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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 November 2006, 18:54 GMT
Bishop attacks 'Muslim hypocrisy'
Bishop of Rochester
Bishop Nazir-Ali's views differ from the Archbishop of Canterbury
A senior Anglican bishop has accused many Muslims of being guilty of double standards in their view of the world.

The Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, told the Sunday Times some had a "dual psychology" in which they sought "victimhood and domination".

The Muslim Council of Britain said the comments were "not very helpful".

The bishop, whose father converted from Islam, also said situations such as teaching could require Muslim women not to wear full-face veils.

Mr Nazir-Ali argued it would never be possible to satisfy all of the demands made by Muslims because "their complaint often boils down to the position that it is always right to intervene when Muslims are victims... and always wrong when Muslims are the oppressors or terrorists".

He compared Bosnia and Kosovo, where he said Muslims were oppressed, with the powerful position of the Taleban in Afghanistan, who he said had been the oppressors.

He added: "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."

A Muslim Council of Britain spokesman said the remarks in the paper appeared "rather broad brushed".

He added: "We would normally expect a bishop to display more humility and work towards bringing communities closer together rather than contributing towards fostering greater divisions."

Veil debate

The bishop's comments on the use of full-face veils by Muslim women add to the debate sparked by Commons Leader Jack Straw, the former foreign secretary, last month.

He disclosed that he asks Muslim women to remove the veil when they attend his Blackburn constituency surgeries.

Mr Straw also suggested that Muslim women who wear veils over their faces can make community relations harder.

In the Sunday Times, Mr Nazir-Ali referred to a "huge increase" in the wearing of Muslim dress in Egypt, Pakistan and Malaysia.

He said: "I can see nothing in Islam that prescribes the wearing of the full-face veil.

"In the supermarket those at the cash till need to be recognised. Teaching is another profession in which society requires recognition and identification."

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, entered the veil debate last month by saying people should be free to wear visible religious symbols.

He said aiming for a society where no symbols such as veils, crosses, sidelocks or turbans would be seen was "politically dangerous".




SEE ALSO
School suspends woman over veil
13 Oct 06 |  Bradford
Muslims must feel British - Straw
02 Nov 06 |  UK Politics
Straw's veil comments spark anger
05 Oct 06 |  UK Politics
Talking face to face
23 Oct 06 |  Magazine

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