Here we go again. Here is another example (click here for previous discussion of a similar case) of a major story from Britain that needs -- somehow -- to be confirmed at a level great than the voice of one person who wields great authority. Consider the lede in the Telegraph report by Jonathan Wynne-Jones:
Islamic extremists have created "no-go" areas across Britain where it is too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter, one of the Church of England's most senior bishops warns today.
The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester and the Church's only Asian bishop, says that people of a different race or faith face physical attack if they live or work in communities dominated by a strict Muslim ideology.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, he compares the threat to the use of intimidation by the far-Right, and says that it is becoming increasingly difficult for Christianity to be the nation's public religion in a multifaith, multicultural society.
There are several issues clustered in that passage, but here is the key one for me. For a decade of so, Brits have believed that the values often called "multicult" -- multiculturalism is still the term in America -- were of the highest possible priority. Clearly, some people are going to have doubts. As I heard in Oxford more than a year ago, the "multicult" factor is so powerful that it often trumps feminism and, at times, even the sexual revolution. People are worried on the left as well as the right.
Thus, we read:
His comments come as a poll of the General Synod -- the Church's parliament -- shows that its senior leaders, including bishops, also believe that Britain is being damaged by large-scale immigration. Bishop Nazir-Ali, who was born in Pakistan, gives warning that attempts are being made to give Britain an increasingly Islamic character by introducing the call to prayer and wider use of sharia law, a legal system based on the Koran.
And there, you can see, is the key. Is there some way to actually confirm the use of sharia in Britain and its growth is specific regions? That is crucial. That has to be reported as fact, not opinion, or the story will just spin around and around in circles.
Who will have the courage to attempt to do that reporting, before Britain slides into a segregated society without a common rule of law?
On the other side, Muslims have responded. It is crucial that Nazir-Ali is a man who knows and understands Muslim life and culture.
Bishop Nazir-Ali, whose father converted from Islam to Catholicism, was criticised by Ibrahim Mogra, of the Muslim Council of Britain. He said: "It's irresponsible for a man of his position to make these comments.
"He should accept that Britain is a multicultural society in which we are free to follow our religion at the same time as being extremely proud to be British. We wouldn't allow 'no-go' areas to happen. I smell extreme intolerance when people criticise multiculturalism without proper evidence of what has gone wrong."
You can see the cycle beginning, right there. What are the facts? Is sharia a factor, already? If there are no-go zones, what is the hard evidence of this fact? Will government leaders allow the facts to be reported.
So many questions. We need information, not clashing opinions -- alone.