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Against Islamic Apartheid By: Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, January 21, 2008

When others in his church and nation are often blinded by multiculturalism and rigid political correctness, the Church of England’s ethnically Pakistani Bishop of Rochester often speaks boldly.  His recent column in The Daily Telegraph warning against encroaching self-segregation and even the growing practice of Islamic Sharia law within British Islamic communities has aroused the ire of some Muslim clerics in Britain.

“There has been a worldwide resurgence of the ideology of Islamic extremism,” Nazir-Ali 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.”

The Islamization of some parts of British cities has happened thanks to high immigration from Muslim countries, low birth-rates among the native British, and the growing secularization of once Christian British society, where only about ten percent or less are Christian church-goers.  As Nazir-Ali noted:  “In fewer than 50 years, Britain has changed from being a society with an acknowledged Christian basis to one which is increasingly described by politicians and the media as ‘multifaith.’”   

Britain has lost “confidence in the Christian vision which underlay most of the achievements and values of [its] culture, Nazir-Ali regretted. And the nation has sought to accommodate its Muslim immigrants with a multiculturalism that encouraged “separate communities” that had “minimum need for building healthy relationships with the majority.”  The bishops warnings drew reactions from some Muslim leaders.

The Ramadhan Foundation’s Mohammed Shafiq responded by telling the Daily Telegraph: "Mr Nazir-Ali is promoting hatred towards Muslims and should resign."  Muslim Council of Britain Assistant Secretary General Inayat Bunglawala was similarly pained:  "Bishop Nazir-Ali appears to be exercised by what he perceives as the decline in the influence of Christianity upon this country, but trying to frantically scaremonger about Islam and Muslims seems to us to be a rather unethical way of trying to reverse this.”  Bunglawala preferred to fault Islamist extremism on the British and U.S. governments:  “He talks about the rise of 'Islamic extremism' but fails to mention how some of the policies of our government and especially that of the United States in the Middle East over several decades now has clearly contributed to this phenomenon."

But Nazir-Ali warned that in some of Britain’s self-segregated Islamic communities, “Those of a different faith or race may find it difficult to live or work there because of hostility to them and even the risk of violence.”  He described some efforts to impose an “Islamic” character on neighborhoods by electronically amplified broadcasting of Islamic calls to prayer.  The bishop wondered whether non-Muslims “wish to be told the creed of a particular faith five times a day on the loudspeaker.”

The bishop also noted efforts to insert some aspects of Islamic Sharia law into Britain’s civil law, starting with Sharia-compliant banking.  Growing Islamization, combined with secularization from other quarters, is helping to squeeze traditional Christian symbols out of Britain’s public sphere, Nazir-Ali complained.  The “Christian character of the nation's laws, values, customs and culture” are being diminished” and in the end, “nothing will be left but the smile of the Cheshire Cat.”

Nazir-Ali observed that only the growth of Christian churches among African and East European immigrant communities has prevented the extinguishing of active Christianity in many British cities.  Although he did not mention it, Britain’s largest church is now a congregation of Nigerian Anglicans.  Meanwhile, Polish immigrants have helped to stem the decline of Britain’s Roman Catholic Church, whose active church goers now equal the typical numbers in the nation’s still officially established Church of England. 

Some of Nazir-Ali’s colleagues within his lethargic church defended his warnings against Islamic self-segregation in Britain.  Bishop of Burnley John Goddard told The Daily Telegraph that Christians in some areas of his diocese are outnumbered by Muslims and often feel intimidated from openly practicing their faith.  "It is not fear that there is going to be retaliation but it is a fear that you get it badly wrong and cause hurt to others of integrity of other faith you did not intend." He added:  “When you engage in proclaiming the Christian faith in an area dominated by another religion, I and others tread very carefully so that the message is heard and not seen as some sort of oppression."

In response to Britain’s balkanization thanks to secularists and Islamists, Bishop Nazir-Ali urged upholding the importance of the English language, greater integration, and more British citizenship education.  “But none of this will be of any avail if Britain does not recover that vision of its destiny which made it great,” he concluded.  “That has to do with the Bible's teaching that we have equal dignity and freedom because we are all made in God's image.”   

Extreme secularists in both Britain and the U.S. naturally prefer to ignore the Jewish and Christian origins of their cultures and democracies.  Their extreme version of multiculturalism, while ostensibly intended to protect the dignity of various cultures, instead denigrates Western culture and religion, while enthroning cultures that are hostile to Western democracy.  Mainline Protestant clerics, presiding over emptied churches, often enthusiastically endorse this trend.  But at least one Church of England bishop of Pakistani origins is warning against the swelling dangers.

Mark D. Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. He is the author of Taking Back the United Methodist Church.

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