A bishop caused uproar last week by exposing ghettos of Islamist extremism. But Muslims everywhere are cutting themselves off from society in other, equally dangerous ways
* Shiraz Maher is a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), a radical organisation campaigning for the creation of caliphate – an Islamic state. It operates in many countries.
Perhaps it had to be someone like Michael Nazir-Ali, the first Asian bishop in the Church of England, who would break with convention and finally point out the elephant in the room.
His comments last week about the growing stranglehold of Muslim extremists in some communities revived debate about the future of multiculturalism and provoked a flurry of condemnation. Members of all three political parties immediately clamoured to dismiss him. “I don’t recognise the description that he’s talked about â€“ no-go areas and people feeling intimidated,” said Hazel Blears, the communities secretary.
A quick call to her Labour colleague John Reid, the former home secretary, would almost certainly have helped her to identify at least one of those places. Just over a year ago Reid was heckled by the Muslim extremist Abu Izzadeen in Leytonstone, east London, during a speech on extremism, appropriately. “How dare you come to a Muslim area,” Izzadeen screamed.
That picture is mirrored outside London. One of our country’s biggest and most deprived Muslim areas is Small Heath, in Birmingham, where Dr Tahir Abbas, director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Culture, was raised. With a dominant Asian monoculture, low social achievement and high unemployment, Small Heath is precisely the kind of insular and disengaged urban ghetto Nazir-Ali was talking about.
Reflecting on his experiences there, Abbas is critical of his peers who don’t stray beyond their area. “They haven’t seen rural Devon, a stately home or Windsor Castle,” he says. That refusal to engage with anything beyond the community is suffocating young Muslims by divorcing them almost entirely from Britain’s cultural heritage and mainstream life.
Does this face look familiar?Â
Bin Laden’s son wants British visa – so he and his grandmother bride can live in Cheshire and have a surrogate baby
Osama Bin Laden’s son has applied for a British visa so he can live in Britain with his wife.
Omar Bin Laden, 26, who admits attending terror training with the Al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan, has been interviewed with his wife Jane Felix-Browne, 52, by British Embassy officials in Cairo, where he is currently living.
The couple plan to set up house in Jane’s Â£550,000 home in Moulton, Cheshire, have a child through a surrogate mother and work as “peace activists”.