The events in France condemned by everybody within these isles and beyond has not stopped the collusion by the Communities Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon and Eric Pickles the Communities Secretary to do more to tackle extremism within the Muslim population of the UK…writes YZ Patel
In election year, the inevitable rise of PEGIDA the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West and far right groupings of similar ilk across Europe and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) here, has meant to curry favour with voters of this persuasion it is a necessary evil for the mainstream parties to continually engage with the immigrant fraternity and be seen to be doing something about them.
The events in France condemned by everybody within these isles and beyond has not stopped the collusion by the Communities Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon and Eric Pickles the Communities Secretary to do more to tackle extremism within the Muslim population of the United Kingdom.
What more that has not already been done or identified is the question most are asking with regards to this latest rallying cry. The values of Britain and Islam are the exact same is the rhetoric. There is no contradiction in being a Muslim and British it says.
Prime Minister David Cameron has also waded into the argument and given his two shilling worth calling it “reasonable, sensible and moderate” the same when he talks about immigration or anything else.
This action like others in the past has fiercely dichotomised the thousand Muslim leaders it was sent to. Some concurring, others like the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) intensely demonstrating their disdain on the sentiments of it.
The MCB deputy secretary-general Harun Khan said: “We will be writing to Mr Eric Pickles to ask that he clarifies his request to Muslims to ‘explain and demonstrate how faith in Islam can be part of British identity’.
He continued attacking it by alledging it was comparing the Muslim community to those at the fringes of politics at the polar opposite.
“Is Mr Pickles seriously suggesting, as do members of the far right, that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from British society?”
This view was echoed my more moderate leaders Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said he was “dismayed” by the letter, which was “typical of the government only looking at Muslims through the prism of terrorism and security”. He continued stating “We do not need a patronising letter from ministers to tell us to campaign against terrorism, promote values and do more against extremism when all the evidence points to Muslims organisations doing just that,”
On the other side of the argument there are those that always take a constructive view from these repeated preaching to the converted deliberations that continuously come out.
The Quilliam Foundation think tank, expectedly were disappointed by the negative reaction of some Muslims. Stating “Whether we like it or not, there are some mosques, some imams who are preaching hate,”
The true voice of reason, was not from any of the stakeholders that the letter was aimed at but came surprisingly from Former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks who believed the letter was “well-intentioned” but he understood the frustrations of Muslim leaders at being held responsible for dealing with something out of their control.
“The truth is that Islamism, like all modern global political movements, is actually a global phenomenon – transmitted by the internet, transmitted by social media,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
And that is the main issue, no matter what any of the faith leaders do, the radicalisation of young Muslims is much more complex than draping the flag of St George or the Union Jack on their backs.
Faith leaders at grassroots level can only do so much and the constant thread to those taking up a cause célèbre is a lack of opportunity, employment and disaffection.
The resentment, some say victim culture others call it blame culture for their lack of progression in British life is more pertinent to why they engage in these ideologies. This is not dissimilar to what happened in France and these traits are clear in those that committed those atrocities.
Clear pathways, understanding, giving young people opportunity to be a valuable member of society regardless of their background, giving them self esteem and worth would go a lot further to eradicate extremism in both right wing Anglo-Saxon communities and also within the Muslim society. The indigenous always proclaim the opportunities are there for all born in Britain regardless of who they’re born to.
These young people are one hundred percent British born and raised in the UK and unless the often not talked about topic of segregation is not tackled and the integration of communities at all levels is not apparent none of these letters will do anything to alleviate the issues we see and will continue to see.
The lack of cohesion and understanding between communities and seeing people for people would do a lot more than writing to a thousand leaders who really have no teeth to solve the true problems at the heart of this and really do not have the real cognition to do what they’re asked.
They’re the real issues avoided and circumvented by those shouting the loudest. Everybody of every persuasion has a part to play in this.