Som ung mann, ble Michael
Nazir-Ali forfulgt av islamister i sitt hjemland, Pakistan. Nazir-Alis far
var en konvertitt til kristendommen, hvilket utsatte hele familien for
forfølgelse. Da Nazir-Ali kom til Storbritannia som flyktning, og som den
yngste biskop i den anglikanske kirke, 35 år gammel, hadde han aldri trodd at
han ville oppleve religionsforfølgelse også der. Dyrekjøpt erfaring har nå lært
ham noe annet. Etter å ha advart om tiltagende islamistisk forfølgelse og
trakassering av ikke-muslimer i Storbritannias innvandrergettoer, var det presis
dette han ble utsatt for selv.
His claim that Islamic
extremism has turned some parts of Britain into «no-go» areas for
non-Muslims led to fierce rows between political and religious leaders over the
impact of multiculturalism on this country.
Those comments were followed
soon after by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s suggestion that the adoption of
aspects of sharia law in Britain was «unavoidable».
The bishops’ views in The
Sunday Telegraph sparked a storm of criticism and raised questions over the
role of the Church in society but, most seriously for Dr Nazir-Ali, led
to threats that he and his family would be harmed.
Yet, in his first interview
since the sinister calls were made to his home, the Bishop of Rochester remains
steadfastly defiant. He will not be silenced. «I believe people should not
be prevented from speaking out,» he says. «The issue had to be
raised. There are times when Christian leaders have to speak out.»
Nazir-Ali ser islams økende
innflytelse som en konsekvens av et åndelig vakuum i det britiske samfunnet.
Dette kan lede til at hele samfunnet islamiseres, advarer han.
«The real danger to
Britain today is the spiritual and moral vacuum that has occurred for the last
40 or 50 years. When you have such a vacuum something will fill it.
«If people are not
given a fresh way of understanding what it means to be a Christian and what it
means to be a Christian-based society then something else may well take the
place of all that we’re used to and that could be Islam.»
A highly-respected academic
– he studied at Cambridge and Oxford – he speaks calmly and with a measured
Det er ingen hemmelighet at
Storbritannia har massive integreringsproblemer med sin muslimske befolkning,
og at Storbritannia, kanskje mer enn noe annet vestlig samfunn, er blitt hjem for
store, svært radikale, islamistiske bevegelser. Men Nazir-Ali ser ikke bare på
dette som et problem for landets sikkerhet, men for dets sosiale
«There are extremist
movements in this country whose agenda is far from integration, we must be
aware of this,» he says. «It is not only a threat to security but to
integration. They are significant enough to influence sections of young
Just over a year ago Abu
Izzadeen, an Islamic radical, heckled John Reid, the former home secretary, as
he tried to deliver a speech on targeting potential extremists. «How dare
you come to a Muslim area,» Izzadeen screamed.
There was widespread dismay
at the outburst, but nobody had dared to try to suggest that these views were
entrenched across the country until the bishop spoke last month.
Selv om Nazir-Ali har
mottatt mye støtte fra et bredt spekter av samfunnslivet, har hans kolleger
innen kirken gitt ham en kald skulder etter no-go utspillet og etter at truslene begynte å hagle.
«I don’t court
popularity. If I say something it’s because I think it’s important enough to
say it. What I said was based on evidence, and that has been strengthened as a
result of overwhelming correspondence.»
He wishes the Church would
be more vocal on issues of multiculturalism and sharia law, but refuses to
criticise his colleagues, although it is clear he is baffled by their silence.
«I can’t guess why they
haven’t talked on the issue. I’m not responsible for other people’s
consciences.» Is it due to cowardice? «You’d have to ask them.»
He agrees with Dr Williams
in supporting the right of Muslims to observe their religious freedom, but is
strongly opposed to any idea of Islamic law being recognised within the British
«People of every faith
should be free within the law to follow what their spiritual leaders direct
them to, but that’s very different from saying their structures should replace
that of the English legal system because there would be huge conflicts.» In
particular, he points to polygamy, women’s rights and freedom of belief as
areas in sharia law that would undermine equality.
There is a danger that the
archbishop’s remarks could become a reality unless Britain quickly regains a
sense of its Christian heritage.
«Do the British people
really want to lose that rooting in the Christian faith that has given them
everything they cherish – art, literature, architecture, institutions, the
monarchy, their value system, their laws?»
Ja, som HRS har sagt en
rekke ganger, liberale samfunn vil bli tvunget til å ta stilling til hvor
grensen for islams særkrav i det offentlige rom skal gå, dersom de skal unngå
islamisering. Islams egne krav på sine omgivelser er, i så måte, grenseløse.