In the week that the British government finally released its Integration report The Muslim Council of Britain has published its own special report showcasing diverse voices on integration in the UK. That the British government urged on by right wing neoconservatives has been rolling out a socio political engineering programme of assimilation is no secret anymore. The failure of the British Muslim community to effectively push back against or even address this discriminatory policy is shocking.
Hannah Smith of the Initiative for Muslim Community Development said the Governments report confirms “ the government is in fact after Muslim women who can’t speak English, Muslim home schoolers, imams who conduct nikahs, and non-compliants with British values and ‘culture’.”She also pointef to this governments abysmal record in dealing with the Muslim community’s disproportionately high levels of social deprivation poverty crime and mental health issues among many others. The government report fails to recognize root causes of this community’s problems yet again whilst focusing a raft of legislation effectively targeting all UK Muslims as a threat just to add to the existing pressure on them.
An official statement by the Islamic Human Rights Commission says”The announcement by the government that it is to launch a £50m fund to support integration and bring together “divided” communities is an act of dog-whistle politics and a distraction from the real everyday problems faced by ethnic minority communities.”
The government says that money will go towards English language classes, special programmes to help women into the workforce and plans to promote ‘British values’ in schools in a bid to improve “integration” between “divided communities”. IHRC views the collapsing of so-called British values with key life skills as another example of the government’s obsession with dragging what it sees as a conservative Muslim community down the path of liberalism. It is an act of social engineering no less and a nod to the rising clamour from a resurgent right and elements of the left for a further rolling back of multiculturalism.
They say that “we should not forget that the Fundamental British Values the government talks about are part of a wider securitisation discourse which posits the conservatism of Muslims as a reason for poor integration and by extension a potential threat to national security. In so much as they are based on racial and religious tropes the implementation of FBV’s will face the same resistance that they did when they were introduced on the back of the Prevent anti-terror programme.”
IHRC say “ what is abundantly clear from the research is that Muslims consistently feel a stronger sense of belonging to Britain than other groups. Citizenship surveys by the IHRC since 2004 have consistently shown that British Muslims cherish the same universal values as everyone else. IHRC’s British Muslims’ Expectations of Government research series show that an overwhelming majority of British Muslims respect the law and see little or no contradiction between being a good British citizen and being a practising Muslim, with many citing their faith as a reason for their loyalty.”
In a BBC survey in February 2016, 95% percent of Muslims stated they felt a loyalty to Britain and 93% agreed that Muslims should obey British laws. Yet nearly half of them (46%) felt that it was difficult being a Muslim in Britain because of prejudice against Islam.
IHRc argues that instead of pandering to bigots the government should start to address the exclusion caused by Islamophobia, discrimination and media demonisation, all of which have the effect of ‘otherising’ Muslims leading to higher rates of unemployment and causing some to withdraw to the relative sanctuary of their own close-knit communities.” This was evidently also the conclusion reached by a survey last year of Muslim integration in Europe. Based on interviews with 10,000 respondents in Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, the Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation in Germany found that none of these countries offer consistently good opportunities for participation, and Muslims encounter open rejection from about one fifth of the population.
MCB’s Assistant Secretary General said ” a core group of ideologues keen to unleash a phoney culture war that scapegoated Muslims and cast doubt on this country’s diversity. Once in office, Cameron declared that multiculturalism allowed people to lead separate lives, and therefore led to extremism.
Just before he left office, the former prime minister charged Dame Louise Casey with investigating the state of integration in our country. For those looking to attack Muslims and “failed multiculturalism”, she did not fail to deliver. Casey put a “moral onus on ethnic minorities for the supposed failures of integration”, proclaimed integration was “not a two-way street” and publicly used her platform to wrongly conflate criminal acts with sharia law. This all builds up a dangerous narrative in the public mind.”
Miqdaad Versi further added “that the government’s green paper on integration appears to have understood why the Casey Review was the wrong approach. Yes, there are some factual errors, a lack of sufficient funding for the work, a prioritisation that does not align to the need in our society – according to the equalities thinktank the Runnymede Trust – and a disproportionate focus on Pakistani and Bangladeshi, as well as Muslim, communities.
Hannah Smith, Co-Founder of fledging Think Tank: IMCD, reflected said “ we Muslims could have these Islamophobes in the establishment for breakfast if only Muslims had more confidence in their holistic humanitarian offer – the secular atheist liberal fascists have more regard for it than we do hence the onslaught continues to put us on a reactionary footing. This has to change with greater investment in research to create a proactive Muslim narrative in Britain.”