Bishop backs Muslim prayer call

The Bishop of Oxford has rejected another senior clergyman’s fears that broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer in East Oxford could create a “no-go area” for non-Muslims. The Rt Rev John Pritchard backed plans for the call to prayer in Oxford – splitting away from controversial comments made by the Anglican Church’s only Asian Bishop, the Rt Rev Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, of Rochester.

Bishop Michael said attempts were being made to impose an “Islamic character” on communities, creating no-go areas where people of different faiths would find it hard to live and work. But Bishop John said: “I want to distance myself from what the Bishop of Rochester has said. There are no no-go areas in this country that we are aware of and in all parts of the country there are good interfaith relationships developing.”

Leaders at Oxford’s Central Mosque, in Manzil Way, are considering asking for planning permission to issue the call to prayer from the mosque – and Bishop John said he was “very happy” with the move. He said: “I believe we have good relationships with the Muslim community here in Oxford and I am personally very happy for the mosque to call the faithful to prayer in East Oxford. I would say to anyone who has concerns about the call to prayer to relax and enjoy our community diversity and be as respectful to others as you would hope they would be respectful to you.”

Oxford Mail, 11 January 2008

See also “Clergy criticise Nazir-Ali’s talk of no-go areas” in the Church Times, 11 January 2008