THE Church of England’s only Asian bishop, whose father converted from Islam, has criticised many Muslims for their “dual psychology”, in which they desire both “victimhood and domination”.
In the most outspoken critique of Muslims by a church leader, Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, said that because of this view it would never be possible to satisfy all their demands.
“Their complaint often boils down to the position that it is always right to intervene when Muslims are victims, as in Bosnia or Kosovo, and always wrong when the Muslims are the oppressors or terrorists, as with the Taliban or in Iraq,” said Nazir-Ali.
“Given the world view that has given rise to such grievances, there can never be sufficient appeasement and new demands will continue to be made.”
The failure to counter such beliefs meant that radical Islam had flourished in Britain, spread by extremist imams indoctrinating children for
up to four hours a day, he said.
Nazir-Ali added that rigorous checks, from which the government had retreated in face of Muslims’ protests, should be imposed to ensure that arriving clerics were committed to the British way of life.
“Characteristic British values have developed from the Christian faith and its vision of personal and common good,” said the bishop in an interview with The Sunday Times.
“After they were clarified by the enlightenment they became the bedrock of our modern political life. These values need to be recovered to help us to inculcate the virtues of generosity, loyalty, moderation and love.”
Nazir-Ali, who was born in Pakistan and whose father converted from Islam to Catholicism, said radical Islam was being taught in mosque schools across Britain. “While radical teaching may not be happening everywhere, its presence is felt across the country. It affects all Muslims,” he said.
“The two main causes of the present situation [rising extremism] are fundamentalist imams and material on the internet.” He proposed to filter out imams who might whip up extremism: “They must be vetted for appropriate qualifications, they must have a reasonable knowledge of the English language and they must take part in a recognised process of learning about British life and culture.”
The government, after lobbying from Muslim groups, retreated from proposals to toughen entry requirements put forward by David Blunkett, the former home secretary, two years ago. Plans to require foreign clerics to sit a test on British civic values a year after arriving were cancelled along with the introduction of a requirement to speak English to conversational level.
Nazir-Ali also criticised women wearing veils that cover the whole face. Tony Blair called the full veil a “mark of separation”, but Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said any curbs on wearing it would be “politically dangerous”.
Nazir–Ali drew attention to a “huge increase” in the wearing of Muslim dress in Egypt, Malaysia and Pakistan, saying that in Britain there were circumstances where the full veil should not be worn: “I can see nothing in Islam that prescribes the wearing of a full-face veil. In the supermarket those at the cash tills need to be recognised. Teaching is another context in which society requires recognition and identification.”
Nazir-Ali, 57, was born a Catholic in Karachi, converted to Protestantism and was received into the Church of Pakistan at 20. He settled in Britain in the 1980s and became the youngest bishop in the world at 35.
Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said his comments were not “very helpful for community relationships