Sunday, January 06, 2008

Much Ado About Bigotry

By Cernig

Over on the Right today, much ado is being made about an op-ed by the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, in that last bastion of colonialist Blimpism, the UK's Daily Telegraph.

Here's what the Bishop actually wrote:
there has been a worldwide resurgence of the ideology of Islamic extremism. 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.

Those of a different faith or race may find it difficult to live or work there because of hostility to them. In many ways, this is but the other side of the coin to far-Right intimidation. Attempts have been made to impose an "Islamic" character on certain areas, for example, by insisting on artificial amplification for the Adhan, the call to prayer.
But the Telegraph turns what is difficult into what is violently opposed in it's own version of the Bishop's words.
Islamic extremists have created "no-go" areas across Britain where it is too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter, one of the Church of England's most senior bishops warns today.

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester and the Church's only Asian bishop, says that people of a different race or faith face physical attack if they live or work in communities dominated by a strict Muslim ideology.
There are and have been veritable no-go areas in Britain. Brixton, Toxteth, Riddrie and Easterhouse all spring to mind. None are Moslem ghettos - they are ghettos of poverty, both white and black and mostly Christian. I've felt more secure in the affluent predominantly-Muslim Pollockshields area of Glasgow than I ever felt in Ibrox or Parkhead. But these are not what the Bishop is talking about - and he doesn't seem to be talking about violent Muslim no-go areas in his op-ed either.

The Bishop - who as a Catholic who converted to Anglican still finds himself on the conservative end of the spectrum and opposes ordination of gays or women while apparently being fine with already-ordained same-sex paedophiles continuing to be members of the clergy - is actually upset at the idea that the Anglican Church might be disestablished rather than at any supposed violence.
Not only locally, but at the national level also the establishment of the Church of England is being eroded. My fear is, in the end, nothing will be left but the smile of the Cheshire Cat.
Which would be the separation of Church and State widely recognised as one of the great innovatory benefits of the American constitution. But on this, the Right remains silent, preferring lurid Telegraph second hand reporting which supports their own bigoted wishes that Europe have a problem, and that that problem be a Muslim one.

No comments: