A Bishop who claimed that strong Muslim areas had become "no-go" zones for Christians has been invited to Lancashire to see cohesion working.

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, has received some support from the Bishop of Burnley following his comments.

The Rt Rev John Goddard said Christians in areas like Blackburn and Burnley could find life difficult and find their views interpreted as oppression.

But Anjum Anwar, who works in Blackburn Cathedral alongside Canon Chris Chivers to promote interfaith relations, said she was by Bishop Nazir-Ali's comments.

She said: "It is not good for community relations when someone of his stature makes comments like that.

"I wish he could hear what he is saying - he is damaging a lot of good work that is done at grass root level.

"I am sure he has a busy schedule, but I have invited him to Blackburn to come and look at all the good work he nearly damaged. I really wonder where he is coming from."

Bishop Goddard said: "It is not fear that there is going to be retaliation, but it is a concern that you get it badly wrong and cause hurt to others of integrity of other faith that you did not intend.

"When you engage in proclaiming the Christian faith in an area dominated by another religion, I and others tread very carefully so that the message is heard and not seen as some sort of oppression.

"Those living in areas of Muslin culture can feel like strangers."

Salim Mulla, a Blackburn councillor and vice-chair of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, said: "I totally disagree with the Bishops. We do have good integration here. Just this morning I had a meeting with a Christian priest to discuss cohesion."

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Nicholas Reade, said comments attributed to him and appearing to back the Bishop of Rochester had been taken out of context.

In a statement, he said he wanted to study what Bishop Nazir-Ali had said before commenting.