The other day a friend shared a link to an article with the title: “There is nothing British about Muslims in Britain”, thinking it would be of interest, and he was right but maybe not for the reasons expected. For as I have reflected previously, some of my Muslim friends are more British in their outlook than many white, indigenous Anglo-Saxons, including me. While there were certain unsavory elements that resonated as being true, most of the article was a vicious attack that from what I could make out put all British Muslims in the same category. I won’t spend time going through the many and various individual points, which were clearly laid out in the article, but would want to express my regret that notions put forward are shared by some of my fellow countrymen (how many it is difficult to say but I would think the number may be significant) and the tone of the article amounts to spreading hatred and moreover contains many falsehoods, but it did offer me an opportunity to put forward my own thoughts on the matter.
As those who have read my books and my earlier blogs will know, while I am well aware there are negatives and threats from a growing and increasingly confident Muslim presence in this country, which often our government fails to see and when it does it operates an ineffective sledgehammer approach to try to combat, there are also positives and opportunities as I have highlighted in my last “Muslim” post. What I found particularly interesting about the article was that it was not written by one of the far right political groups as one might have expected but by members of the Jewish Defence League UK, a group that up to then I was not aware existed. This Zionist group is understandably concerned at some of the anti-Israel sentiments being expressed by British Muslims, which they see as anti-semetic, as well as their lack of British values and therefore feel such people do not have a place in British society.
I would like to see my country (Great Britain) as being a tolerant one, where people of all faiths and beliefs are are able to live together in harmony and where differences in race and religion etc. are seen as non issues. This is one reason why I was involved in running “Community-in-Harmony” events, etc., where various groups, religious and non, were brought together on the basis of friendship and understanding. Sadly, I am aware that too often this does not happen. The issue of what are British values is a salient one and one that is far from being resolved at this time, as I discussed in an earlier blog. I have a dream that Muslims and Jews will be welcomed to this country on the basis our showing traditional Christian hospitality, the values of which, including religious freedom, we ought to be holding fast to (but aren’t), and we now find ourselves under pressure to reject these. The danger is, as we are now seeing, we no longer have shared values and this will only add to the tensions that are all to evident in our society.