Sunday, February 12, 2017

Michael Nazir-Ali.


A retired Church of England Bishop says secularism 'has failed spectacularly in relating to people of faith'. Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester for 15 years until his retirement in 2009, was speaking in a lecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies, reported in Eastern Eye.
Nazir-Ali, who was the first non-white Diocesan Bishop in the C of E said, 'What has isolated communities is a lack of any sense of a common citizenship in the nation... Doctrines of multiculturalism, for instance, have simply allowed people to be on their own.'
He suggested that secularism wasn't able to cope with complex religious and cultural identities. 'What we need are policies that respect culture and respect religion, but at the same time encourage common citizenship – a common language.'
Nazir-Ali, who was born in Pakistan and whose father was a convert to Christianity from Islam, is often seen as a conservative voice within the Church. He called for inter-faith dialogue to continue in earnest to make us accountable to other people. 'Interfaith dialogue is very important so that we can bring our concerns to one another,' the Bishop said. 'We live in a world where religions have to be accountable so they are accountable at the bar of world opinion; that is what interfaith dialogue should be about: accountability to one another.'
Nazir-Ali cautioned that the UK should not abandon its Christian heritage. 'If you don't know your own spiritual tradition, how are you going to understand other people's?' he asked. 'I think secularism has failed spectacularly in relating to people of faith.'