the argument. And while Anglicans worry about whether to ordain women priests or consecrate gay marriages, Nazir-Ali speaks out about real issues. This man is the sort of leader the Church of England desperately needs.

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