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Is the EDL Racist?

This is my first video based blog addressing the many lies that the EDL employ in attempting to deflect criticism and winning wider support. The most strenuously denied accusation is that they are a racist organisation. Whilst anti-Muslim bigotry uses near identical tactics of demonisation, dehumanising tropes and negative stereotypes to classic racism, the excuse that Muslims aren’t a race is too easily deployed as an obstacle in the path of the accuser. For this reason I have only included examples of pure racism in this video. I have also chosen not to include neo-Nazism which would by definition qualify as racist behaviour, as I plan on addressing this in a future blog.

It could be argued that racist language by individuals at 8 demos which have drawn up to 3,000 supporters over a period of 4 years isn’t conclusive proof that the EDL is a racist organisation. I would counter that by saying that leaders, organisers and stewards at demos are required to instruct attendees not to use racist language, which is an unusual request to make of adults in a non-racist organisation. It’s also worth noting that at no point in any of the clips does anybody challenge or question the use of racist language. I would also point out that cameras are not able to capture the words of every demonstrator at every march for the duration of the day.

To bolster my case I have included links below to screenshots taken of EDL members on social networking sites using explicitly racist language. This is just a small sample taken from their reaction to the riots of summer 2011 and the Stephen Lawrence trial.

Click images to enlarge

EDL Riots 2

EDL Riots

EDL Riots 3 EDL Riots 4 EDL Riots 5

EDL Riots 7 EDL Riots 8 EDL Riots 9

EDL Riots 10 EDL riots 11 EDL Riots 13

EDL Riots 14 EDL Riots 15 EDL Riots 16

EDL Riots 17

EDL Riots 18 EDL Riots 19 EDL Riots 6EDL Riots 20

EDL Riots 25

EDL Riots 22 
EDL Riots 23

Again, some EDL sympathisers may argue that this is only two dozen examples from a period of four years where the EDL’s social media pages have attracted up to 100,000 users. I would ask them, why do the EDL seem to attract a disproportionate amount of people who are comfortable using racist epithets and displaying open hostility to people on a purely ethnic basis?

To add a little more scientific weight to my case I will provide some telling results from polls in which EDL members and supporters were asked to answer direct questions.

demos.co.uk files Inside_the_edl_WEB.pdf 1320079341

As the table above shows, as part of the Demos ‘Inside the EDL’ study of 2011, the voting preference of 1,295 EDL supporters was measured. 34% of the participants expressed a preference for the racist BNP, which is 17 times higher than the general population, whilst 14% chose the xenophobic UKIP, which is nearly 5 times higher than the general public.

The slides below are taken from Matthew Goodwin’s ‘Men of Violence? The Drivers of Public Support for the EDL’ study which polled 1,666 members of the general public. 298 were classed as EDL sympathisers, 124 self identified as EDL members, and the remainder were considered neither.

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe... (1)

The slide above shows that those sympathising with the EDL have a clear antipathy towards immigrants, multiculturalism and diversity.

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe... (2)

This slide shows not only an inclination towards ethno-Nationalism but also biological racism. As the slide states, these figures point to a more openly racist inner core to the EDL with a xenophobic circle of sympathisers.

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe...

Perhaps surprisingly, the above slide shows that the primary concern for EDL members and sympathisers is immigration and asylum, not Islam or even ‘militant’ Islam. At least a degree of proportion can be found within the rank of the EDL, as Muslims are beaten into third place by concerns over the economy. It’s not apparent whether concerns with immigration are based on fears regarding unemployment, welfare resources and the economy, or xenophobia and racism. But previous slides may provide an insight.

The next three slides illustrate the factors which are most likely to predict support for the EDL. The methodology is explained first.

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe... (5)

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe... (3)

As far as EDL sympathisers are concerned, by far the strongest indicator of support for the EDL is xenophobia, with an inclination to violence in second.

Men of Violence  The Drivers of Public Support for the English Defe... (4)

Not much needs to be added to the summary of the last slide. The key point worth re-iterating is that the EDL core membership is far more likely to be driven by classic racism and be pro-violence than not only the general public, but also the sympathiser. This would go some way to explaining why the more casual supporters are often oblivious to the extreme hardcore, and are confused by the accusations of racism. They may not actually spend a great deal of time socialising online or attend demos with the EDL, so are therefore less likely to have been exposed to the overt racism as the anti-EDL activist.

Is it possible to claim that the EDL is a racist organisation given the information I’ve presented here? The evidence would suggest that it attracts racists and xenophobes in numbers vastly disproportionate to the general public. It also suggests that the closer the individual identifies themselves with the EDL, the higher the probability is that they hold racist views. Add to this the fact that the leadership have a history of support for the BNP and it’s not surprising that they feel at ease doing this in EDL circles. The fact that the group’s raison d’etre is opposition to a religion practised predominantly by people of Asian, Middle Eastern and African origin provides the perfect cover for racists to be able to vent their hate with slightly amended terminology. Despite the disingenuous mission statement and lip service from the leadership, it’s undeniable that the EDL is riddled with racists and it isn’t a coincidence.

All screenshots used can be found in the link below.

http://twitpic.com/photos/EDLNewsXtra

Links to the full reports used are below.

http://www.slideshare.net/matthewgoodwin1/isdtapva2013

http://demos.co.uk/files/Inside_the_edl_WEB.pdf?1320079341

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” …… man of Asian appearance.”

"... a man of Asian appearance."

It’s political correctness gone mad. How typical that British law enforcement and media are using such a vague term to describe the perpetrators of crimes. It’s almost as if there’s a conspiracy to keep the true identity of these criminals a secret. Everyone knows what they really mean. Jack Straw knows it, senior police officers know it, even ‘Asian’ community leaders know it. No one wants to admit it, but when the term ‘Asian’ is used, what they really mean is Muslim. But everyone’s afraid of offending or upsetting the Muslims because they’ll be called racist.

Or so it goes. This is a fairly sanitised paraphrasing of a common response from Islamophobes to the reporting of crimes committed by Asians.

Armed men rob bookies in Rochdale – menmedia.co.uk 05/05/11

“The thieves are both described as Asian men….”

Appeal over Pilcher Gate stabbinghttp://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk 18/12/11

“The attacker is described as an Asian man….”

Sex assault victim chases attacker through Kensingtonhttp://www.fulhamchronicle.co.uk 30/11/11

“The suspect is described as an Asian man….”

Police hunt for B’mouth sex attackerhttp://www.jackradio.com – 20/01/12

“One of the men is described as Asian looking….”

Bradford father is injured by Tyersal road rage attackerhttp://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk – 15/12/11

“He is described as Asian…”

Man grabbed by throat in street attackhttp://www.dailyecho.co.uk – 05/01/12

“The man is described as Asian….”

Police hunt sex attackers: detailed description givenhttp://www.burytimes.co.uk – 17/06/10

“The wanted men are all described as Asian….”

Sex attacker still at large after CCTV blunderhttp://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk – 03/06/09

“The woman’s attacker is described as an Asian man….”

Menace of the bus sex attackershttp://www.oldham-chronicle.co.uk – 11/11/11

“He is described as Asian….” 

These are the kind of reports that illicit the rants similar to the one that opened this post. Below is an excerpt from an article on the official EDL blog titled ‘What it means to be Asian’.

The Oxford English dictionary describes the usage of the word ‘Asian’ as follows: “In Britain Asian is generally used to refer to people who come from (or whose parents came from) India, Pakistan, or elsewhere in South Asia”. If the British press are anything to go by, this country is plagued by attacks committed by ‘Asians’.

This statement flies in the face of right wing claims that there is a media blackout when it comes to ‘Muslim crime’.

Some commentators have claimed that by identifying the perpetrators as Asians, the press are being racist. But, at first glance at least, they are merely reporting the facts – if they didn’t reveal the extent of ‘Asian crime’, then how could we possibly look into identifying the causes that make crimes committed by this subsection of the population so common? But, of course, there is a problem. Asia is big; taking up, as it does, 30% of the surface of the globe, and with a population of approximately 3,879,000,000. Can we really trace criminal behaviour back to the cultural attitudes of so massive and diverse a place? What more do we really learn about crime (and about the possible ways of combating it) by identifying the perpetrators as Asian? Not a lot.

This is either faulty logic or deliberate disingenuity. In an attempt to steer the reader towards the required conclusion, the writer is creating the impression that there is a genuine effort to get to the root of the problem with sociological analysis. There is also the insinuation  that British Asians share identical cultural attitudes to native Asians rather than non-Asian Britons, thereby accusing them of being unwilling, or unable to assimilate to or adapt to ‘Western culture’. They also discard the possibility that environmental, social, economic and familial issues might be factors in the anti-social behaviour of some Asians. What could the real cause possibly be?

So why do they do it? Well, there’s still the defence that it’s merely descriptive. As the dictionary example illustrates, the usage of the term Asian has narrowed in this country so that it generally refers to those of Indian or Pakistani heritage. But this is still a huge number of people and, crucially, it refers to a huge number of different cultures and beliefs…….

Again, feigning their distaste in generalising so as to narrow the field even further, only to go on to make their own sweeping generalisations. It’s essential for the EDL in particular to make the distinction between Muslims and the Hindu and Sikh communities. It creates the illusion of them being inclusive and not out and out racists, whilst also appealing to extreme minorities in these communities who may also have an anti-Muslim agenda.

Let’s hit the nail on the head. Asian crime is a lie. It doesn’t exist. Not only does the ethnicity of the perpetrators mean little to nothing (and suggesting otherwise would certainly be racist), but there are very good reasons for supposing than very often when the media say Asian, they really mean Muslim. The importance of identifying Islam as a major contributing factor is demonstrated by the arrests for child-grooming that have recently swept across the country. If we’re to prevent these terrible crimes from occurring then we need to be honest about who is committing them and which ideologies they ascribe to. This article really should have referred to a ‘Muslim sex gang’ – that would be the truth, and that would have helped us to understand why the crimes were committed. For example, we’ve explained before how the example of Islam’s prophet Mohammed (that all Muslims are supposed to follow) sets an incredibly dangerous precedent. Combine this with the hostility that is too often to be found in British Mosques and which is spread by radicals that the government has as yet failed to confront, and you reach the ghastly conclusion that many Muslim men see little wrong with applying the example of the prophet (sex with young children)  to those who they regard as ‘dirty kuffar’ (non-Muslims, not worthy of the same rights as Muslims under the Sharia – Islamic Law).

Bang! Any pretence of an academic approach is suddenly abandoned, possibly as the scribe realises there’s no way to make the accusation with logic or integrity. It took them a while to get there, but eventually we arrive at the ubiquitous Islamophobic lie that Islam promotes and encourages paedophilia. Therefore any gang of Asian men who groom vulnerable young girls into a life of drugs and prostitution are simply pious Muslims observing the example of Muhammad. Any violent crime such as assault or mugging committed by “men of Asian appearance” are usually attributed to the jihadist mentality that views non-Muslims as an eternal foe. I have dealt with both of these well worn tropes in these posts Myth-Conceptions Pt. II: Death to the Infidel and Myth-Conceptions Pt. IV: Muhammad & Aisha. Whilst searching for articles for this subject I stumbled across a thread on a Yahoo! message board that perfectly encapsulates the attitude of the Islamophobes on this issue.

“As per usual the PC brigade just cannot bring themselves to call this vile gang of paedos a Muslim Gang. Hopefully this will be another negative piece of news tagged to the Muslim community that will in time add fuel to the anti-islamic fire. No to Islam in UK”

“wake up its not racist its the truth do gooders like you will ruin this once great country its been going on for years they been getting away with it for years because people wont speak up if it was a gang of white men assaulting asian girls there would be riots sick of people with no backbone pulling the race card when it suits”

“I do`nt like Jack Straw, but at least he had the balls to call a spade a spade. These vile muslim gangs are brought up to treat women as sub human and when caught, we have the PC brigade shoving their oar in and making excuses for the s$%^&.”

The sentence I’ve emphasised makes my point for me, straight from the horses mouth. But I’ll continue anyway. The many people that share the opinion and hatred of those above seem to be missing a crucial point. The news articles above, taken from local  press, are reporting crimes where the perpetrator is still at large. The descriptions given are for the purpose of identifying the criminal not to apportion blame to a specific section of the community. While certain sections of the national press may have a political agenda where it’s not only acceptable but necessary to stipulate explicitly when they feel Muslims not ‘Asians’ are to blame. Local press, by and large, has no such motive. It is intended to inform, promote and involve the community it serves, not divide and antagonise with controversy and provocative sensationalism. Therefore finding the criminals becomes a process of elimination. This process will naturally involve narrowing the criteria of the perpetrator’s appearance. As the EDL article itself states, the use of the word Asian to describe ethnicity in the UK is almost exclusively limited to people of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan heritage. Chinese, Japanese or Koreans for example would be described as Oriental, especially for the purpose of making an identification.

Another problem the Islamophobes seem to neglect is, that unless it is made obvious by distinctive attire or communicated by the perpetrator, how does one determine with certainty which religion (if any) a person belongs to during the act of a crime which may have taken place at night? It’s also important to consider that in the event of police carrying out enquiries, questioning individuals and setting up identity parades, which would be the more useful information? The suspect being Asian or the possibility he may be Muslim? Surely it is easier for someone to conceal their faith than their ethnicity? An Asian Muslim could conceivably claim to be a Christian (the 2001 census recorded 8,000 Pakistani Christians in England and Wales) to avoid arrest, but how on earth would they be able to deny being Asian?

If every such press report replaced the word Asian with Muslim, using national percentages this would implicate 31% of UK Muslims who are not Asian, casting suspicion on innocent Black, White, Arab, Turkish and Persian Muslims. It would also exclude some 8% of British Pakistanis, a similar number of Bangladeshis, 87% of British Indians and approximately 250,000 British Sri Lankans. A hypothetical ID parade of Muslims could include a Somali, a Malaysian, an Indonesian, a Bosnian, a Pakistani, a Palestinian, an Albanian and a white British convert. All of whom would have vastly differing skin colours, hair colouring and facial features. The fact that Islamophobes ignore or are oblivious to the diversity within the Muslim community is an indication of how they have racialised Muslims in order to disguise anti-Pakistani racism, or ‘Paki bashing’ to use the pre 9/11 terminology.  Wouldn’t a sincere person want the most accurate criteria possible used so as to minimise the risk of miscarriages of justice?

This must call into question the actual motives behind the Islamophobes’ approach to this issue. Is their priority bringing the criminals to justice or demonising Muslims? Does their desperate need for guilty Muslims outweigh any genuine concern for victims of crime?

Allow me to repeat a quote highlighted earlier.

“Hopefully this will be another negative piece of news tagged to the Muslim community that will in time add fuel to the anti-islamic fire.”

Does anymore need to be said?

6 Degrees of Anders Breivik

Occasionally I like to indulge my immature side and post something a bit more light hearted than usual, but as ever, there’s always a message.

1. Anders Breivik

Far right extremist, anti-Muslim terrorist, perpetrator of 77 murders in Oslo & Utoya. EDL supporter.

2. Daryl Hobson

EDL organiser & logo designer, Facebook friend of Breivik & recipient of his infamous manifesto.

3. Stephen Lennon

EDL leader & founder, despite denying knowledge of Hobson they have been photographed together.

Daryl Hobson & Tommy Robinson/Stephen Lennon

4. Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer

Namechecked 64 times in Breivik’s manifesto, eminent Islamophobe, co-founder of SIOA and EDL endorser.

5. Douglas Murray

Douglas Murray

Heads conservative think tank Centre for Social Cohesion, has liaised with Spencer on ‘counter terrorism’ issues, EDL sympathiser, influential in formulating David Cameron’s Prevent strategy addressing Islamic extremism.

6. David Cameron

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, denouncer of multiculturalism, Muslim scapegoater.

Despite this being a slightly mischievous post, it’s not entirely frivolous. The issue that has caused these people’s paths to cross socially or professionally is Islam. The thought that the work of Robert Spencer could influence both the acts of a terrorist and government policy on dealing with the Muslim community is worrying to say the least, and is yet another reason to put these hatemongers under the microscope and blow their industry wide open.

The Day Islamophobia Exploded

Many observers, bloggers and commentators have been monitoring and logging the rise of Islamophobia in recent years. I, myself, have expressed concern on more than one occasion that unless the acceptability of anti-Muslim sentiment is challenged it will take a tragedy on a large scale to wake people up to the rise of far right extremism. I have been working on a blog post addressing what I see as an impending tipping point for the EDL at their proposed Tower Hamlets demonstration. I’ve been sitting on it due to further developments and partly because I feared my theory would be considered slightly hysterical. In light of events in Norway this week, it appears that my, and many others fears were well founded.

This is part of the post I was going to title ‘The EDL and their East end Crossroads’.

With EDL demos mainly consisting of congregating, drinking, singing the same few songs and leaving, they achieve absolutely nothing in their quest of halting the Islamic jihad. Tower Hamlets could be the one where the violent online rhetoric is transferred into actions. The consequences of this could spell the beginning of the end for them as an organisation. How much longer will they be allowed to disrupt communities, waste police time and tax payers money? The rise in their profile means that more and more members of the general public are becoming aware of their reputation and what they stand for. Some will sympathise, the majority see them for what they are and reject them.

I predict that the Tower Hamlets event will further drive a wedge between the EDL and mainstream society and many members will have to choose which direction they wish to take. If there is large scale disorder I can see harsher restrictions being put on their marches or total bans. This will lead to frustration among the more moderate members who will become disillusioned and abandon the group. If the demo passes without incident due to kettling or lack of reaction from the locals, the more extreme element within the EDL will also be frustrated that what was supposed to be their showpiece demo failed to live up to its billing. Their resentment towards the government, local authorities, the Muslim community and the ‘left’ will grow, and their already unhealthy paranoia will force them to become more militant to satisfy their appetite for action and to achieve their goals. It will be the end of the EDL as we know it.

The organisation will have shed any illusion of inclusiveness and adherence to an obsolete mission statement, and ‘ordinary’ members will be marginalised. There is a real danger that regional divisions could evolve into underground urban militias, stockpiling weapons in readiness for the civil war that will never materialise. Nevertheless the ever changing demographics of the UK will fuel their paranoia and result in sporadic violence and possibly even terrorist attacks. This may sound like pure fantasy, but it’s already happening. In the UK, the last 2 years have seen over 30 recorded incidents of arson, vandalism or attempted bombings of mosques, assaults on individuals outside mosques or vandalism of Muslim graves. This is more than one incident a month, and many incidents go unreported due to fear of reprisals. I don’t see this stopping anytime soon unless serious action is taken or something tragic happens. Islamophobia and far right extremism are on the rise in Europe, and until they are both addressed on a governmental level they will keep on growing, and only a catastrophic event will cause people to treat the issue with the seriousness it warrants.

Maybe I’m being melodramatic, maybe the EDL will just amble along on the fringes of mainstream society until they realise they serve no purpose, and the movement will fizzle out naturally. But the level of hatred and violent rhetoric that comes from a hardcore of members indicates that they won’t go down without a fight. They actually believe they are fighting a domestic war to win their country back. These people won’t just stop feeling the way they do and will exist in some shape or form, EDL or not. This is the reason I feel things will inevitably escalate before they improve. How quickly they escalate will be decided in no small part on September the 3rd 2011. Hopefully then we can help things improve.

I posted an article recently highlighting the relative scarcity of jihadist attacks in Europe and the US compared to other ideologies and how we need to change the perception regarding terrorism and terrorists. The reluctance to acknowledge the threat of domestic terrorism in order to chase the Islamic bogeyman has caused the powers that be to take their eye off the ball with catastrophic consequences.

Here’s an extract from an article I wrote back in April 2011.

In 2011, no one in the mainstream media would dare espouse openly anti-Semitic views akin to those above. No one would express their wishes to return blacks to the status they had in the Jim Crow era, whether they held them or not. Why then, in the 21st century is it acceptable to do both of these with Muslims?

It worries me to imagine how far this could go before it is seen for what it is. Where is the tipping point? What will be the catalyst that forces people to say enough is enough? Unfortunately it will likely be a tragedy on a large scale. It scares me to imagine how large. People are dying daily in Yemen, Syria and Bahrain. Hundreds of detainees remain in Guantanamo Bay without charge. The civilian death toll in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan is in the hundreds of thousands. The people of Palestine are still living in a state of apartheid under siege. How much suffering needs to be inflicted before a watershed occurs?

As long as the GWOT continues, as long as Palestinians resist, and as long as there is oil in the middle east, there will be a need to demonise Muslims and Arabs. In recent weeks we have seen anti-Muslim hearings being held and anti-Sharia laws being passed in America. We’ve seen France criminalise 0.003% of it’s population by banning the niqab. Belgium have already done this. Holland is considering the issue of Halal slaughter. Switzerland has already banned the erection of minarets. Gaza has lost women and children with no media outcry, western condemnation or political debate for a no fly zone.

My hope is that making it as uncomfortable as possible to carry out this demonising will go some way to accelerating it’s demise. Don’t let anyone tell you they can’t be racist towards Muslims, because they can and they are. From the lowliest EDL member, to Republican Senators and Heads of State. Let’s not allow them to hide behind the false claims and propaganda. It’s a huge challenge due to the semantics and misinformation in use and the political implications. The influence of the Conservative Christian right and Pro Israel lobby also cannot be underestimated. But the court of public opinion will always hold considerable power. Public opinion needs to be informed to be able to pass judgement. That’s where we come in. Let’s take this opportunity in the age of social networks and internet revolutions to help raise awareness and stop the hate. Forward, share, join, like, tweet and retweet. Let’s become the generation that said ‘Never Again’ and really meant it.

I blogged this in June 2011.

The acquittal of Geert Wilders in an Amsterdam court yesterday was a victory for free speech. It was also a victory for hate and hypocrisy……What will this mean for Muslims in Holland, across Europe and the West? A report from Belgium shows that Islamophobia is at an all time high there, while anti-Muslim attacks are on the rise in the UK and US, ranging from verbal abuse, to mosque vandalism and physical attacks. France and Switzerland have also introduced legislation that infringe on Muslims practicing their faith. This legal victory will no doubt fortify those who share his views, and I would venture that we can expect some attention seekers to attempt to capitalise on it.

It seems insensitive to say I told you so at a time like this, but many of us did. The only surprise for me was the fact that the attack didn’t focus on Muslims. But something else that has struck me recently is that if there is one set of people the far right despise more than Muslims, it’s ‘the left’. Whether it’s because they see them as dhimmis, traitors, enablers or the manufacturers of the multicultural society they abhor. In some perverse way, the fact that white Europeans were the victims could be less damaging in the long term. It may sound callous, but with Caucasian natives being murdered it may bring home the gravity of the threat to the ruling elite, the media and general public in a way that the deaths of immigrants couldn’t. Also, the bombing of a mosque or immigration centre, with an equal number of Muslim casualties could spark continent wide race riots with dire implications for community relations which could take a generation to rebuild. The most fitting tribute the people of Europe could pay to these innocent kids and their families is to promise not to let this happen again, to anyone.

The only way we can do this is by ensuring that politicians, the media and anyone else with influence are aware of the problem. A good start would be to shine the spotlight as brightly as possible on the anti-Muslim ideologues that inspired Breivik’s imagination and actions. Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders, Daniel Pipes, Fjordman, Bat Ye’or, Brigitte Gabriel, Frank Gaffney, Walid Shoebat, Andrew Bostom, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Melanie Phillips, David Horowitz and Front Page, Steve Emerson, Ibn Warraq, Gate of Vienna, SIOE among others all need to feel the heat. Whilst not directly responsible for the atrocity, their influence is undeniable. Whilst each and every one of them attempts to distance themselves from Breivik’s actions, their words of hate towards Muslims and liberals are freely available to observe on the world wide web.

Robert Spencer – “The girl is right: do not fear. Fight back against the jihad. Fear hands the jihadis a weapon.”

Pamela Geller“And I pray dearly that in the ungodly event that Tehran or its jihadi proxies (Hez’ballah, Hamas etc) target Israel with a nuke, that she retaliate with everything she has at Tehran, Mecca, and Medina…………… Not to mention Europe.” 

Geert Wilders – “We need a spirit of resistance, because resistance to evil is our moral duty.”

Daniel Pipes – “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…. All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.”

Walid Shoebat – “Kill them (Muslims)… including the children … “

Bat Ye’or“Those churches know perfectly well the dire condition of Christians in Muslim lands. But instead of denouncing it, they adopt the militancy of the Janissaries, those Christian slave militias that were the spearhead of the Islamic war against Christianity.”

Mark Steyn – “The Serbs figured that out–as other Continentals will in the years ahead: If you can’t outbreed the enemy, cull ’em. The problem that Europe faces is that Bosnia’s demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.”

David Horowitz – “What other people wouldn’t be stringing up the people who were responsible or who they thought to be responsible.”

Brigitte Gabriel –  “America and the West are doomed to failure in this war unless they stand up and identify the real enemy: Islam.”

“It is not yet politically correct to talk about a religious war. But this is exactly what we are facing: a religious war declared by devout Muslims….It’s not radical Islam. It’s what Islam is at its core.” 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali – “No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.  I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. You look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.”

This is just the tip of the Islamophobic iceberg. So far, this warmongering rhetoric has gone without the disapproval that would greet similar sentiments about blacks or Jews. Despite the rise in Islamophobic incidents, this brand of hate speech has been tolerated or ignored. Many of us who have been casting a more critical and analytical eye over developments have suspected it would only be a matter of time before some radicalised extremist took the only step left to take. Now it’s happened, we’ll see whether they will continue their irresponsible hate mongering. The attack by Breivik is seen by him as the start of a war, one that the aforementioned ‘counter jihadists’ have been using to spread fear and paranoia for years. The reaction of many of them has been one of surprise, as if the holy war they predicted was just a propaganda tool that they never seriously envisaged happening. Well, whether it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy or not, it’s here now and the words and actions of these figureheads and their disciples will be scrutinised to the nth degree. They need to be held accountable and made to answer. If they truly condemn and regret the horrific events of last Friday, they must now enter meaningful dialogue to prove it. Does their humanity outweigh their hate? Are they willing to put their selfish agenda’s aside for the sake of peace? We shall see, as somehow I doubt this is the last I’ll blog on this subject.

For more articles on the threat of the far right and its ideologues I’ve linked some below.

http://yellow-stars.com/blog/2011/07/23/norway-attack-islamophobic-reaction/

http://yellow-stars.com/blog/2011/07/23/norway-and-europe-new-terrorist-threat/

http://yellow-stars.com/blog/2011/06/19/wrong-dangerous-directions-counter-terrorism-western-world/

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/07/25/rise_of_the_radical_right

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2011/07/26/europe_right_wing_extremism

http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/07/loonwatch-has-been-warning-about-a-anders-behring-breivik-for-years/

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/07/26/what-are-people-like-melanie-phillips-calling-for-then/

Patriotism vs Nationalism

Patriotism is a devotion to one’s country. In a generalized sense applicable to all countries and peoples, patriotism is a devotion to one’s country for no other reason than being a citizen of that country.

patriot (plural patriots)

1. A person who loves and zealously supports and defends his or her country.

Nationalism involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms. It can be a belief that citizenship in a state should be limited to one ethnic, cultural or identity group.

An issue that keeps nagging away at my subconscious is the relationship between patriotism and nationalism. Whether you can express one without the other, whether feeling either is compatible with liberal values and principles, and what drives the sentiments. This dilemma was brought to the fore again this week with the Welsh Assembly local elections. Having voted Labour and Lib Dem in the past, and not particularly enthusiastic about doing so again, it was a choice between the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru. If you’ve been brought up in South Wales with family ties to the coal mining community (my maternal Grandfather was a coal miner in the Rhondda Valley) and witnessed the pain and poverty the Thatcher years and it’s aftermath brought to the area, voting Tory is not an option. It looked like it was going to be Plaid. I had already voted Plaid in the General Election of 2010 so it wasn’t a big deal, but the old question of nationalism reared its head once more. Now I know voting for a party such as Plaid or the SNP is a million miles away from giving the thumbs up to the BNP, but the perception of nationalism is still something that rankles with my desire to be part of a global community, not isolated and exclusive. The spectre of separatism still looms with the ideals of nationalism, whether left or right wing.

Is the Welsh nationalism of Plaid Cymru the same as that of Meibion Glyndwr (Sons of Glyndwr), Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (Movement for the Defence of Wales) or Byddin Rhyddid Cymru (Free Wales Army)? Possibly, but the crucial difference is the method by which independence is to be achieved. For Plaid it would be a referendum, for the aforementioned paramilitary groups it was burning holiday homes and bombing water and power lines. Welsh nationalism is defined as: emphasises the distinctiveness of Welsh language, culture, and history, and calls for more self-determination for Wales, including independence from the United Kingdom. Aspirations held by all Welsh nationalists, but there’s a risk that this could alienate non-Welsh residents (as well as Welsh), and if you ignore the history of Wales these sentiments look quite BNPesque. This is where my discomfort must come from. Looking at the Plaid platform it’s obvious that this is not the angle they are coming from:

1. To promote the constitutional advancement of Wales with a view to attaining Full National Status for Wales within the European Union.

2. To ensure economic prosperity, social justice and the health of the natural environment, based on decentralist socialism.

3. To build a national community based on equal citizenship, respect for different traditions and cultures and the equal worth of all individuals, whatever their race, nationality, gender, colour, creed, sexuality, age, ability or social background.

4. To create a bilingual society by promoting the revival of the Welsh language.

5. To promote Wales’s contribution to the global community and to attain membership of the United Nations.

You only have to look at the candidates put forward in Cardiff to see that Plaid are true to their word. The candidate for my particular constituency this time around is Liz Musa, a Cardiff born daughter to a Welsh mother and Nigerian father. At the General Election the candidate was Farida Aslam, a Muslim single mother. Plaids Riverside councillor is Mohammed Sarul Islam, and former candidates include Mohammad Ashgar the first AM from an ethnic minority and daughter Natasha Ashgar. In 2006 on the International Day of Peace, the group Muslims for Plaid was launched as a reaction to the party’s stance on the Iraq war. The BNP have recently called Plaid a ‘fake nationalist’ party and claimed that a vote for them is a vote for the further Islamification of Wales, due to the growing relationship.

So, I’m satisfied that a vote for Plaid is progressive and not at odds with my leftist leanings. They’re nationalist in the sense that they aim to promote the Welsh culture and language that has been eroded with Anglicisation since the days of the Welsh Not and earlier, but not in the sense that it should be done at the expense of other cultures that have found home in Wales.

What about patriotism? It’s a word that has been hijacked by the right-wing in recent years and has come to evoke sentiments similar to nationalism, the Union Jack and the St. George’s flag. In the minds of Teabaggers and EDLers, any inclination towards the left, any criticism of our troops and foreign policy, or any feelings on immigration, Muslims and multiculturalism that edge towards sympathy or objectivity are considered unpatriotic. Anything that doesn’t put white Britons first, second and last is unpatriotic.

There is also the feeling that the concept of being so proud of somewhere just because of an accident of birth is strange one. Yet I still get goosebumps singing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the hairs on the back of my neck still stand up watching footage of Barry, Gareth, JPR, Gerald and Phil from the 70’s. It still fills me with pride to remember great Welsh people like Aneurin Bevan, John Charles, Richard Burton, Dylan Thomas, Carwyn James and Tommy Cooper, to name but a few. My sense of national pride comes from knowing the history of my country and its people, the achievements of these people, and how we continue to overachieve in the fields of sport, the arts and culture. Not from any sense of superiority we have over any other country. Not because of any military conquests, an ability to build empires or the arrogant belief that we brought civilisation and democracy to the third world.

The EDL have a slogan that goes along the lines of ‘Patriotism isn’t Racism’. As a statement of fact, this is 100% true. But the EDL definition of patriotism has more in common with right wing nationalism or jingoism.

More on nationalism:

It can also include the belief that the state is of primary importance, or the belief that one state is naturally superior to all other states. In some cases the identification of a national culture is combined with a negative view of other races or cultures. Some nationalists exclude certain groups. Some nationalists, defining the national community in ethnic, linguistic, cultural, historic, or religious terms (or a combination of these), may then seek to deem certain minorities as not truly being a part of the ‘national community’ as they define it.

Jingoism is extreme patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy. In practice, it is a country’s advocacy of the use of threats or actual force against other countries in order to safeguard what it perceives as its national interests. Colloquially, it refers to excessive bias in judging one’s own country as superior to others – an extreme type of nationalism.

I saw the EDL being described recently as ‘Untranationalists’.

Ultranationalism is a form of nationalism that expresses intense support for one’s nation, and is often characterized by authoritarianism. It can lead to reduction or stoppage of immigration, expulsion, oppression, demagoguery, emotional aspects, talk of presumed real or imagined enemies, threat to survival, crack-down, limit of trade through tariffs, tight control over businesses and production, militarism, populism and propaganda. Ultranationalism has the potential to lead to conflict within a state, as well as between states, and in its extreme form leads to war, secession or, in the case of enthnocentrist ultranationalism, genocide

They would certainly tick a few of those boxes.

Patriotism is a celebration of ones own country and countrymen, once it strays beyond that it ceases to be patriotism. Is it possible to be patriotic without being nationalistic? It would seem so. Is nationalism necessarily a negative trait? It doesn’t have to be as far as I can see. As with any political ideology there’s a broad spectrum of ideals that pick up more unpleasant characteristics as you approach the extreme right. When ethnicity, culture or religion is targeted in a notion of nationalism, the sense of pride has been overtaken by a sense of supremacy. That’s when I get off the ride. I’m happy to celebrate and promote the people, the country, the cultural history and the language of Wales, but I’m also happy to welcome other people and languages that will enrich the cultural history. I don’t want the Wales of 2011 to be the same as the Wales of 1811, but there’s no reason why I can’t be proud of both.

Camer-rant

“Put simply, we will never control immigration properly unless we tackle welfare dependency,”

Cameron is cynically playing on the insecurities of the disillusioned and uneducated by blaming Labour and the benefits culture for mass immigration. It’s using an acceptable scapegoat as blackmail for the people willing to swallow it. He’s saying ‘If you go back to work we’ll stop letting brown people in.’

“When there have been significant numbers of new people arriving in neighbourhoods, perhaps not able to speak the same language as those living there, on occasions not really wanting or even willing to integrate, that has created a kind of discomfort and disjointedness in some neighbourhoods. This has been the experience for many people in our country and I believe it is untruthful and unfair not to speak about it and address it.”

Where’s the proof for this? Integration is a two way street, the onus is on us to make people feel welcome. Is it a surprise that some minorities are afraid to interact with the wider community when groups of people are marching through our high streets in protest at aspects of their faith and culture? Is it surprising that people feel safer in communities that consist of their ‘own people’ when they face discrimination on a daily basis?

But, on this point, according to academics who have studied this subject, Cameron is wrong. Recently the University of Manchester sent me a news release about some research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council which found that deprivation, not multiculturalism, was the root cause of fragmented communities. The research team was headed by Dr Laia Bécares and this is what she had to say:

Politicians seem to link racial tensions to the perception that ethnic minority people and newly arrived migrants are not integrated into their host culture. But our findings show it is not neighbourhood ethnic profile but neighbourhood deprivation which erodes social cohesion in England.

The paper, called Composition, Concentration and Deprivation: Exploring their Association with Social Cohesion among Different Ethnic Groups in the UK, has been published in the journal, Urban Studies. Unfortunately it’s only available to subscribers. But here’s an extract.

Our findings show that it is not neighbourhood ethnic profile, but neighbourhood deprivation, which erodes social cohesion for ethnic minority and White British people in the UK. The fact that it is deprivation, and not ethnic heterogeneity, which causes social ills in the UK has been reported before, although previous studies have not examined whether this varied by ethnic group … Regardless, by exploring how the association between neighbourhood ethnic profile and social cohesion changes once area deprivation is adjusted for, and by assessing the contribution of area-level socioeconomic characteristics to social cohesion among different ethnic groups, the present study argues that increased residential heterogeneity does not erode social cohesion in the UK …

High levels of area deprivation have been stated to generate feelings of powerless, threat and alienation among neighbourhood residents, leading, in turn, to low levels of neighbourhood attachment and participation. Prior to engaging in building social cohesion, ethnic minority people living in deprived neighbourhoods are often more concerned about access to jobs, housing and public services. Efforts to promote social cohesion in the UK through integration and communitarism have been criticised because they fail to recognise the importance of the wider social and economic inequalities they produce and have been blamed to direct attention away from the institutional structures and practices of racism that have created existent health and socioeconomic inequalities in the first place. Existent sociopolitical schemes, thus, should not overlook the findings that highlight the importance of area deprivation on the erosion of social cohesion, given that initiatives that seek to enhance social cohesion while ignoring the structural factors that are responsible for material deprivation are unlikely to have a major impact.

Cameron wants to restrict non-EU migrants to highly skilled, well educated individuals, rich students who will only be allowed to stay if they find highly skilled graduate jobs and talented entrepreneurs. These are good immigrants. A coincidence that they fit the demographic that is more likely to vote Conservative? Isn’t this a cynical attempt at social engineering that they constantly tell us Labour are guilty of?

This is the second public speech made by Cameron this year that panders to the right-wing, with anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, anti-multiculturalism sentiments that closely resemble the rhetoric we hear from the BNP, UKIP and the EDL. This is a worrying trend that isn’t confined to the UK. In France we have seen Sarkozy attempt to restore his ailing popularity by trying to be more of a bigot than his rival Marine Le Pen. Across the Atlantic we have seen Donald Trump throw his hat into the Presidential candidates ring while jumping on the overcrowded anti-Muslim bandwagon in the clumsiest possible fashion.

Cameron makes the bogus claim that not talking about immigration “created the space for extremist parties to flourish, as they could tell people who mainstream politicians weren’t listening to their concerns or doing anything about them”.

We heard this during last years electioneering. It was inaccurate then and it is now. As Sunder Katwala points out, the talk of stifling the debate on immigration is a complete myth.

This hoary old myth doesn’t get us very far. The idea that debate about immigration has been silenced and closed down in Britain is a pervasive myth.

But, as a matter of fact, it can be easily disproved if one goes and looks at what politicians said and did throughout the period, or reviewing the endless noisy public debates about immigration, and volumes of legislation on immigration (broadly in a restrictive direction) under almost every post-war government, whether Conservative or Labour. I published a Comment is Free post ‘The Enoch Myth in 2008, offering chapter and verse which proves beyond any reasonable doubt just how noisy these decades of supposed silenced debate always were. (Cameron, perhaps prey to the myth, says in his speech “I remember when immigration wasn’t a central political issue in our country – and I want that to be the case again”. I wonder if he could cite any five or ten year post-war period which he has in mind when he claims that?).

It is interesting to reflect on the drivers of the sense of political disconnection which means that this is widely believed, but that is a very different thing from the myth being true.

Cameron directly echoes Michael Howard’s election posters in 2005, which proved somewhat less effective than the Conservatives hoped at the time, and which had the rather odd aim of starting a debate about immigration which will not be distracted by allegations of racism by starting a debate about racism and being silenced, rather more than to start a frank and rational public debate about immigration itself.

It was rather odd to claim that the other major party was treating all discussion of immigration as verboten – because I clearly recall that Labour had election posters in 2005 which proclaimed in bold, primary colours “Your Country’s Border’s Safe”, and it would be rewrite history rather spectacularly to claim that Labour home secretaries such as Jack Straw or David Blunkett did not speak about immigration. (Despite this, the claim has often been implicit in Labour’s post-election debates, which sometimes strike me as taking place as if we all had the memories of goldfish, leading to proposals to ‘break’ with the party’s recent approach and move on by saying all of the same things again, so as to also sound ‘tough’).

Immigration was also the only subject raised in all three of the televised election debates. The claim that extremists have flourished doesn’t quite explain how the BNP lost support and the Lib Dems ended up in a coalition government either.

The same David Cameron who today states: Our country has benefitted immeasurably from immigration. Go into any hospital and you’ll find people from Uganda, India and Pakistan who are caring for our sick and vulnerable. Go into schools and universities and you’ll find teachers from all over the world, inspiring our young people. Go to almost any high street in the country and you’ll find entrepreneurs from overseas who are not just adding to the local economy but playing a part in local life. Charities, financial services, fashion, food, music – all these sectors are what they are because of immigration. So yes, immigrants make a huge contribution to Britain. We recognise that – and we welcome it.

Is the same David Cameron who made a speech in February declaring that multiculturalism had failed. Which is it Dave?

Unity Through Music

Just an excuse to post some quality music really. But it wouldn’t be me without a predictable pro-unity slant!

Brother Ali – Muslim

Ill Bill – Jewish & Vinnie Paz – Muslim

MC Paul Barman – Jewish

Mos Def – Muslim

Reverend Run – Christian

David Yaxley-Griffin

Half listening to Radio 5live on Saturday, while going about my business, in a haze of sleep deprivation, and the first 6 Nations hangover of the year. I caught the tail end of David Cameron’s speech in Munich. To my surprise he seemed to be making refreshingly balanced and even complimentary statements about Muslims and Islam. As I was going to be spending the majority of the afternoon keeping tabs on the EDL demo taking part in Luton that day, it gave my spirits a little boost.

A little while later, a news item on the PM’s speech reported him as having claimed that multiculturalism had failed, while also making criminally inaccurate and ignorant comments regarding what seemed to be the British Muslim community in isolation. I checked my Twitter feed as soon as I could, and the more I read, the more stunned and dismayed I became. It was as if he, and his writers, had used Daily Express back issues and BNP propaganda as research material. As a result he inadvertently gave a speech that, while not going as far as endorsing the EDL, legitimized their cause and their reasoning. The timing couldn’t have been worse. It was a kick in the teeth to every person working hard to combat the bigotry of the EDL, and an insult to the Muslim communities of the UK.

How could the Prime Minister of one of the most tolerant and compassionate countries in the World (in my opinion), get it so spectacularly wrong? He would surely have access to information that documents the work done within the Muslim community to counter extremism? Is he genuinely ignorant to the complex and varied reasons why segregation and division occur? In a way I hope he is. Because if his speech is an indication of what will be put into practice as part of the Governments anti-terrorism strategy, he will only alienate the very people best positioned to co-operate. If he is oblivious to this, at least there’s a possibility of him revising his position. But if this is actually another ideological policy, hidden behind disingenuous misinformation, designed to cut public funding, it worries me even more.

This thinly veiled attempt at justifying withdrawal of funds for Muslim organisations, andstirring of Nationalist pride will act as a rubber stamp for the EDL. Stephen Lennon has already welcomed Cameron’s words, and accepted them as approval for the EDL stance. Whilst Nick Griffin has also claimed that they echo the BNP’s sentiments. You’d think that this would be cause for concern for the Coalition, but instead they’ve issued an unapologetic defence of the speech. There will undoubtedly be numerous blogs and articles that will dissect Cameron’s words, policies and hypocrisy far more articulately and knowledgeably than myself, so I’ll leave that to them. What I will address though, is the concept of multiculturalism. What does he actually mean by ‘state multiculturalism’, and what does multiculturalism mean to me?

I’m assuming that when he’s talking of ‘state multiculturalism’, he’s referring to the popular right-wing cliché that New Labours immigration policy was an attempt at social engineering, whereby immigrants would keep them in power in a display of eternal gratitude, whilst also encouraging a dilution of British ‘identity’ and ‘values’ so precious to the Tories. This has been reported as fact, denied, and debated over and over, so I’ll leave it at that. It seems to me that when Cameron talks of this supposed doctrine, he’s referring to the acceptance and tolerance of diversity. But doesn’t see it as being compassionate, and aiding in a transitional process. His view is that it’s divisive and detrimental to society. This is what he said in February 2008.

“State multiculturalism is a wrong-headed doctrine that has had disastrous results. It has fostered difference between communities,”

“And it has stopped us from strengthening our collective identity. Indeed, it has deliberately weakened it.”

Cameron defined “state multiculturalism” as “the idea that we should respect different cultures within Britain to the point of allowing them – indeed encouraging them – to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream.”

it meant “not just essential information, but all information, endlessly translated into numerous languages, to cater for numerous people, who can then continue to go about their daily lives without ever having to learn English.

“Multiculturalism was manipulated to entrench the right to difference – which is a divisive concept. What we need is the right to equal treatment despite difference.”

On Sharia law:

If Williams meant that different communities should have different laws, then that would be “dangerous and illiberal”, the Tory leader said.

The introduction of sharia law for Muslims would be “the logical endpoint of the now discredited doctrine of state multiculturalism”, he said.

He went on: “It would alienate other communities who would resent this preferential treatment. It would provide succour to the separatists who want to isolate and divide communities from the mainstream.

“And it would – crucially – weaken, destabilise and demoralise those Muslims who embrace liberal values and desperately want to integrate fully in British society.”

Cameron said that “state multiculturalism” led to people accepting different cultural behaviour, even if it contravened human rights.

This not only shows his ignorance of Sharia law and its role, but is full of contradictions and huge assumptions. He seems to be inferring that segregation in our towns and cities is based on race and religion, without factoring in economic and social issues. It appears he’s putting the onus on the minority to integrate with the ‘mainstream’, but doesn’t seem to be aware of, or sympathetic to any challenges or obstacles they may face.

Is he actually proposing assimilation rather than integration? Does he expect immigrants, and children or grandchildren of immigrants to abandon all trace of their cultural heritage and identity? What exactly is he suggesting?

Something that really confuses and annoys me is the idea of a British culture, with British values and British identity. Am I alone in wondering what on earth this concept looks or feels like? I mean, I accept that there are character and personality traits that what the BNP would call indigenous British people have in common. The stereotypical stiff upper lip, don’t cause a scene, carry on regardless attitude. The inability to express emotion overtly. The permanently apologetic, awkward person. But even this is a rather outdated and romantic cliché, which fails to acknowledge individual differences.

Are my culture, values and identity identical to those of every other British person? Of course not. How could a married father of two, living in a predominantly white, but ethnically mixed, working class suburb of Cardiff have anything in common with a single, Oxbridge educated man, living in Chelsea? My lifestyle and experiences are worlds apart from many people living on my street. All I could reliably guess I share common ground with most male neighbours on are an interest in football and possibly similar musical tastes. Does a farmer in rural Scotland have an identical culture to an unemployed single mother living on a council estate high-rise in inner city London? Then how can an immigrant adopt a certain culture and a set of values that are supposedly uniquely British, when the ‘indigenous’ British people already have varying cultures, identities, values and moral codes? That’s before you start taking into account British Italians, Greeks, Jamaicans etc that have been part of our society for generations. Is there something I’m missing? Is my definition of culture different to David Cameron’s?  Here’s the Wikipedia definition.

  • An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
  • The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group

The word multicultural suggests that there are several sets of the above criteria in existence in Britain. But how can that be as a result of race, nationality, faith or ethnicity, when people of the same race will naturally have different goals, attitudes, values, behaviours and practices already? What if we narrow down and simplify the criteria to positive values that the majority of us have in common, and the rights we hold dear? Regard for the law, free speech, democracy, tolerance and equality? That’s enough to be getting along with. Is Cameron suggesting that immigrants and Muslims already living here don’t share these values? Is he implying that all ‘indigenous’ Britons do exhibit these values? To suggest either is not only inaccurate, but extremely insulting. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt on this one for now. Let’s assume that what he means by multiculturalism is, a variety of people from different ethnic backgrounds, maintaining their cultural identity, within a society that accepts their difference. As Wikipedia puts it:

The appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g. schools, businesses, neighbourhoods, cities or nations. In this sense multiculturalism approximates to respect for diversity.

The term may also describe people who have more than one culture in them (people who grew up with more than one cultural identity, also sometimes called bicultural).

If he’s claiming that this concept has failed in Britain, he must also accept that there cannot be true multiculturalism without the acceptance and respect of the host nation’s population. If that’s the case, Britain has failed multiculturalism. I don’t buy that for one second. Britain has welcomed immigrants from former colonies and beyond for decades, and they have played their part in transforming this country into a diverse and vibrant society, that has produced unique cultural phenomena. Multiculturalism in Britain has given us 2 Tone, Drum n Bass, Grime, Dubstep, M.I.A, Balti and Chicken Tikka Masala, as a direct result of the melting pot of cultures, styles and tastes.

No ones claiming Britain to be a utopian cross between a Benetton advert and The Truman Show. There are tensions, and some may indeed manifest themselves along ethnic or racial lines. There may well be issues within certain communities that are particular to a certain faith or nationality. But to present these issues with inaccurate information, and use them to justify unnecessary criticism of the Muslim community, and quite possibly introduce policies that target them unfairly, is disgraceful. Would assimilation eradicate social problems? No. The people who have issues with cultures and customs they see as alien to our society, would simply find another reason to discriminate, be it colour, religion, nationality or anything else that sets people apart from the ‘indigenous’.

In a poll conducted for the BBC in 2009, people were asked to agree or disagree with the statement “Our laws should respect and be influenced by UK religious values”. The proportion of Muslims who agreed (79 per cent) was higher than for Christians themselves (70 per cent). In a survey by the Centre for Social Cohesion, and ironically used selectively by the Daily Mail to portray British Muslims as condoning killing in the name of Islam, found that 89% of those surveyed said women should be treated equally, with only 5% disagreeing, only 25% had an issue with homosexuality, nearly 80% said it was possibly to be equally Muslim and British, 92% had a range of friends across cultural boundaries, and nearly 80% had respect for Jews (with only 7% expressing disrespect), while a similar number respected Atheists. More than 70% said they were more liberal than their parents. Is this an indication that as Cameron states;

“We have failed to provide a vision of society [to young Muslims] to which they feel they want to belong,” and “We have even tolerated segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values. All this leaves some young Muslims feeling rootless. And the search for something to belong to and believe in can lead them to extremist ideology.”?

It wouldn’t appear so. Is he really this out of touch and badly informed? Or is it the start of something altogether more sinister?

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