Sunday, January 06, 2008

Michael Nazir-Ali on 'no go areas'

The Bishop of Rochester is in the news today for claiming in a newspaper article that some parts of the UK are now no-go areas for non-Muslims. He's been accused of scaremongering in some quarters, but some of the responses to the story (see the feedback on the first link) indicate that he's right. Of course the story is about bigger issues than that.

Michael Nazir-Ali argues that the 'multiculturalism' agenda has failed, creating local sub-cultures rather than integration, and that behind it is an implicit secularism which levels out all faiths - corroding the distinctives they have, and undermining traditional chaplaincy provision in schools, hospitals and educational institutions.

He calls for a fresh national vision of what kind of nation we want to be. A vision which doesn't include an explicit faith statement leaves the playing field open for whoever has the loudest voice or most influence. The modern secular state has jettisoned Christianity but replaced it with the Cheshire Cat of multiculturalism. In fact, this is simply cowardice, a failure of nerve on behalf of our political system to articulate a proper vision of humanity and society.

The article is worth reading in full. (And if you want a laugh visit the National Secular Society homepage, which claims that his article is an argument for secularism. ) The 'multiculturalism' agenda (it doesn't really qualify as a 'vision') is the dominant paradigm in health, education, politics, social policy and media. It's time it had a Christian rival in the public sphere, well done to the Bish for having the guts to get the debate going.

Update: more links on this story at Thinking Anglicans, see the entry for Saturday 5th January.
Update 2: a good article on the Ekklesia site, and MadPriest and Cranmer also have their 2 penn'orth.
Update 3 And some evidence for Bishop Nazir-Ali's case from Irene Lancasters blog and the chairman of the Muslim forum writing in the Mail

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