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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Stereotyping Muslims


    by Sunny on 13th November, 2008 at 7:52 pm    

    Paul Dale of the Birmingham Post has an interesting anecdote:

    All young Muslims want to do, Dr Ally told a scrutiny committee, is “go to pubs and clubs, take a spliff here and there and enjoy themselves.”
    This, he said, was “young people behaving normally”.
    Is it? Is it normal behaviour for most Christians, let alone Muslims?
    How does Dr Ally know this to be the case?
    One can assume that he has, perhaps, witnessed Muslims enjoying the odd spliff. But surely there is no evidence to suggest that most Muslim teenagers and young men and women are regularly smoking weed, or indeed are regular visitors to the pub. It seems unlikely, given the non-tolerance of alcohol and drugs demanded by their faith.
    In his eagerness to defend 10 council projects to prevent terrorism, including spending £63,000 on lessons in “spiritual well-being” for Muslims, Dr Ally rather over-egged the pudding.
    He certainly has some front.

    He does indeed. I think this isn’t uncommon though - religious leaders frequently complain about sterotyping amongst the wider public, and in their private space will waste no time in condeming those people to hell.

    The main motivation here is the defence of the Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) fund that the Communities department doles out. Having been referred to many examples of money being wasted, turf wars breaking out or people franctically jostling to get a share of the pie, I’m increasingly of the view that the PVE fund is more trouble than it’s worth - and the benefits look negligible so far. The Communities dept have just published a paper with an update on the situation, and I want to go through that to see what they say.

    But more work needs to be done on this front - asking what the money is being spent on and whether it’s actually making a difference. In the meantime, exposing such silliness is right on the money.



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    38 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. MaidMarian — on 13th November, 2008 at 8:31 pm  

      It looks like the quote in the article is just clumsy.

      ‘All young Muslims want to do, Dr Ally told a scrutiny committee, is “go to pubs and clubs, take a spliff here and there and enjoy themselves.”’

      Remove the word, ‘muslims,’ and replace it with, ‘people of any religion,’ and I think the point becomes a bit clearer.

      Certainly this question about how effective, if at all, the funds being spent on preventing extremism are is an interesting point. The most interesting part of the Birmingham Echo quote is actually the bit about lessons in spiritual wellbeing - what on earth does that mean? More than that, is being well spiritually connected with extremism?

      Spending for the sake of it tends to become a cosmetic exercise - and, it would seem, an expensive one. It smacks of thinking at the level of, ’something must be done.’ That is where we get a lazy cycle of something must be done - this is something - therefore this must be done. Cobblers of course but that looks like where this preventing extremism debate has led to.

      I think what Dr Ally was really getting at was that this level of lazy thought is not adequate. If that is indeed what he meant, it is a fair comment.

    2. » Pickled Politics » Stereotyping Muslims — on 13th November, 2008 at 9:31 pm  

      [...] It seems unlikely, given the non-tolerance of alcohol and drugs demanded by their faith. In his eagerness to defend 10 council projects to prevent terrorism, including spending £63000 on lessons in “spiritual well-being” for Muslims, … More [...]

    3. Refresh — on 14th November, 2008 at 12:01 am  

      Not as exciting as I first thought. Quite honestly I wish no one applied for the funding - it only generates more ill-informed comment.

      Comments by skyhigh in that blog makes for interesting reading.

      I too am not surprised about the pubs, clubs and spliffs. Paul Dale may not be as connected with the real world as he likes to think. Religious guidance and what young people do can so easily be different.

      What we really need are details from Dr Ally. How about inviting him to do a guest post?

    4. platinum786 — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:19 am  

      O’m involved in activities which utilise the PVE, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Everyone hears the horror stories of crafty Paki’s trying to duge figures here and there, but on the whole you have a community of unsung hero’s young men and women working in their spare time, with no pay to help other young people get the opportunities they didn’t.

      We don’t sit there delivering anti Al Queda lectures and Making people chant the national anthem or something as some daily Rant readers would want us too, what we do is provide positive activities for young people to get involved in, homework clubs, careers advice, free tutoring, football leagues, sports activities, cooking lessons, even the odd day out. Recently some people from our group took a bunch ofyoung muslims to their first live football match, they watched Forest play…lol, not a big deal to many of you, but in the asian/muslim mindset the football crowd has always been full of violent drunk paki haters. A stereotype yes, but not one we’ve got over.

      On top of that we get young people to do voluntary work within their community, work to benefit both the Muslim and Non Muslim community, so they feel part of the community and part of Britain.

      It’s not all bad, don’t let a few bad apples, ruin a good thing.

      For those of you thinking, how does this provent violent extremism? If these kids are involved in positive activities, they’re not engaged with radicals and under the influence. Also if they feel party of a community and part of a country, they are less likely to resent/reject it. Furthermore, if they have career opportunities, they’re less likely to be on dole queues feeling sorry for them selves.

      On top of that once these kids are engaged with these positive influences, youth leaders, i call them, we can encourage them to get involved with Mosques, come into Islamic talks and classes and get them to understand the real Islam, not one some dodgy geezer on a street corner is going to tell them about. The PVE does not pay for religious activities, but it does pay for activities that get the young people involved with positive influences who can then re-introduce them to the Mosques and religious resources we have, which have always been rather remote and un accessible to young people.

      If they understand their faith, they feel part of a community, they have a fair chance at life, then they won’t be blowing themselves up on trains and buses.

    5. Sofia — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:45 am  

      part of the reason why money is being squandered in some areas is because local and national govn. have had stupid targets and found it difficult to use the ‘right’ people to do the job..probably because they never engaged with the various groups in the first place and then suddenly found they had all this money they had to spend..or show to be spending..it’s all about local authorities ticking a box to say look..we’re talking to the muslims now…but only as long as this money lasts…

    6. billy — on 14th November, 2008 at 12:25 pm  

      platinum786, reading that just depresses me. It makes muslims out to be like delinquent or juvenile or remedial children in school who need to be taught not to do something wrong.

      Can I ask you a question, a serious one? Do some Muslims feel like they are standing outside a house at which there is a party, looking in as everyone just gets on with life, and enjoys themselves? Why don’t they just ring the doorbell and come inside and join in? Why the self-exclusion? Racism only goes so far as an explanation. Hindus and Sikhs and Black people also face racism, but don’t require hundreds of millions of taxpayers money to tell them not to blow themselves up or go towards extremism, and join in with what is going down. I honestly believe that the core, the root of this is internal fear and a mindset of self-alienation.

    7. MaidMarian — on 14th November, 2008 at 12:28 pm  

      platinum786 (4) - ‘For those of you thinking, how does this provent violent extremism? If these kids are involved in positive activities, they’re not engaged with radicals and under the influence. Also if they feel party of a community and part of a country, they are less likely to resent/reject it. Furthermore, if they have career opportunities, they’re less likely to be on dole queues feeling sorry for them selves.’

      I gladly take the point you are making - it is a very good one. But the quote above…

      I am not altogether convinced that has to be specific to one or any religion.

    8. platinum786 — on 14th November, 2008 at 12:47 pm  

      ^^^ That’s entirely true. The religious factor behind religious extremism is the straw that breaks the camels back, it’s needs to be dealt with, but it’s hardly the sole factor.

      Again you can always argue that many people who became terrorists weren’t deprived etc, your right, but look at who the terrorists and now targetting. Look at a lot of the failed plots, how many of them turned out to be numpties.

      Challenging the ideology from a religious perspective is the duty of the Muslim community and something we have to do and should do, the fact it’s spread as it has, is a failing of our religious institutes and our family structure, which we cherish so much. But as a part of challenging that, we need to be able to tackle the other issues, which have been politicised, even things like involvement in local politics has been radicalised by extremists groups, declaring it Haram to vote etc. If we want our next generation to be British and not sympathetic to extremism, then we need to get them feeling British, by allowing them to have a real go of life in Britain.

      Some parts of the thinking and strategy applies equally as well to to Black gangs, chav’s etc.

    9. platinum786 — on 14th November, 2008 at 1:02 pm  

      Billy, foreign policy is the other part of the equation.

      Britain is not bombing Africa, or India, or the West Indies, nor is it backing states which are.

      Muslims as a whole feel loosely connected by religion. The fact foreign policy is aggressive towards Muslim nations, even the likes of Sudan and Pakistan, or Iran which poses no direct threat (just as Iraq posed no direct threat) makes us uncomfortable at government level as part of Britain and British society.

      Islamaphobia also does it’s part in creating a fear factor and isolation. A difference in key social activities has never helped matters with the fact that Muslims tend not to drink or socialise in places people are drunk (on the whole).

      Another factor is that we have the same causes as extremists claim to stand for. Extremists blow themselves up and claim to be fighting for the establishment of a Palestinian state, normal Muslims also support that cause, but not the means used by some people to achieve that. Our government works against that cause as far as we’re concerned, with it’s uniform support of Israel and the fact you wouldn’t talk to Hamas after they were democratically elected. You spoke to the iRA when it suited you.

    10. billy — on 14th November, 2008 at 1:12 pm  

      But platinum786, you’re still blaming the outside world for your self-alienation. As far as I can see this funding is going to be a source of long term trouble. How long will it be for? Decades? That will run into billions of pounds. When will it be subject to review or curtailing? When it is subject to review or curtailing, will it simply lead to even more ‘alienation’? As in, ‘they’ (ie: the ‘British taxpayer / oppressor of Muslims) are now taking away ‘our’ funding, that no other ethnic minority group in Britain receives, to stop us from blowing ‘them’ up, so they can only expect to be at further risk of being blown up.

      There is a dependancy culture arising here, a mindset of expectation of hand outs, and a degree of self-alienation that makes me feel that this problem will possibly be intractable for our lifetime.

    11. MaidMarian — on 14th November, 2008 at 1:24 pm  

      Platinum786 – With all respect, that argument doesn’t wash. Governments can not and should not decide foreign policies on the basis of whether or nor a group of home-grown religious extremists and fanatics will decide to take umbrage and attempt to kill hundreds on public transport or wherever. That would be like handing a veto over policy to extreme and violent people. Why should their opinions about Iraq, Israel or anything else carry more weight?

      Many people opposed the Iraq War (and many like me were and still are ambivalent) but very few of those opposed to conflict support, still less carry out, terrorist attacks. It is stretching the point to assert that the bombers were ‘forced’ or ‘compelled’ to commit acts of terror; they made a conscious choice to so - and to my mind they could very easily have chosen not to do so.

      Stark reality is that the root cause of Islamist terrorism is Islamist ideology. I would hope that those who would rather blame our society, government and alliances rather than terrorists find that uncomfortable. This is why the IRA is a bad illustration. What ever the history, the IRA were fundamentally secular nationalists pursuing a nationalist cause with nationalist argument. The troubles were not about religion in the way islamist terror is. Go and read Article 3 of the Republic of Ireland’s constitution before and after 1999 for a good lesson on the differences here.

      I think that billy’s earlier point was entirely valid. What sustains democracy and society is civil society. That civil society should be inclusive and (to use a hideous word) diverse. That however does not mean that civil society should bend the collective knee to every demand made by muslims. Dive in to society or stop griping about faux exclusion. There is no inherent conflict between integration and diversity and I some community leaders should go and dwell on that thought.

    12. Sofia — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:05 pm  

      Maidmarian…I don’t think that foreign policy should be formed on the “basis of whether or nor a group of home-grown religious extremists and fanatics will decide to take umbrage”…however, isn’t this what happened to an extent,in northern ireland? No deals with terrorists went out the window.
      I’m not saying terrorism is justified..or that terrorists will find other grievances to use as an excuse, but our foreign ‘policy’ really needs some sort of public accountability.

    13. Sofia — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:06 pm  

      and just because it’s nationalist as opposed to religious doesn’t make it, in my opinion any better

    14. platinum786 — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:06 pm  

      Billy first of all, regarding the funding, nobody expects it to last forever, most projects work towards being self sustainable. However if nationwide community wide, if the government was putting money into deprived communities, Muslim or not, it’s hardly a bad thing.

      Secondly MaidMarian, I’m not expecting anyone to change the foreign policy because of what terrorists did, but rather what voters think is right for our national interests. Muslims are british too, Muslims are voters too, we’re allowed to raise our voice towards policies that suit us. Just because terrorists have the same ideas about foreign policy as us, why should our voices be ignored? Baby, bathwater?

      I’m not PVE will not stop terrorist plots being hatched right now, that’s the job of the police and MI5. PVE will stop this problem spreading into the next generation of young teenage Muslims.

    15. bananabrain — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:17 pm  

      in fact, one of the things people should be looking about for this is interfaith dialogue. not doing dialogue is like not vaccinating people against measles. if you want to know how, i set it out in the thread about “islam on campus” the other day, at the very bottom (#55):

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/2449#comments

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    16. billy — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:20 pm  

      if the government was putting money into deprived communities, Muslim or not, it’s hardly a bad thing.

      But this isn’t being put into ‘deprived communities’. It’s being put into a specific group of people, simply because they are of a certain religion. This has nothing to do with social deprivation. This is a form of religiously targetted funding, that no other ethnic minority group receives.

      platinum, don’t you feel concerned that what is being born here is a sense of dependancy, a sense of entitlement of a mentality of welfare dependancy? Why can other religious minorities and ethnic minorities get by without this kind of state subsidy to do what they should be doing anyway? Funding for social deprivation should not be tied to religion. People of all ethnicities and religions face issues of social deprivation.

      And you say that the groups are supposed to become self sustaining. How are they going to do that? Do you think that hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers money, possibly if this carries on for a decade or more, a billion pounds of taxpayers money, essentially being spent to persuade people to do what they should have common sense to do anyway, ie: not kill innocent people, and to integrate into society, and to dive into society, and join in with everyone else.

      And yet, and yet, and yet…..you still take issue with the very people who fund you with hard earned tax pounds, to take heed that the integration and alienation of Muslims is contingent on issues like Palestine and Kashmir and X and y and Z. It’s never ending. It’s self sustaining. It’s self justifying. And it’s self alienation that we are witnessing here.

    17. MaidMarian — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:22 pm  

      platinum786 - ‘I’m not expecting anyone to change the foreign policy because of what terrorists did, but rather what voters think is right for our national interests.’

      Sorry, I’m not sure what you are getting at here. The Labour Party won general elections before and after Iraq. It sounds to me rather like your quarrel is with the voters? Government (as distinct from politics) is not a popularity contest and should not be done by opinion poll.

      Yes, Muslims are more than free to raise their voice, as is any other group in society, but that is not the same thing as always and everywhere having that voice indulged. Just because any number of other sections of society feel under indulged by government does not make terror somehow more ‘understandable.’ I for one would not ‘understand’ say a BNP campaign to firebomb mosques because the BNP membership felt its raised voice had not been sufficiently indulged by government, or society for that matter.

      Sonia - there are accoubtability moments, they’re called elections. There is no guarantee you will like the outcome - nor should there be. Elections are something incidentally not available to many publics around the world.

      And as for Islamic terror in particular as opposed to Ireland/nationalist terror, I’m sorry but I just can’t agree. The fanatics are somehow not suddenly accept yours or my world view. They demand submission to a code of belief with nothing else possible. It’s all about religion. At least in Ireland the two sides broadly subscribed to world views that were akin.

    18. Sofia — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:25 pm  

      It’s Sofia:)
      Yes i know we have elections..but foreign policy seems to stand above and beyond domestic policies.

    19. Sofia — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:27 pm  

      I don’t actually agree with this money being spent specifically for pve…i think it’s twaddle. Having said that, I think integration goes all ways, not one..i.e it’s not just up to me to integrate..it’s up to others to meet half way…why is it, that many white ppl move out of an area where there are large numbers of asians? what happens to integration here?

    20. billy — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:31 pm  

      Sofia, British society defends the rights of Muslims to practise their religion freely. White British society does meet you half way. White British society will defend you against white racists and racism in the courts, in parliament, and in the street.

    21. MaidMarian — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:40 pm  

      Sofia (18) - Sorry, are you seriously telling me that foreign policy in general and Iraq in particular were not hot issues at the last general election and most elections since?

      Sofia (19) - I’m not altogether sure what white flight has to do with anything here. Take the Glasgow bombers - they were doctors. Employed, salaried (probably) respected community figures. We are not talking about the fringes of society here. And, no, it is entirely up to you to integrate. Billy’s earlier comment is about right on this point. There is a great big civil society out there, ‘outsiders’ can dive right in for me. I see no reason why those who exclude themself should have any flights of fancy indulged. It would be nice to have more of what used to be called community spirit, sure. But the ones is on individuals to dive in. I shed no tears for those who make no effort.

    22. soru — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:40 pm  

      Noone ever became a suicide bomber because they thought, on the whole, lack of UN authorisation and over-extension in Afghanistan made the overthrow of Saddam unwise. It takes an extreme narrative to cause extreme actions.

      ‘Britain is not bombing Africa, or India, or the West Indies, nor is it backing states which are. ‘

      If you piece together isolated details of the 2001 intervention in Sierra Leone, aid to Malawi, Kenya and Nigeria, attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea, speeches by Mugabe, you could easily make a perfectly plausible-sounding case that it was, that Britain hated black people and was plotting to re-enslave them.

      Nobody that I know of is particularly pushing that line here, but if a group decided to do so, there is no obvious reason why they wouldn’t succeed. Facts don’t have a veto on small-group beliefs.

      If you were Katie Holmes’ mum and wanted her to dump Tom Cruise, you wouldn’t get anywhere by quoting facts about clam biology.

    23. billy — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:53 pm  

      And, no, it is entirely up to you to integrate.

      I don’t agree with that totally, MaidMarian. I do think that we had to change from where we were in the 1980’s, when racist language and discourse was widespread and unchallenged, when the police regularly humiliated and were racist to black men on the streets. I do think we need to make sure we don’t regress from where we are now back to that point, and it’s not unreasonable that we make accomodation for most religious practise, that we don’t deny people equality of opportunity. We have to be aware that racism does still exist in differing forms, and that there are genuine moments of marginalisation and discrimination.

      The irony MaidMarian is that we are talking as if there is a static situation here. ‘We’ is really ‘Us’. There is a large, growing and integrated Asian and Black middle class. People are diving in, including many Muslims. Integration is a reality. It’s just that some people are frightened of that.

      As you said earlier, every single person should know that there is absolutely no inherent contradiction between full integration into British society and plurality. Any activist who doesn’t advocate for that is part of the problem.

      That is the message that should be being hammered home to two audiences.

      (1) to those bigots in society who say that you can’t be British and black/muslim/jewish/hindu/sikh/whatever.

      (2) to all those individuals who are nominally part of minority groups who are fearful of integration and full participation in society.

      The message needs to be strong and consistent and come from all levels. If there is to be a guiding light to any government policy of these things, this should be it.

    24. platinum786 — on 14th November, 2008 at 2:59 pm  

      MaidMarian, you keep referring to terrorists, nobody is opening up youth centres for terrorists, it’s for the people they’re trying to get involved.

      You guys time after time ignore the fact that we have issues with foreign policy that need to change, which provide fuel for terrorist fire. It doesn’t give them a right to do what they do, but it does provide some common ground between them and normal people.

      The difference between the common ground between a Muslim, a Christian and an Al Queda member is that the Al Queda member can’t manipulate Christianity and the Christians faith, mix it with their similar views on foreign policy and create a terrorist sympathiser. He can with a Muslim, potentially do that.

      PVE or any funding for that matter, can help reduce the chances of young teenage muslims, when they are impressionable, being influenced by extremists.

    25. Sid — on 14th November, 2008 at 3:00 pm  

      #23 excellent points, billy.

    26. MaidMarian — on 14th November, 2008 at 3:00 pm  

      billy (23) - I think we more or less agree on the issues here.

      There is no inherent tension between integration and plurality - that message can not be repeated often enough.

      On one level, part of the problem here is that integration in general and islam in particular is massively overexposed. There is an awful lot of good work and good integration going on and the media spotlight does not help. It goes back to the article. Any media coverage almost equates to a guilty verdict in the court of public opinion - it has to stop. Things like the Birmingham Post story are just unhelpful, not least because it is a total non-story.

      For what it’s worth, I think that your messages are exactly the right ones.

      platinum786 - Yes, it think it is legitimate to talk about terror in a discussion thread about preventing violent extremism. Those last two words being civil service euphemism for terrorism. It is odd that in your third paragraph there is no mention of non-believers.

      At ist most basic, I don’t really want common ground between myself amd mass murderers thanks all the same.

    27. Ala — on 14th November, 2008 at 3:10 pm  

      Dr Ally appears to be of the school of thought of ‘fight extremism with religion’ based on the assumption that it is the young non-religious Muslims who are prone to radicalisation. Of course he is only basing this on anecdotal evidence, and based on my own anecdotal evidence, I can concur. He would have to stereotype if his funds don’t stretch to cover social research. If they do then shame on the dept. of communities for this oversight.

    28. Sofia — on 14th November, 2008 at 3:42 pm  

      “And, no, it is entirely up to you to integrate”. No it isn’t…it’s about meeting half way. When someone comes to a country they expect the local community to welcome them and to help them learn about the indigenous cultures as well as take the effort to learn about theirs. This was a comment about integration specifically…this is why i spoke about white ppl moving out of certain areas..or should i mention ludicrous examples such as bbc reporters saying they only wanted a English (read white) taxi driver for her 14 year old daughter…
      If you want to say it’s up to muslims to integrate, yes we should, but there should be discussion about this supposed integration..not assimilation.
      Billy, I agree with your point on integration but did not understand why you went on about defending muslim rights as I didn’t mention this, i spoke about everyone making an effort and not always placing the onus on one community and ignoring the very many challenges they face at both an internal and external level.
      Maid marian you seem to ignore that many muslims do want to ‘dive in’. i work in a diverse workforce, yet no one in my office wished me a happy eid…and i work in london…supposedly multicultural…yet i wish my colleagues a happy christmas..so who’s making the effort? yet if i choose not to go to a christmas party, will that mean i’m not integrating? it’s not a black and white issue, nor is there a one fits all approach…integration is about diversity, plurality and acceptance.

    29. fugstar — on 14th November, 2008 at 3:53 pm  

      ^^ i think thats more about time, skillfull social interaction and producing eid as everyones celebration. in places like south africa, you can ask the non muslims where there is a mosque and theyll even tell you what prayer is due.

    30. Sunny — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:00 pm  

      Governments can not and should not decide foreign policies on the basis of whether or nor a group of home-grown religious extremists and fanatics will decide to take umbrage and attempt to kill hundreds on public transport or wherever. That would be like handing a veto over policy to extreme and violent people. Why should their opinions about Iraq, Israel or anything else carry more weight?

      Sure sure, but we’ve had a long tradition of people from specific parts of the world getting involved in foreign policy when it affects them.

      British Sikhs here got intensely annoyed and lobbied the govt when the Indian govt invaded the Golden Temple in 1984. Many British Jews have always had an interest in what’s going on in Israel. We have parliamentary groups for various countries precisely for that reason.

      And lastly the Vatican has never really stopped pushing its oar into our affairs. So British Muslims are hardly alone in trying to influence British foreign policy, are they?

    31. billy — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:15 pm  

      Billy, I agree with your point on integration but did not understand why you went on about defending muslim rights as I didn’t mention this, i spoke about everyone making an effort and not always placing the onus on one community and ignoring the very many challenges they face at both an internal and external level.

      I wasn’t talking about the rights of Muslims. I was illustrating to you that British society, and white people in Britain, do meet ethnic minorities half way to integrate. The fact that there are so many mixed marriages, that there is such a large and integrated Indian community, that there are Jewish, Chinese, every single group in society, including Muslims, on a continuum of integration under a framework and society that has adjusted to the needs and sympathies of a plural population, because white people lobbied for that, white people in the media, in the legal profession, in politics, in trade unions, as evidence that white people in Britain, despite racism, ARE meeting black and asian and yes, Muslims, half way. The hand of friendship is extended to you. You just have to grasp it and stop making excuses.

    32. billy — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:21 pm  

      And lastly the Vatican has never really stopped pushing its oar into our affairs. So British Muslims are hardly alone in trying to influence British foreign policy, are they?

      MaidMarian’s point was “Governments can not and should not decide foreign policies on the basis of whether or nor a group of home-grown religious extremists and fanatics will decide to take umbrage and attempt to kill hundreds on public transport or wherever”.

      He didn’t say anything about people lobbying peacefully. It isn’t an accurate comparison.

    33. Sofia — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:23 pm  

      Billy I think that is a simplistic way of putting it…there are plenty of white ppl who extend their hand of friendship and i’m not denying this…all i’m saying is that when integration is mentioned, it is always mentioned in relation to ethnic minorities…also, integration is not just about race/religion but about other social issues.
      “You just have to grasp it and stop making excuses” I’m trying not to vomit…

    34. billy — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:27 pm  

      work in a diverse workforce, yet no one in my office wished me a happy eid…and i work in london…supposedly multicultural…yet i wish my colleagues a happy christmas..so who’s making the effort?

      You feel affronted because of that? Really, that is relatively trivial Sofia. There is no obligation for people to know everything about Islam, or whatever religion people follow, if they don’t want to. Good for them if they do. But it is not a signifier of prejudice if they don’t. Most people wouldn’t know when Yom Kippur of Hannukah is, let alone wish their Jewish work colleagues felicitations on the day, beyond a simple ‘Have fun’, yet I have never heard a Jewish person describe that as a sign of nascent marginalisation or disrespect.

    35. billy — on 14th November, 2008 at 4:30 pm  

      Billy I think that is a simplistic way of putting it

      It really isn’t. It’s actually a very profound point that you just don’t wish to acknowledge.

      “You just have to grasp it and stop making excuses” I’m trying not to vomit…

      Why does an extended hand of friendship make you want to vomit?

    36. MaidMarian — on 14th November, 2008 at 8:34 pm  

      Sunny (30) - ‘And lastly the Vatican has never really stopped pushing its oar into our affairs. So British Muslims are hardly alone in trying to influence British foreign policy, are they?’

      I’m not for a moment saying that they are. All I’m getting at is that the fact that certain elements of the Muslim community, it would seem, feel that suicide bombing is legitimate (or worse, a response to a ‘legitimate grievance,’ with all the denial that implies) does not make their voice first amongst equals. ‘Trying to influence,’ is not the same thing as a God-given right to dictate policy. Nor should it be. To be honest Sunny, this comparison with the Vatican is skating a bit close to unthinking moral equivalence.

      Sofia (33) - What is it makes you think that this is per se a racial issue? There are any number of white people, atheists etc who I would not want to spit on if they were on fire. I work with about a dozen of them. The point is that we all need to rub along together and make the best fist of it we can. Yes, I look to communities (or more specifically, sections of communities) to realise that civil society is not obliged to bend its knee to every whim. Society is open and I very much agree with billy (31). A great many are rubbing along together more than happily - mixed marriages are a great illustration.

      I’m sorry, but what you are doing Sofia is making excuses on behalf of those who exclude them self. I certainly will not sit here and effectively be told that our society had it all coming because of Iraq.

      I have no intention of indulging the more fanciful demands of many ‘communities’ (regardless of religion) in some faux sense of integration. I take people as I find them. And that is rather more than can be said of how I have been treated by any number of religious people over the years.

    37. MaidMarian — on 14th November, 2008 at 8:48 pm  

      Platinum786 and others - Actually, just a separate thought I had on this when my wife reminded me of something.

      This talk of anti-Muslim bias in foreign policy - how do you square that one with Yugoslavia? NATO intervention was on the side of Muslims there and very rightly so. Surely you are not saying that only Muslims of a certain skin colour can have a ‘legitimate grievance’ (i.e a grievance that meets with the approval of the UK anti-war left).

    38. Abu Ja'far — on 19th November, 2008 at 12:12 pm  

      http://www.dialoguewithislam.org/



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