Indeed, not only are there physical “no-go” areas, but so many areas of thought and discourse which are made hazardous territory by similar threats of violence. An update on this story. “British bishop says he faces threats after comments on Islamic extremism,” from the Associated Press (thanks to all who sent this in):
LONDON – An Anglican bishop who said Islamic extremism is creating “no-go areas” for non-Muslims in Britain says he has received death threats, and a British news agency reported Saturday that he is being given police protection.
Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the bishop of Rochester, raised hackles among many within Britain’s 1.6 million-strong Muslim community when he wrote in an editorial last month that extremism was making some Islamic areas inhospitable to their non-Muslims residents.
In a statement posted on his website Friday, the bishop said that “since my article appeared, threats have been made against the safety of my family and myself, and have had to be reported to the police.”
Britain’s Press Association news agency said the bishop was under police protection, without citing sources. Police said Saturday that they are aware of the situation, but have a policy that prevents them from commenting on matters of personal security.
In January, Nazir-Ali warned that Islamic extremism was turning “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,” he wrote in his editorial in the Sunday Telegraph. “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,” he said, including the use of loudspeakers on mosques for the call to prayer.
Although the editorial was warmly received by Britain’s opposition Conservatives, the Muslim Council of Britain called his comments “alarming” and said he was playing into the hands of the country’s far-right.
Nazir-Ali said on his website Friday that the comments were not meant as a reference to the so-called “no-go areas” of Northern Ireland, where police once feared to tread because of the strength of militant sentiment, but rather as a general point about segregation and the difficulty Christian workers faced in predominantly Muslim areas.
Nazir-Ali, a dual Pakistani-British citizen, has both a Christian and Muslim family background.