BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 08:31 GMT 09:31 UK
Canterbury candidate - Michael Nazir-Ali
Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester
Nazir-Ali's moral stance will appeal to traditionalists

The archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Church of England, is normally seen as a pillar of the British Establishment.

The man who occupies the post, whatever his other qualities, is expected to enshrine tradition.

This time, the Church may find itself being led by a non-white archbishop.

If so, it will indicate how far society has changed, with even the Church trying to keep pace.

One of the leading candidates is Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester in southern England.

Dr George Carey
Dr George Carey stands down in October
He was born in Pakistan, and has maintained close links with his homeland.

When he was made a bishop in Pakistan, he was the youngest Anglican bishop in the world.

He was the only UK bishop in a 1997 poll to be able to name all five Spice Girls.

Dr Nazir-Ali was the first non-white senior bishop in the Church of England on his appointment, though there was already an able Caribbean-born assistant bishop, Wilfred Wood, in south London.

Part of Michael Nazir-Ali's appeal in today's climate lies in his extensive knowledge of Islam.

Conservative stances

That would stand him in good stead both within the UK and in the archbishop's overseas work as head of the worldwide Anglican communion.

At 52 he is young enough to be able to serve for some years if he is selected. He is on the Church's evangelical wing, conservative on social issues, and opposed to the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.

Dr Nazir-Ali was criticised for suggesting that couples should not enter into marriage unless they intended to have children.

His moral stance will appeal to many traditionalists in the Church, and probably most will go along with his acceptance of women priests.

As a theologian he is described as "able" - he is a member of the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority.

'Whispering campaign'

Michael Nazir-Ali has claimed to be the victim of a whispering campaign which allegedly included racist slurs.

He is a former practising Catholic, though it is hard to see why that should count against him among Anglicans.

The Church of England has conducted a confidential investigation into his background, without finding anything to cause it concern.

His background and learning may swing the decision in his favour - a Pakistan-born archbishop would be a powerful symbol.


Latest stories

The contenders

Background
See also:

14 Jun 02 | UK
08 Jan 02 | UK
06 Jan 02 | UK
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes