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Pakistani bishop in England resigns

ROCHESTER, England, March 29 (UPI) -- The only non-white diocesan bishop in the Church of England announced his resignation Saturday, saying he plans to work where the church is "under pressure."

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali will step down as head of the diocese of Rochester in Kent Sept. 1, The Times of London reported. A statement released by the diocese suggested he will work with Christians in predominantly Muslim countries.

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"Bishop Michael is hoping to work with a number of church leaders from areas where the church is under pressure, particularly in minority situations, who have asked him to assist them with education and training for their particular situation," the statement said. "Details of this arrangement are still being worked out."

The son of a Pakistani convert to Christianity, Nazir-Ali holds dual citizenship and sits in the House of Lords. He is an outspoken conservative evangelical.

He was granted police protection last year after he said some Muslim areas in Britain had become "no-go" zones for Christians.

Nazir-Ali was considered a possible archbishop of Canterbury before Rowan Williams was given the position. Archbishop of York John Sentamu, the second-ranking Anglican prelate, is a native of Uganda.

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