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Former Bishop of Rochester Dr Michael Nazir-Ali calls for burka ban

By Nicola Jordan

The controversial former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali is calling for a ban on burkas in places like Parliament and Whitehall.

Pakistani-born Dr Nazir-Ali, who led the diocese of Rochester for 15 years, said it is for "reasons of national security".

The former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali
The former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali

His comments come after former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said women who wear face-covering veils look like "bank robbers" and "letter boxes".

The senior Church of England cleric sparked controversy during his time as bishop between 1994 and 2009.

He received death threats for saying in a Sunday newspaper that Islamic extremists created "no-go areas" for non-Muslims in Britain.

He also blamed the church for not doing enough to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

Dr Nazir-Ali was the first non-white diocesan bishop in the Church of England.

He was the 106th bishop at Rochester, the second oldest cathedral in the country. Before that he was the general secretary of the Church Mission Society.

He left to work on education and training projects.

Nazir-Ali is generally on the Evangelical wing of Anglicanism but once described himself as being "Catholic and evangelical".

He appointed the first female archdeacon in the Church of England and chaired the Rochester Commission on whether women should be made bishops.

He is familiar with a number of Middle Eastern and Asian languages and has played a significant role in the churches' dialogue with people of other faiths.

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