Clegg slams Bishop for non-Muslim “no-go areas” comments

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has criticised the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, for his article in The Sunday Telegraph, Extremism flourished as UK lost Christianity. Most controversially, the Bishop argued that:

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.

The Guardian reports Nick’s views:

The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, said the bishop had not produced any evidence of “no-go areas” for non-Muslims, a notion he described as “an extraordinarily inflammatory way of putting it”.

“There is a legitimate debate to be had about the meaning of multiculturalism. But to suggest that non-Muslims are not able to enter into a particular area seems to me to be a gross caricature of reality.”

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48 Comments

  • I totally agree with Nick on this. Rev Nazir-Ali is putting out a very divisive message which seems to be lacking in any substance. The Church of England and key Muslim organisations enjoy a very positive dialogue and working relationship. Its ridiculous to suggest that the UK has somehow ‘lost Christiainty’ and that Muslims are responsible for this. If fewer Christian people are attending church then he should look to ways of making this more appealing to the population. Surely thats his job. Interesting that the Catholic Church has seen record-breaking increase in their numbers, due mainly to the Eastern Europeans.

  • Ian Turgoose 7th Jan '08 - 12:26pm

    Tristan – it’s sad that some people are so narrow minded that they feel intimidated walking past a group of people going to pray at a Mosque.

  • I would have more respect for the Bishop of Rochesters views if he talked about the real evils and divisions in our society: the council estates, which are no-go areas for young people from other rival gangs. The unacceptable number of young people murdered on our streets, due to these social divides in our society. Why isn’t he talking about this?

  • James: I agree. Explains why Nazir-Ali seems to be the Sun’s favourite bishop.

  • Angus J Huck 7th Jan '08 - 2:36pm

    Someone please explain to me how it is “right-wing” to be critical of Islam.

  • Angus J Huck 7th Jan '08 - 3:14pm

    It is surely a matter of evidence whether or not there are “no-go” areas for infidels in the UK. How is Nick Clegg so certain the Bishop is wrong on this point? Did he do some background research, or did he simply open his mouth and say what he judged to be politically correct?

    I have no idea whether or not these “no-go” areas exist. What I do know is that many young Moslem men have become increasingly aggressive and macho in their religiosity, and there will doubtless be lots of people who find this intimidating.

    Certainly, I agree with the Bishop that the propagation of noise from minarets is anti-social and a public nuisance. It should not be tolerated.

    “Multiculturalism”, the pernicious species of relativism which anathematises criticism of Islam and its odious cultural practices has nothing to do with morality or “anti-racism”, but is actually political manipulation of a very dangerous kind.

    Far from according “respect” to honour killings, female genital mutilation, arranged marriages, the veil, the putting to death of gays, apostates and adulterers, etc, liberals and progressives should be condemning these things in the most strident terms.

  • Angus J Huck 7th Jan '08 - 4:22pm

    “I am suggesting it is rightwing to demonise an ethnic group.”

    Since when has Islam been an “ethnic group”?

    James, you have fallen straight into the trap set for us by the political manipulators: those who seek to suppress criticism of Islam by dishonestly categorising such criticism as “racist”.

  • Angus J Huck 7th Jan '08 - 4:31pm

    No 11.

    Ah, I see.

    Because there are right-wing people who criticise Islam, all criticism of Islam is therefore right-wing.

    I recall a similar argument deployed by Stalinists in the 1970s.

    Because right-wing people criticise the Soviet Union, all criticism of the Soviet Union is therefore right-wing.

  • Angus J Huck 7th Jan '08 - 5:15pm

    James is now telling me I am criticising a “cultural practice”, and therefore a race.

    So answer me this, James. Are you saying that because those who engage in female genital mutilation are mainly Middle Eastern and Sub-Saharan African, we must not criticise this most awful practice?

    That is what Germaine Greer says. Is it what you say too?

    To hold that a cultural practice cannot be criticised because the people who do it have dark skins is racist. You are saying to people of colour, no you can’t have the freedoms I have, because you are black.

    You bet if someone started hacking off the genitals of little white girls, Ms Greer would be up in arms about it.

    We shouldn’t be leaving it to the right to take on Islam. Liberals and progressives should be leading this struggle.

    Islam no threat?

    What happens when the US runs out of puppets to keep the lid on Pakistan? It will be a case of Osama Bin-Laden with nuclear weapons.

  • Angus J Huck 7th Jan '08 - 5:48pm

    James Graham asks: “do you conclude that areas in which they live are “no go” areas for everyone else?”

    James, take a look at what I wrote in post No 8. That is the answer to your question.

  • Angus J Huck 7th Jan '08 - 5:55pm

    Actually, it does. Read the first line of the second paragraph. It’s there.

  • Angus @8

    If noise from a minaret is anti-social, what about church bells????

    Within reason I woiuld find neiher unpleasant or anti-social.

  • Angus J Huck 7th Jan '08 - 7:03pm

    Amazing to see these so-called secularists, all too willing to stick the boot into Christianity, getting scared out of their wits when anyone says anything critical of Islam.

    In the 1970s we witnessed a similar kind of phenomenon known as “Finlandisation”, after the tendency in Finland to treat criticism of the Soviet Union as taboo.

    In both cases, the motivating factor was fear and moral cowardice.

    Readers with a modicum of nous will see through it.

    James Graham expects me to tour the country every day to see if there are no-go areas for infidels. If he would pay me, say £20 per hour plus expenses, I might consider it.

    If a bunch of teenagers held a noisy rave party in a disused factory they would be called all the names under the sun, they would be raided by the Police and given ASBOs. But if a religion wakes us up at 6.00am, well, we have to show them “respect”.

  • Angus J Huck 7th Jan '08 - 7:50pm

    James Graham said: “You’re the one making extraordinary claims; it is up to you to prove them not for me to disprove them.”

    James Graham, you are a LIAR.

    I have made NO extraordinary claims.

    It is Bishop Nazir-Ali who made the claim you say is extraodinary, not I. Unless the Bishop and I are the same person, which we are not.

    I questioned Nick Clegg’s competence to dismiss the Bishop’s claim in such a peremptory fashoin, but that is NOT the same thing as making the claim myself.

    “I have no idea whether or not these “no-go” areas exist.”

    That is what I said at Post No 8.

    Is that an extraordinary claim, James?

    I don’t think so.

    So don’t go around accusing me of saying things I haven’t.

  • Laurence – your description of religion as ideology is laughable in it’s prejudice.

    Religions are practiced, not thought up: each to their own, for one’s self to disown – your anti-religious proselytising is practiced with positively missionary zeal, perhaps you were indoctrinated more than you recognise.

  • That said you’ve got to like Clegg’s approach to faith and culture. To be non-prescriptive and be attacked from all sides is a winner if you can resist falling into the trap of following the clarion of hysterical people.

  • James Graham 7th Jan '08 - 11:15pm

    #27:

    James Graham, you are a LIAR.

    I have made NO extraordinary claims.

    It is Bishop Nazir-Ali who made the claim you say is extraodinary, not I. Unless the Bishop and I are the same person, which we are not.

    I questioned Nick Clegg’s competence to dismiss the Bishop’s claim in such a peremptory fashoin, but that is NOT the same thing as making the claim myself.

    Ooh, scary. You even used capital letters; it must be serious. No extraordinary claims? Don’t agree with the Bishop? In terms of the latter, maybe you haven’t said so in so many words but you’ve made it clear where your sympathies lie.

    Let’s explore some of your “extraordinary claims” shall we?

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM #1 (see I can use capital letters too): “many young Moslem men have become increasingly aggressive and macho in their religiosity, and there will doubtless be lots of people who find this intimidating”

    You could say the same about young men from any religious, cultural or racial background. Where have you been? Just as I defend the right of white Christian (and Atheistic) young men to be allowed to walk around without being condemned for “intimidating behaviour” I defend Muslim men as well.

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM #2: “I agree with the Bishop that the propagation of noise from minarets is anti-social and a public nuisance. It should not be tolerated.”

    But church bells and the aforementioned Donkey and Cockerel can be? On what basis? In what way does this harm anyone?

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM #3: By supporting “Multiculturalism” (“the pernicious species of relativism which anathematises criticism of Islam and its odious cultural practices”), liberals and progressives “according ‘respect’ to honour killings, female genital mutilation, arranged marriages, the veil, the putting to death of gays, apostates and adulterers, etc.”

    There are as many flavours of “multiculturalism” as there are people. Defending the right of people to dress as they wish or practice their own religion – yes, even say prayers in a public space – is a far cry from tolerating honour killings. To imply otherwise is possibly the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard.

    EXTRAORDINARY STATEMENT #4: Critics of Nazir-Ali claim that “because there are right-wing people who criticise Islam, all criticism of Islam is therefore right-wing.”

    No one on this thread has argued that, as you well know.

    EXTRAORDINARY STATEMENT #5: “Amazing to see these so-called secularists, all too willing to stick the boot into Christianity, getting scared out of their wits when anyone says anything critical of Islam.”

    When I pointed out the fallaciousness of that statement, you started getting all angry and shouty. This is a thread about the rights and wherefores of the Bishop of Rochester claiming there are Muslim-dominated “no-go areas” – suddenly you’ve turned this into a debate about whether Islam can be criticised at all.

    That may not by “LYING” (in small or big caps) but it is certainly INTELLECTUALLY DISINENUOUS IN THE EXTREME.

    #28: Laurence, I’ll say one thing for you. You may be a bigot, but at least you’re an equal opportunities bigot.

    #29: Jennie. You hit the nail on the head.

    #30: JamesS. Precisely. Religions are ultimately what you make of them. Secular ideologies are too. Let’s not let individuals off the hook by turning their beliefs into boogie men, shall we?

  • Angus J Huck 7th Jan '08 - 11:26pm

    James Graham:

    I have proved you are a liar. You can’t get out of it, because it’s there in black and white. I didn’t say what you claimed I had said.

    So what do you do?

    Admit you are wrong? Apologise?

    Not a bit of it.

    You respond my showering me with personal abuse. And in so doing, prove yourself a puerile, emotionally immature egotist.

    Having already exposed yourself as a liar, that is some feat.

    (By the way, you don’t know how to spell “diningenuous”. If you want to impress the great and the good, you’ll have to try harder.)

  • Angus J Huck 7th Jan '08 - 11:45pm

    “Where have you been?”

    In the real world, Mr Graham. Unlike some people.

    Perhaps it might dawn on you one of these days that no-one on this planet gives a monkey’s what you think (least of all Nick Clegg).

    In answer the Crewegwyn (whose ego is usually under a greater degree of control than the upthrusting Mr Graham’s).

    Propagating noise may be a public or private nuisance, depending on the circumstances. The ringing of church bells (1) emits less noise, (2) the sound is melodious (not distorted by amplification), (3) doesn’t wake people up and (4) has been carried on for hundreds of years, meaning that people who have gone to live close to churches know they will hear church bells. If bellringing were an innovation, then neighbouring residents would have reason for complaint.

    Watch Mr Graham.

    I catch him lying, so he tries to muddy the water by attacking other things I have said rather than admit to the lie itself.

    Mr Graham said I had claimed that in Britain there are “no-go” areas for infidels. I did no such thing, and he knows it. His attacks on other things I have said are irrelevant. He remains an unrepentant LIAR (capitals, please note).

  • Angus J Huck 8th Jan '08 - 4:26pm

    Wannabe media pundit, James Graham, says the following is an “extraordinary claim” (he has rearranged my spelling, syntax and punctuation):-

    “By supporting “Multiculturalism” (”the pernicious species of relativism which anathematises criticism of Islam and its odious cultural practices”), liberals and progressives “according ‘respect’ to honour killings, female genital mutilation, arranged marriages, the veil, the putting to death of gays, apostates and adulterers, etc.”

    I have given the example of Germaine Greer, generally considered a “progressive”, who is in favour of female genital mutilation and arranged marriages, and is on record as saying that it would be justifiable for Moslems to murder Salman Rushdie. All in the name of showing “respect” to Islam.

    Then there is the recent case of Ronan Bennet, (he of the mystery terrorism acquittal), who wrote in the “Grauniad” late last year that ALL criticism of Islam is racist.

    George Galloway and Ken Livingstone have said very similar things to Greer and Bennet (though they have stopped short of defending female genital mutilation). Livingstone has even invited to London at public expense the odious Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, who says that gays should be put to death and husbands have a duty to beat their disobedient wives.

    There is indeed an increasing and alarming tendency among liberals and progressives, as much as the left, to make criticism of Islam taboo.

    James Graham, with his OTT personal attack on me, is contributing to this process of taboo creation by issuing a warning to anyone who acknowledges the real situation that they will get a fusilade of abuse and be bullied out of the debate.

    If James Graham really wants to improve the conditions of Moslems in this country, then he should be complaining about the one legitimate grievance which they (and people of colour in general) have, and that is racial discrimination in private sector employment.

  • David Morton 9th Jan '08 - 5:17pm

    If I can return to the original comments by Bishop Nazir- Ali. Is is unreasonable if a public figure makes this kind of infamitory claim for him to (a) define exactly what a “No Go” area is (b) give us a list of such areas so we can all test his claims. He hasn’t done so.

    In these circumstances I think Nick Clegg’s comments are exactly what I would expect a liberal leader to say. In my own council ward I have taken a reasonably tough stand on all sorts of “Religious” practices which have bugger all to do with Islam and everything to do with patriarchy and illiberal tribal politics. That doesn’t blind me to thought to a horrible strain of Islamophobia that hasn’t entered public debate which the Bishop appears to be making unsubtantiated appeals to.

  • Tracy Halstead 25th Feb '08 - 1:30pm

    For some reason this page came up when I was searching for a fake charity collection. Are you supposed to be pollitical party members? Immature comes to mind.
    As for what your discussing, there are white no go areas in Halifax and has been for over 15 years that I can think of.Proof of this can be regarding the lack of busses after a certain time in these areas, for years.The fact that the fireservice have been bricked in these areas, its common knowledge that you don`t go to certain areas, regarding the people ur supposed to be avioding, thats a different matter.When you attempt go through peoples park and get jumped and told to f##k off white scum this is our park, says it all, one personal experience. There are non-anybody areas in Halifax as well, after a certain time.
    Discussion, debate on whether they exist or not does not alter the fact that it is reality.Not for those who dont actually live here, or post a vote for me leaflet then not bother till next election time.

  • Nathan Hazlett 4th Apr '08 - 10:36pm

    I wonder are the people criticising Nazir Ali on his ‘inflammatory’ remarks aware that his home was attacked shortly afterwards? So maybe hes not so paranoid afterall. I have a lot of time for Lib Dem policy. However overall the party has been weak to the point of denial on the issue of Political Islamism in Britain. Anyone that thinks there is not a real problem there is very naive.

  • Nathan Hazlett 17th Jul '08 - 2:06pm

    The Liberal Democrats have no right to call themselves liberal if they do not do more to acknowledge and openly condemn the spread of Islamism in this country, because Islamism is the extreme opposite of liberalism. There is (apart from this forum) virtually no debate in the party because political correctness dictates that truth is offensive. Being aware of the threat of Islamism is NOT anti muslim, I repeat is NOT anti-muslim. Some of Islamism’s harshest critics are muslim.

  • Nathan Hazlett 17th Jul '08 - 2:12pm

    To reply to Laurence; what his abode is called is besides the point; the man and his family suffered death threats over speaking his mind. It is a disgrace that Nick Clegg chose to support political correctness over free speech. Frankly the Liberal Democrats are virtually appeasing Islamism by denying its existence and refusing to sufficiently condemn it. Anyone that does is lumped in with fruitcakes like the BNP.

  • Nathan Hazlett 17th Jul '08 - 2:19pm

    TO David; you mention that several points about the Bishops stance should be defined. Will you define ‘Islamophobia’ instead of using it as a pretext for rubbishing all legitimate criticism of Islam. Debate is stronger than throwing words around.

  • Nathan Hazlett 17th Jul '08 - 2:24pm

    Furthermore, equating ‘Islamophobia’ with racism is a serious misuse of both words. Its particularly ironic, considering there is a growing number of white, British born muslim converts, often from exactly the same ethnic group as those that criticise Islamism. Branding someone an ‘Islamophobe’ is an easy way to throw debate aside and brand their opinion as morally inferior; a form of political correctness, which has no place in a democracy.

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