Byline: Manzoor Moghal
BISHOP Michael Nazir-Ali's warning that Islamic extremism is creating'no-go' areas in parts of Britain has provoked a predictable barrage ofoutrage.
He has been condemned for making 'inflammatory' remarks, distorting the truthabout our inner cities and 'scaremongering' against the Muslim population.
But, paradoxically, this reaction from the politically-correct establishment isan indicator of the weight of his case. If our ruling elite were not so worriedthat his views would strike a chord with the public, it would not have been soanxious to condemn him. .
anxious to condemn him.
His statement about the dangers of the rise of radical Islam matches thereality of what people see in our cities and towns, where the influence ofhardliners is undermining harmony and promoting segregation.
As a Muslim community representative myself, I have often been concerned in thepast about some of the comments of Bishop Nazir- Ali, who has built areputation as one of the Anglican Church's few outspoken critics of Islam.
Yet in this case, I feel he is correct in highlighting the problem of culturalapartheid that is developing in some of our urban areas. It is not good enoughjust to dismiss his opinions and hope that the whole issue will go away, forthe failure to achieve real integration in our society is far too serious anissue to be ignored.
As he says, a key element of this failure is the sense of separatism that nowgrips too many Muslim communities. However much his critics may sneer at hisaccusations, the fact is that the determi- nation of some of my fellow Muslimsto cling to certain lifestyles, customs, languages and practices has helped tocreate neighbourhoods where non-Muslims may feel uncomfortable, evenintimidated.
Such anxieties can only be reinforced by the dominant influence of the mosques,which are often in the hands of fundamentalists and thereby promote a consciousrejection of Western values. SO pervasive is this radicalism that in somemosques worshippers feel uncomfortable if they enter wearing a suit rather thanthe more traditional Islamic dress.
As the bishop says, this can only be a recipe for more social exclusion.
Anyone who lives in British society should be grateful for the freedom andtolerance they enjoy.
They should not seek to exploit this by demanding the universal acceptance offundamentalism in their own neighbourhoods.
The heavy Islamic influence in parts of Britain amounts to a severe indictmentof the dogma of multi-culturalism, which held sway in our public institutionssince the early eighties. Instead of promoting a sense of mutual belonging andshared understanding, this doctrine has sown the seeds of division andsuspicion by discouraging allegiance to a unified British identity.
Instead, people from ethnic minorities and non-Christian faiths were urged tocling to their own cultures. The differences between creeds and races were tobe celebrated rather than bridged. …