The differing responses to Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali’s interview with the Daily Telegraph on 6 January 2008 tended to focus on his claim that across Britain, “Islamic extremists have created ‘no-go’ areas” for non-Muslims. However, there is a different approach to a constructively critical engagement of Nazir-Ali’s analysis, one that begins with the Bishop’s view that “it is now less possible for Christianity to be the public faith in Britain”.
While Nazir-Ali’s comments were primarily about British Muslims, there was a broader context reflected both in his own remarks, and the Telegraph’s reporting of a recent Synod survey. This survey revealed that “bishops, senior clergy and influential churchgoers” consider “an increasingly multi-faith society” to threaten “the country’s Christian heritage”, while a third of those questioned thought that “a mass influx of people of other faiths is diluting the Christian nature of Britain”. Read more
At the time of writing, the fate of the four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) kidnapped in Iraq by a previously unknown group ‘Swords of Truth Brigades’ is unknown. While we pray that they are released unharmed, it is also worth examining the events surrounding their capture and the international response, since they suggest a positive way of challenging those who perpetrate injustice in the name of religion.
The men held hostage, including the British man Norman Kember, plus two Canadians and an American, are a part of CPT actions around the world, where members pursue projects of peace and justice in conflict-stricken towns and neighbourhoods. The CPT presence in Iraq goes back to 2002, when they began their work of providing independent information, monitoring human rights abuses, and facilitating non-violent intervention training. Read more