What David Cameron Gets Right About Terrorism

Jan 21, 2016

Photo credit: Emil Lendof/The Daily Beast

By Maajid Nawaz

“Where in the world do you think the following things are happening?” British Prime Minister David Cameron asked. “School governors’ meetings where male governors sit in the meeting room and the women have to sit out of sight in the corridor. Young women only allowed to leave their house in the company of a male relative. Religious councils that openly discriminate against women and prevent them from leaving abusive marriages. The answer, I’m sorry to say, is Britain.”

And then he raised the question of language. “New figures show that some 190,000 British Muslim women—or 22 percent—speak little or no English despite many having lived here for decades,” Cameron said. “Forty thousand of these women speak no English at all. So it’s not a surprise that 60 percent of women of a Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage are economically inactive.”

Assuming Cameron got his facts and figures right, all of this should disturb anyone who truly cares about the welfare of minority communities, and the under-empowered voices within them.

One might well question the motives of a Conservative Prime Minister pushing female empowerment, supporting a progressive agenda, condemning far right anti-Muslim bigotry in the same speech; and even at one stage referencing the advancement of “liberal” values in his remarks. And, indeed, plenty have questioned his designs.

Cameron couched his remarks in terms of countering extremism. His idea is that if mothers are better integrated into British society, which presumes they speak English, then their angry young sons will be as well. But I cannot recall any first generation British Muslim immigrant mother, struggling with English, who has gone on to become a jihadist.

Within the first generation of my own family there are some close female relatives for whom learning English remains a challenge despite being here for decades. It is true that this is unrelated to extremism, for these same family members are—bless them—superbly supportive of my family’s ethnic and religious diversity.

But state support for English classes and skills development would help such women financially. Importantly, such a financial status and developing better language skills would aid women to connect authoritatively to their often alienated second generation offspring, who have proven more susceptible than the first generation to extremist recruitment.


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74 comments on “What David Cameron Gets Right About Terrorism

  • From the article:

    But state support for English classes and skills development would help such women financially. Importantly, such a financial status and developing better language skills would aid women to connect authoritatively to their often alienated second generation offspring, who have proven more susceptible than the first generation to extremist recruitment.

    This is all well and good. Education and financial independence for all women has been promoted by feminists for decades, but even a financially successful mom would have questionable influence over her son in the face of peer pressure in a closed off community. I think it should be said that we know that there is severe indoctrination going on in the mosques and faith schools. I want moderate Muslims to acknowledge that. The best thing a mom could do is to remove their kids from the influence of those fanatics. To do this they must recognize that religion is NOT what will make their child a good person. It is THEMSELVES who have the power to do that. These women must see that there is a serious risk that if their children spend time in these places they will very likely end up with a deluded fanatic on their hands who will then go on to make their family life a living hell.

    At this point, I’m guessing that every other Muslim family we know here who attends mosque regularly for the social interaction that they desire, has one teen/young adult who has been severely indoctrinated. One of my husband’s nieces in Montreal is completely lost into fanaticism and her parents are baffled as to how it happened.

    These stories are common and this is why it’s so important for us to explain this connection to women of all faiths; Keep your kids out of organized religion! They are being brainwashed. Encourage your children to assimilate. This is best for the kids and for the family and for the whole country.
    Moms – you are good people and you can raise your children to be good people too, all without anyone’s “help”.



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  • @OP – “Where in the world do you think the following things are happening?” British Prime Minister David Cameron asked. “School governors’ meetings where male governors sit in the meeting room and the women have to sit out of sight in the corridor.

    This example is from the “Trojan Horse Schools” which arose as a direct result of Cameron and Co’s “Faith School Policy”, where any bunch of amateurs can take charge of a school, so as to remove it from the control of the elected Local Education Authority!

    Now this political plonker, is posing as the saviour of those affected by the problem HE created!

    Children would learn English and integrate during their education in socially mixed, Local Education Authority Schools, but “clever” Cameron was too busy changing the schooling system trying to open up opportunities for opportunists, in addition to providing a distraction from his government’s underfunding of regular schools!



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  • @OP – One might well question the motives of a Conservative Prime Minister pushing female empowerment, supporting a progressive agenda, condemning far right anti-Muslim bigotry in the same speech; and even at one stage referencing the advancement of “liberal” values in his remarks. And, indeed, plenty have questioned his designs.

    Anything Cameron claims to be doing should not be confused with what he actually does!

    For example he promised the “Greenest Government Ever” – and then cut the subsidies on renewable energy, while promoting gas-fracking and subsidising oil drilling!

    http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2403945/tory-manifesto-vows-to-halt-the-spread-of-onshore-windfarms

    In addition, it claims the Conservatives would “provide start-up funding for promising new renewable technologies and research, but will only give significant support to those that clearly represent value for money”.

    And it underlines Conservative support for the nascent shale gas sector. “We will continue to support the safe development of shale gas, and ensure that local communities share the proceeds through generous community benefit packages,” it states. “We will create a Sovereign Wealth Fund for the North of England, so that the shale gas resources of the North are used to invest in the future of the North. We will continue to support development of North Sea oil and gas.”

    However, the continued support for fossil fuels coupled with a lack of detail over precisely how the Conservatives plan to build on recent progress on renewables, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, and energy efficiency is likely to spark criticism from green businesses and campaigners.

    Moreover, the party has angered green energy developers by confirming its plans to effectively bring an end to the development of new onshore wind farms in the UK.



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  • Hi Alan,

    … the “Trojan Horse Schools” which arose as a direct result of Cameron and Co’s “Faith School Policy” …

    Far be it from me to defend the 2nd worst Prime Minister in the past half-century, but surely ‘academies’ (Faith Schools very much included) were a New Labour invention.

    Yes, the previous Coalition and the current Conservative governments have both failed to grasp the full import of State-funded-and-sponsored sectarianism. But no major British political party, Scottish Nationalists included, has really grasped the nettle.

    Credit where credit is due. Cameron may be a twat, and he clearly has difficulty expressing the underlying problem of cultural isolation experienced by immigrants who do not understand. But that doesn’t make him wholly and automatically wrong on this issue.

    Maajid Nawaz gives a clearly balanced critique.

    Peace.



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  • Hi Alan,

    While I appreciate that Cameron is declaring open season on his premiership, I would prefer (and I only intervene because I believe I speak for others too) that we stick to the point at issue.

    Do language skills isolate some first generation immigrants.

    Does this isolation mean that some (many?) second generation immigrants grow up feeling the cultural isolation and frustration of their parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents – and associated friends.

    Does this isolation express itself in second generation frustration and feelings of alienation – despite the empty policies and promises of multi-cultural-ism.

    Does this create fertile ground for the so-called ‘preachers of hate’.

    Please note that there is only one question mark in the above. From my own, first hand, personal experience I know all the above to be rhetorical questions – it is real life, get over it.

    The only question is the scale. Did Cameron get any objective statistics and studies before making this policy? My guess is no, otherwise he would have said so.

    This means that the Government’s policy may be sledgehammer to crack a nut. But, given that the policy also supports oppressed minorities, and women in those minorities to boot, I see no ships.

    Peace.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon
    Jan 21, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Cameron may be a twat, and he clearly has difficulty expressing the underlying problem of cultural isolation experienced by immigrants who do not understand.

    Perhaps my use of the term “faith schools” was not specific enough, as these were not the older more traditional “faith schools”.

    These taken over schools, were set up under the legislation on “academies” and “free-schools”, which are not necessarily faith-based.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-28370552

    But that doesn’t make him wholly and automatically wrong on this issue.

    He is not wrong in addressing the need for immigrants to speak and learn English, but allowing immigrant children to be isolated on the basis of “faith”, is wholly counter productive to this objective! It is also potentially ghetto-forming!



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  • Hi Alan,

    I’m breathing. sigh of relief, I thought we might be about to have a right barney!

    I understand you better now.

    While I’ve got your attention, would you please be so kind as to expand a bit on your statement:

    … allowing immigrant children to be isolated on the basis of “faith”, is wholly counter productive to this objective! It is also potentially ghetto-forming!

    I may be guilty of not reading every word of Cameron’s press release (I freely confess I find his media kow-tows boring), and I apologise in advance if I’m putting you out just to post a quote.

    Peace.



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  • ah, the target audience does not read English and ah, being in a strange country, knowing nobody, their natural inclination will be to congregate around cultural focii – my wife is not of my culture and that is what she did until she got comfortable with the strange new world. For her it was the weekend temple gatherings. For Muslims it’s highly likely to be a mosque.

    Pretty hard to tell a bunch of people who can’t speak English and who have nowhere else to go not to go to a mosque.

    I grew up with new immigrants and their parents DO encourage their kids to assimilate. In the beginning, when our pure Anglo culture was not used to them they copped a lot of racism/fear/anger and it was pretty hard for their kids to make friends with us.

    It’s a million times harder for Muslims because everywhere they look they see hatred for Muslims – and though lots of people do indeed try to help, it’s not so easy and there are many pitfalls. I spent a lot of time in an Orthodox Jewish community and even though plenty of people extended the help ordered by the commandment to “welcome the stranger” there were plenty of people who could not hide the way they felt about a goy in their midst.

    The magic two ingredients for secularization are peace and time.

    Some will secularize faster than others and some will never secularize. That’s just the way of things.



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  • it’s not the freedom they actually seek though i’m sure they love that too

    it’s the peace and opportunity

    i wonder if your ancestors entered the country and suddenly stopped speaking whatever language they were speaking and practicing the culture they were from to adopt instantly the local ways?

    p



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  • Hi Peak Oil Poet,

    While I’m sure you’re right, people who become refugees focus on the refuge first and foremost, that doesn’t mean that the cultural baggage they bring with them should simply be welcomed.

    I’m not going to revisit the obvious, and present, danger of policies of open acceptance. That time is past. Those policies have failed in the most transparent and obvious way possible, as we die needlessly.

    We, the receivers of immigrants are the culture of freedom, peace and opportunity. Both we, and the immigrants we receive, are in danger of losing all those things if we fail to recognise that some aspects of our culture are superior, and therefore need to be defended.

    We have an obligation to ourselves, to our children and to the immigrants and their children to point out that they sought refuge with us and we did not seek refuge with them, in their old, broken, country.

    The policy being promoted doesn’t go that far. It simply asks that immigrants show willing to integrate, in the hope that removing barriers to communication will allow immigrants to grasp opportunities and to experience the culture in which they now live.

    It is expecting a lot of our culture; that it will promote its own superiority. But compromise, not coercion, has ever been the British way and modern sensibilities tuned to combat racism recoil at us-and-them approaches.

    I just wish they’d included the closing of faith schools.

    Peace.



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  • yes i know, it’s terrible

    we bomb them back to pre-industrial times (or supply weapons to someone else to do it) from which emerges both radicalization and refugees who we are obliged to let come to our countries then we screw them over some more, suppress everything they know, while their kids watch us decimate their homelands on TV while fascist politicians call for more and more destruction while hundreds of crooked bankers are rewarded for crimes and all the other hard to fathom beauty of our culture

    and we get irate when they don’t just close all their schools, shoot all their spiritual leaders and become like us

    their old and broken countries

    yes

    the ones we broke

    i could cry at the sheer cynicism of it all

    p



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  • All Western countries have had waves of immigrants in the past. In Australia, Italians, Greeks, Vietnamese, Chinese just to name a few. Almost all their 1st wave immigrants struggle with the language, and almost all their 1st wave immigrants (alas) encountered racism and economic disadvantage. None of the above mentioned groups have turned to terrorism. They came for a better life, worked hard, and made sure their children were well educated (alongside the locals in an actual school, not in a “place of worship”). By the 3rd generation, or perhaps the 2nd, they were thoroughly assimilated (while retaining their cuisines and aspects of their original culture).

    Why isn’t that the case here? Bearing in mind that the US/West bombed Vietnam back to the middle ages not so long ago, and we didn’t get flooded with pyjama-clad VC terrorists, I ask you what’s the difference between wave after wave successfully assimilated immigrant groups and the more recent groups, if it isn’t religion?



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  • Hi Peak Oil Poet,

    That’s a good point. I’ve certainly said many times, and I will do so again now, that bombing other countries ‘back to the stone age’ is a complete nonsense (not to mention murderous and sick).

    Of course not all countries are broken by outsiders, and many fail due to internal pressures leaving a mess where the West intervenes after the fact. This is where we are, for example, with Syria – though the Russians pretending that the Cold War is still on is confusing the situation no end.

    I also agree that, where we intervened in a peaceful country to so disrupt it refugees resulted, we have a duty to help those countries to rebuild. I’ve often wondered why this doesn’t include repatriation of refugees?

    Peace.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon
    Jan 21, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    allowing immigrant children to be isolated on the basis of “faith”, is wholly counter productive to this objective! It is also potentially ghetto-forming!

    I may be guilty of not reading every word of Cameron’s press release

    I am following up on my earlier comment on not confusing what he says in press releases with what he is actually doing.

    The isolation and Quoranic instruction in lieu of education in Trojan Horse schools, was an underlying issue, which arose from the earlier “Free School Policy” deregulating schools from Local Education Authority control. – Essentially this was a political move to allow the religious right and Tory activists, to take over schools in LEA areas with councils run by other political parties.

    While local councils do have problems arising from politics and bureaucracy, this scheme gave preferential funding and opportunities to unload social problems on other schools, so they could pose as “successful government initiatives” with “holier than thou attitudes”, while overall education budgets were being cut!

    The lesson which the elitist de-regulators never seem to learn, is that any arrogant amateur Tom, Dick, or Harriet, cannot run public institutions better than the professionals on a make-it-up-as-you-go-along basis.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon
    Jan 22, 2016 at 2:00 am

    The policy being promoted doesn’t go that far. It simply asks that immigrants show willing to integrate, in the hope that removing barriers to communication will allow immigrants to grasp opportunities and to experience the culture in which they now live.

    Importing the civil war, lawlessness, and conflict culture the refugees are trying to escape, would be a very bad move.

    When welcoming those in need into our countries as guests, it is reasonable to expect them to behave as guests.
    Those who wish to continue life as foreign criminals or foreign terrorists, should be kicked out!



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  • You’re right about the cynicism.
    (But I don’t know what the rant about fascist politicians and crooked bankers was about if it was at all meant to show the west in a bad light. It’s all relative: you should listen to their politicians and clerics and see the degree of corruption in their financial system.).

    Certainly there’s nothing like a bit of bombing in your homeland to motivate you to do a bit of bombing yourself.
    (Hmmm, when if you put it like that it sounds awfully close to saying that 9/11 was an understandable pretext for the US a go out and bomb someone. I guess it all depends on who attacked who first.)

    From the US perspective, I agree that behind the curtain it’s probably all about oil and resources and geopolitical strategic dominance, and so on.

    I’m not condoning it, but I certainly understand the coldly rational realpolitik behind it.

    But then there’s Hebdo. That was about cartoons and satire. Let’s not fool ourselves it had anything to do with realpolitik. If you shoot up parliament, or something like that, then it’s politics. When you shoot up a newspaper because they published a cartoon, that’s a different animal altogether. We call both acts of terrorism, but they seem to me fundamentally different actions.
    One is merely criminal, the other is criminally insane.



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  • Hi MadEnglishman,

    It seems to me that your mixing up different kinds of migration.

    Some of my Mother’s family emigrated to New Zealand. They were economic migrants, they went because they saw the possibility of a better life. They were self-motivated. This is true of most Scots who emigrated to New Zealand – they were largely middle class people looking for adventure and new horizons and they were mostly welcomed by people who were often, themselves, British and saw educated people with a cultural fit.

    Some people, like the Irish migration to North America, move for the rather more urgent case of escaping poverty. They are often shunned and retreat into ghettos where they, initially, fall into a defensive posture. They gain grudging acceptance by taking up jobs that no-one else will do, then are slowly assimilated through losing some of their original identity (social mores, accents, dress codes, etc.), marriage and children, and as opportunities slowly arise through education and further movement.

    Then there are the refugees. Literally seeking refuge from a harsh World that has given them some hard knocks, war, famine, expulsion by another ethnic group, earthquake, volcano – homeless, fearful and impoverished – all their immediate efforts are based on a safe haven.

    There were few refugees from Vietnam to the US in the ’60s because the Pacific Ocean is big and China, which is also big, was on the winning side. There were no terrorists because the Vietnamese won the war, so there was no need for them as the Western Oppressors™ had been expelled.

    I agree that religion has a large part to play in modern migrants and their children becoming terrorists. But, as Peak Oil Poet outlines, it’s a more nuanced picture than that.

    Part of the reason that religion can be misused in this way has to do with organised religions gaining the status of cultural focal points. To be fair, they usually earn that status. They are often the providers of social safety-nets, and they provide a familiar touchstone in times of great stress (particularly for refugees).

    The Catholic Church as slow to get started in North America – but they made up for lost time when they realised that treating economic migrants, like the Irish and the Italians moving to North America, can be treated the same way as refugees.

    Religions work on us-and-them group dynamics which exacerbate feelings of isolation and teach migrants to keep the faith – not only with the religion itself, but with a wider identity and culture.

    Radical clerics are a problem in every religion, and for them these ghettoised migrants are a godsend.

    That’s why I support a policy that is a gentle push towards integration.

    Peace.



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  • Hi Alan,

    I agree.

    Of course one has to identify those intent on continuing a conflict, or crime wave, among the refugees. Not easy. Like all crimes intent is hard to prove, and even harder to detect. Post-fact policing is likely to be our only plan for the foreseeable future.

    I understand the current British Government has taken the view that the best way to do this with Syrian refugees is to only accept refugees that have at least presented themselves as refugees to an authority that is struggling to make a difference in the crisis (i.e. the Red Cross). I cannot judge if that is a good policy, nor even if it’s a humanitarian policy given that the tiny number being accepted will barely scratch the surface.

    That leaves two questions. The first is what do we do with the refugees we do accept – and this policy goes a little way to addressing that. The second is what do we do if peace (lacks definition, sorry) is restored?

    Peace.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon
    Jan 22, 2016 at 6:37 am

    That leaves two questions. The first is what do we do with the refugees we do accept – and this policy goes a little way to addressing that.

    One problem which has been inherited from do-gooder legislation and the propensity to try to interfere in the internal laws of other countries, is the acceptance of criminals as asylum seekers if they could face execution.

    I am a bandit with a price on my head in my homeland, and facing execution if return there – therefore I qualify for political asylum“, should not be acceptable as a ticket for entry, or a means of escaping extradition!



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  • Alan, faith schools were Blair’s brainchild, albeit their imlementation was carried out chiefly by the Tory Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove.

    At least Cameron has had the guts to speak out about the dangers inherent in fundamentalism.

    One positive thing to come out of the current situation is the raising of consciousness about our hard won freedoms.

    Could there be a danger of the fruits of Magna Carta, The Renaissance and the Enlightenment being undermined? Not only in Britain but also in America?

    I have no beef what so ever with individual Muslims, most of whom, as far as I can tell, don’t bother with the finer points of their religion and just get on with life; a life which is being made very difficult indeed by the fundamentalists.

    It’s the so called leaders of Islam who pose a threat; in the fifteen nineties the then Pope suborned the assassination of Queen Elizabeth the First; witness, that in the nineteen eighties the Iatola Komani called for the murder of Salman Rushdie.

    Clearly, even in the twenty first century, there’s a need for constant vigilance.

    Unfortunately for them however, the well meaning Muslims get it in the neck.



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  • Hi Alan,

    I have, personally, always found this kind of case the most difficult:

    … the acceptance of criminals as asylum seekers if they could face execution.

    If you will allow, with very little editing your ‘criminal’s’ plea could read:

    I am a freedom fighter with a price on my head in my homeland, and facing execution if return there – please, I beg you, grant me political asylum

    The judgement of whether a person really is fighting for freedom, whether their actions are or were justified, whether the regime is oppressive and/or corrupt, whether the courts are independent, whether we agree that the death penalty is acceptable by a foreign state – both in principle and in this case … and, of course, politics and diplomacy will tend to influence any outcome.

    That’s a lot of subjective mucking about, and a lot of grey areas of many shades.

    There is a case to be made for both sides. Tell everyone we don’t take convicted felons as refugees even if their home country is heroically corrupt – or; We accept everyone who claims to be an oppressed freedom fighter, but they have to wait in a detention centre while we work out if they’re pathological criminals or real freedom fighters that we can support because it’s a cheap way to address possible regime change.

    Even when decided, offering safe harbour to an obvious freedom fighter is not necessarily a good idea.

    Peace.



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  • 23
    Pinball1970 says:

    Those who wish to continue life as foreign criminals or foreign terrorists, should be kicked out!

    I would add to that, expecting some sort of holiday home islamic state.

    The West are NOT to blame for all the problems in these Islamic countries.

    Grotesque political corruption, medieval tribal laws treating women and homosexuals like dogs and brainwashing generations of children with useless and often hateful koranic texts instead of providing useful education, just may have something to do with some of the problems they have.

    We should not be encouraging the same here.



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  • 24
    Pinball1970 says:

    I ask you what’s the difference between wave after wave successfully assimilated immigrant groups and the more recent groups, if it isn’t religion?

    It has be a very big part.
    Keeping women ignorant of the native tongue effectively isolates them from the rest of society who are not immediate family or immediate neighbors of the same ethnic origin.
    Why would a husband want to do that to his wife?
    The same reason they would want them to cover from head to toe.
    The same reason they would want their daughters genitals cut and segregated from other boys/men then forced to marry suitors not of their choice.
    Religion, in this case the hadith and koran.



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  • There is a commonality between this issue and education and it is this-

    It is essential that the benefits of society are available to all within it. This means that both families and communities cannot be allowed to become impermeable. There must be exposure to everyone of the legal and educational, opportunities and obligations on and for everyone.

    We need porous families and communities and state diligence in seeking out those who may be deliberately shielded from these things.

    We must expect that many North African Muslim men in Norway (f’rinstance) will try to prevent “their” women from seeking the education and work opportunities to which they are entitled. Yesterday’s interviews with such men on BBCR4 were hugely depressing for their inevitable, stifling, distrustful patriarchy. Their confusion over dress and makeup as being an indication of a women’s morals, understandable given their previous cultural setting.

    It is only moral to educate women and men fully in the culture they have chosen to embed themselves in.

    Nor can this newly created permeability be allowed to subsequently heal over.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon
    Jan 22, 2016 at 7:36 am

    I have, personally, always found this kind of case the most difficult:

    I agree that SOME of these cases are difficult, but some are not.

    For example in a world with real poverty, the UK spending £millions and years, mucking about in court trying to extradite Abu Hamza was ridiculous!

    The disreputable will exploit any legal weakness or enforcement failures, to the maximum.



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  • pop

    ah, the target audience does not read English and ah, being in a strange country

    Seriously? ah, … Do you intend to come off as condescending? I really want to give you the benefit of the doubt here but based on past conversations with you I’m leaning toward the conclusion that you think you have all the answers and that no one else here has any contact with Muslims, their culture or their ex-pat communities anywhere.

    their natural inclination will be to congregate around cultural focii

    duh.

    my wife is not of my culture

    You’re not married to someone of your own culture. Join the club. I’m not either. My Algerian husband and all of his friends who came here on scholarship did not congregate around the mosque. They created their own social life around secular activities and they are all perfectly integrated into this culture.

    Pretty hard to tell a bunch of people who can’t speak English and who have nowhere else to go not to go to a mosque.

    It is unconstitutional to prevent religious participation in my country. I support that. But I do also have the right to express my opinion and I won’t hesitate to do that, especially if I think that there is harm being done to a group of people who are vulnerable in any way. Right now, the mosques are engaged in some serious indoctrination and are preaching hate. This is harm.

    Why would you say that they have nowhere else to go? This is false. Many immigrants start off taking English class in community centers here. They meet friends from all over the world and go from there. I have never said that immigrants should avoid people from their own culture, especially since I’ve lived in another culture myself and I was so happy to have a group of anglophone women friends from several countries at that time.

    What the entire secular community is working toward is to minimize the hold that organized religion has on their congregation. We aim to create non-religious social groups that serve the community without the stranglehold of mass religious delusion and the harms that go with it. Muslims can do this and they must take charge and do this for their own good. They are not stupid. They just need prompting and support from the secular community for implementation.

    parents DO encourage their kids to assimilate.

    I can just as easily point out that pious individuals of many communities have an us vs them mentality that is strongly reinforced by their sacred texts. This in combination with large insular communities of new immigrants is a daunting problem. Don’t assume that all immigrant parents want their children to assimilate. They can be very fearful of that. They aren’t blind to all the social problems we have here and fear that their kids will get the good with all of the bad too.

    The magic two ingredients for secularization are peace and time.

    This is tragically passive. The trajectory is not moving toward peace. We are moving in the opposite direction these days. Should we wait for peace to get here and then we will take action? Total fail. And how much time should we allow for secularization to magically appear? Two or three generations? Want to let the shit hit the fan and then implement damage control? This is a terrible plan. It’s no plan at all. Peace and time? You’re dreaming. If you want to make a difference then get down here in the trenches with the rest of us.

    Some will secularize faster than others and some will never secularize. That’s just the way of things.

    Again, so defeatist and passive. Even if this is true, it’s not helpful in the discussion.



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  • -lol- There’s nothing to argue about here.

    I can’t imagine not having state funding for immigrants to learn English or to take life skills courses.

    I must have missed something.



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  • 29
    Stardusty Psyche says:

    Brother Maajid,
    You have below contradicted yourself:

    “His idea is that if mothers are better integrated into British society, which presumes they speak English, then their angry young sons will be as well. But I cannot recall any first generation British Muslim immigrant mother, struggling with English, who has gone on to become a jihadist.”

    In the first sentence you explain the benefit of mothers speaking English to be their angry young sons will thus integrate into British society.

    In the next sentence you seek to discount the assertion of the first sentence by changing the subject of the benefit from the son to the mother.

    Which is it? Is the benefit the integration of the son (first sentence) or the integration of the mother (thus not becoming a jihadist, second sentence)?

    Please explain this inconsistency of argumentation.



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  • Stardusty Psyche
    Jan 22, 2016 at 11:08 am

    In the first sentence you explain the benefit of mothers speaking English to be their angry young sons will thus integrate into British society.

    In the next sentence you seek to discount the assertion of the first sentence by changing the subject of the benefit from the son to the mother.

    I think the point is, that if the mothers can speak English and mix socially with other mothers, then the children accompanying them will do likewise, mix and integrate with other children, and become competent speakers of English themselves.

    This is how integration and cultural changes come about.

    I recall that one of my daughter’s school friends (English LEA school), was informed by her family that they had arranged for her to marry a rich man back in Pakistan. She told them to forget it and that she was not going to Pakistan!



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  • The power of children to solve our (their!) problems is marvelous.

    Your account reminds me of the use of P4C Philosophy for Children in schools (often during RE classes. This is allowing children to discuss with very little guiding a topic essentially of their own choosing. Often the questions revolve around how folk live, or marry, or what a good job is. Christians hearing Muslims, hearing Sikhs or the irreligious talk about their lives and expectations is often the first time kids get to hear the unvarnished truth about these matters rather than the sanitised stuff that comes from the teacher. They discover how similar their aspirations can be. This is powerful. It begins the process of creating greater cultural permeability, a sense of choice, and a much healthier mutuality, a larger more inclusive solidarity.

    Faith schools are the very root of our cultural problems. Get rid of those and kids will fix the rest.



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  • 32
    Stardusty Psyche says:

    Alan4discussion,
    “I think the point is, that if the mothers can speak English and mix socially with other mothers, then the children accompanying them will do likewise, mix and integrate with other children, and become competent speakers of English themselves.”

    Yes, that seems reasonable, and to the extent that social alienation is a contributing factor in the violence of the jihadist, then we might hope to gain some degree of jihad prevention thereby.

    However, brother Maajid goes on to contradict and discount the very social mechanism you both cite.
    “But I cannot recall any first generation British Muslim immigrant mother, struggling with English, who has gone on to become a jihadist.””

    The fact that British Muslim Immigrant mothers are not themselves known to become jihadists is irrelevant to the asserted mechanism of preventing young men from becoming jihadists.

    Thus, brother Maajid is being inconsistent in his argumentation.

    To quote the author’s full paragraph:
    “Cameron couched his remarks in terms of countering extremism. His idea is that if mothers are better integrated into British society, which presumes they speak English, then their angry young sons will be as well. But I cannot recall any first generation British Muslim immigrant mother, struggling with English, who has gone on to become a jihadist.”

    Clearly, the placement of the word “but” seeks to discount “his idea”, which is also your idea. But the asserted evidence for discounting this idea is really no evidence at all, since brother Maajid changes the subject from the son to the mother.



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  • I’m going to start here – there’s a few comments i’d like to discuss and i’m stealing time from what i should be doing which is packing up the house for the first haul to the mountains. I migt drop off half finished somewhere for a few days before i’m back….

    condescending? Ok yes. It was.

    “My Algerian husband and all of his friends who came here on scholarship did not congregate around the mosque”

    we call this anecdotal evidence – it’s great to hear but it does not prove any point. We know people of my wife’s culture too who are here on scholarships – eg a man doing a PhD with his wife and two kids in toe – but they came alone, went straight into an incredibly supportive and highly educated (and well off) environment and though they do socialise with a small number of people from their own country (us for example) their primary criteria for inclusiveness is education – they’d rather hang out with very bright, highly educated people like themselves

    such people are hardly the average new immigrant

    “Right now, the mosques are engaged in some serious indoctrination and are preaching hate. This is harm.”

    wow, this is a very sweeping generalization – and it does not agree with my experiences with mosques

    i will concede that in group meetings (such as mosques) where current affairs come up and are discussed you can hear a lot of anger – when shit is being visited on relatives or other people with whom one can identify (even if only by religion) and what’s all over the media is largely negative, inflammatory, cherry-picked and leaning heavily in support of more war. Often, these discussions are being introduced by the young men (and women) who can speak English and who can understand what they see on TV and social media. I remember that it was us young people who were active in protesting against the Vietnam war – it is young people who are more likely to be idealistic about what they see – and they are more likely to see things in black-and-white – so it is more likely young people are self-radicalizing and choosing an idealistic (and somewhat “romantic”/exciting/adventurous) approach to action – it’s not like they’d get a lot of support placarding the streets in their host nations – they’d just cop eternal shyte for it

    [all the way down to the last point but excluding it]

    it’s great that the highly educated people from your country are focused on shedding religious dogma and assimilating – though i suspect you have always been on that path – this is the nature of secularization – it always starts with smart, educated people

    but assimilation into one group should not mean alienation from another – who is better placed and more responsible for helping others secularize then you? But you do need a lot of patience and your chipping away at ingrained institutionalization (indoctrination) will not be a smooth and easy path.

    ok, now to my assertion that the road to secularization is one of peace and time

    let’s start with me (yes, anecdotal, sorry)

    when i see inequity and evil being visited on other people i generally feel angry (i think that should be normal – passively accepting evil seems to me to be anathema)

    watching the terrible things my culture has been doing in the middle east and other places for the duration of my life leaves me quite ill and very despondent with barely enough hope for the future to be positive around my loved ones

    the peace i call for is not the peace of our immigrants environment

    the peace i call for is the peace in their home countries

    in other words i want to see our countries back away from the shit they cause and let time heal some wounds – and it will take quite some time

    left in peace long enough most of those countries, or at least the ones that have in the past and/or might in the future have democracy will move towards secularization and marginalization of hard-core religious groups (though looking at American red-neck, racist “Christians” leaves me worried sometimes that maybe not)

    if the news is not awash with OUR crimes (or crimes that are a consequence of our actions) in Muslim countries, young bright eyed idealistic young people will not be so inclined to think fighting with their “brothers” is the highest call to answer

    if we continue to do or support terrible things in the middle east etc what do you propose to do with idealistic types? Suppress them? Brainwash them? Bribe them?

    Or just scare the hell out of them?

    pop



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  • The Vietnamese who came to Australia were the (and yes i’m simplifying for brevity) “capitalists” that escaped the winning North Vietnamese moving south.

    I lived on one of the hostels they were originally housed in – my dad was the manager – i remember, though i did not understand at the time, two armored vehicles turning up shortly after the first group arrived. I learned later that these were for gold that these people brought.

    The Vietnamese we got were not the ones that we had been bombing back to the stone age – they are still there and if you spend some time in Vietnam you’ll find that the older people don’t forget

    we stopped bombing Vietnam after we lost that illegal “war”

    it’s not the same thing

    none of your example peoples had to put up with watching us wreck carnage and havock in their homelands after they came here

    it isn’t religion – though some religions appear to be more militant than others

    it’s not Islam that makes these people different

    it’s the world – availability of information (and mis-information)

    i’m sure that if the Vietnamese who had come were a bunch of communist North Vietnamese escaping nationwide conflagration and they were to have got here only to have watched day after day the further decimation of their homeland and the unending calls for destruction of the Mahayana Buddhism that i think was the default religion, they’d have been just as likely to exhibit similar behaviour

    who can say

    nothing is ever so simple as it seems except the solution to the Gordian Knot – use the sword

    p



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  • the kids integrate way faster than the parents – and learn English naturally because they still can

    for many if not most adults learning a new language can be not only daunting and exhausting but also almost if not completely impossible

    who else then are they to be with if not others like themselves

    p



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  • No. P4C is making good progress I have first hand accounts of it used in RCC schools with mixed intakes in London with great effect. Sapere is the organisation and school teachers tend to be ahead of the curve (in the UK at least) in promoting ideas of mutuality.

    Faith schools were a diminishing problem in the UK until Tony Bliar screwed things up opening the door to unfettered religious sponsorship. Its not been too long 10-15 years. The current set of problems he created is achieving a lot of attention. We could see a roll bac without too much trouble.



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  • pop

    wow, this is a very sweeping generalization – and it does not agree with my experiences with mosques

    I take it that you don’t speak Arabic then? Why don’t you try going to a prayer service, especially if there is a guest Imam and bring with you someone who will translate the “sermon” as exactly as possible. You’re in for a real treat.

    let’s start with me (yes, anecdotal, sorry)

    Thank you for saving me the trouble of pointing out that you have chided me for including anecdotal content when I have noticed that you never fail to do so in your comments as well. Pot-kettle-black.

    left in peace long enough most of those countries, or at least the ones that have in the past and/or might in the future have democracy will move towards secularization and marginalization of hard-core religious groups (though looking at American red-neck, racist “Christians” leaves me worried sometimes that maybe not)

    I have no hope that this would happen. Have any examples of where it has happened before? In my view, secularization has been fought for tooth and nail and is tough to maintain against the forces of organized religion.

    if we continue to do or support terrible things in the middle east etc what do you propose to do with idealistic types?

    I don’t support doing terrible things in the Middle East. Again, don’t assume that I do. We have dug ourselves very deep into the muck and the consequences are terrible. I have no answer for the idealistic types because as you know, the system is so entrenched that I despair for the entire region and all of the innocent bystanders who suffer from this. You are not the only visitor to this website who feels this anguish and there is no need to constantly launch into lectures about the effed up foreign policy that is driving this catastrophe. On any number of other websites your views would come as a big surprise, especially to the average American but you must see that this is not the case here, in general.



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  • LaurieB

    i was not chiding your for using anecdotal evidence – i was chiding you for using it as a foundation proof for an assertion. Anecdotes are entertainment and often illuminating but they are not proof of anything though they may later turn out to be evidence.

    I don’t speak Arabic but many of my friends do and quite bilingual.

    I’ve also been to mosques where only the praying is in Arabic – the discussions about issues local and world are carried out in their native language which i used to be able to follow moderately well as long as it was not too idiomatic.

    Where has it happened?

    Well nowhere recently (that’s kindof the point)

    But for eg Iran was both quite secular and democratic up to the time the British decided their oil was a strategic asset. Do you know where the very first troops were deployed in WWI?

    People talk of the Golden Age of Islam – a time when there was peace and enormous contributions to science, medicine and mathematics by Muslims and Jews (and nobody else other than maybe some Asians)

    Peace is a marvelous things for we humans. We achieve incredible things when we have it for long periods of time.

    I know parts of my wife’s homeland where it is like 80% Muslim and they are quite secular in the large part though there are pockets of quite religious folk – mostly quite isolated and still lacking education but these are dwindling with the advent of mobile phones with internet.

    I’m sure you do not support our nasty foreign policies.

    But in a way, though i do not either, i am just as guilty as you and others.

    Because we try to deal with the consequences of the core problem (and do so with love and intelligence to the best of our abilities) but we do not focus on the core issue.

    If there’s a tanker leaking petrol which is spreading to houses that have caught fire because naughty kids with matches have been having fun it’s great that people like us try and put out the fires and it’s great we try and control the behavior of the kids.

    But as long as that tanker keeps leaking petrol there will be danger.

    I truly believe the world needs a mega-Vietnam moment/movement though Vietnam is not such a good example because the peace movement was not born of the need to save the Vietnamese from our nasty illegal war – it was mostly driven by the body count and the push to stop our children being killed in such large numbers.

    The world needs to raise up somehow and stop these evil warmongers. People like Tony Blair, George Bush and all his cronies need to be tried as war criminals. Backing for places like Israel and Saudi Arabia needs to stop. Criminal insurgence by CIA type organisations needs to be completely stomped on.

    One can be bristling with defensive weapons without having to use them on weaker peoples.

    Just giving in to this situation is our sin – and we can tell ourselves that it is this way because we are helpless against it.

    Because we do not have core thinkers, writers and speakers in plenty and in prominent positions amongst our children’s schools and institutions.

    Because we are all so focused on just surviving and caring for those who are directly near us – family, friends…

    I’m idealistic – still, after all these years I’m still a big believer in the power of people.

    But i’m not so capable as a speaker, leader or anything much else that can really help solve the problem.

    Hence it’s looking for intellectual groups in places like this.

    I doubt it helps but it’s cheaper than paying for a psychotherapist.

    pop



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  • pop

    who else then are they to be with if not others like themselves

    It’s not as dire as you make it out to be. A small number of friends who speak the immigrant language is fine to start out with. From there an immigrant can meet friends at work, English class, sports, work, etc, just like we do. Moms make friends through their children and their friends and the school environment. They have no choice but to engage socially with the people of the new culture. It doesn’t have to be religious groups exclusively. The point of this is that for immigrants to base their entire experience on clinging to the old ways is counterproductive for them and for the whole society around them



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  • If it was only a small number of people you were talking about – yes absolutely.

    But anywhere it’s a greater number – not so much so.

    I have Maronite Lebanese friends who came to Australia as part of quite small numbers – the children (my friends since school) integrated rapidly because they were essentially alone. The parents never integrated because they never mastered the language so they really had very few friends.

    Ditto my Serbian friends – there were not so many Serbians though more than the Maronites.

    Ditto for almost all my New Australian friends (all my friends were New Australians and i was at first their only “Aussie” friend).

    But let’s take for example the number of Italians that came at one stage. There are whole suburbs that are or were almost entirely Italian and though their children have grown into the Australian cosmopolis the adults now mostly quite old still carry out their every day activities exclusively in the Italian of their upbringing.

    That goes also for the larger number of Muslim Lebanese who came later – they tend to congregate in specific suburbs and though the kids do learn English and integrate the parents carry out their lives in Arabic.

    Same for the Vietnamese – the children are all now parents and grand parents themselves and successful in all fields as it is for all of the above immigrants – but the original immigrants are mostly all still living their lives as they did in Vietnam – Cabramatta is called little Vietnam in Australia and you can stand in the shopping center listening to most interactions being carried out in Vietnamese though many others now go there to shop so English is used much also – but only by second generation Vietnamese or the more language capable older ones who did learn English.

    There are many many stories like this so I understand it completely – i grew up on immigration camps – it was a big part of me learning tolerance and acceptance of other cultures – much earlier than my contemporaries.

    But few if any of all these people had to put up with what new Muslim immigrants must put up with and that is a world that tells them daily that everything they believe in is evil and false.

    Sure, the elites among these people (intellectual, educated) will seek to assimilate and gain wealth and independence faster than others.

    But if there are difficulties for the rest and if they tend to form communities where “the old ways” are still strong

    how do you propose to change that?

    And with what will it be replaced?

    pop



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  • “My Algerian husband and all of his friends who came here on scholarship did not congregate around the mosque”

    we call this anecdotal evidence

    Pop, your use of anecodatal evidence was fallacious not LaurieB’s

    Your use here:

    my wife is not of my culture and that is what she did until she got comfortable with the strange new world.

    So you have provided a single example (your wife) to make your point. This (because it is anecdotal) therefore doesn’t necessarily – at least not without more evidence- prove the general point you were making.

    Thus LaurieB’s comment:

    My Algerian husband and all of his friends who came here on scholarship did not congregate around the mosque.

    disproves that your case is universal. So she is thereby refuting your absolutist claim with a single example.

    I’ll give a hypothetical example, all women wear only red dresses. But look there is a woman wearing a black dress. The single example refutes the dogma. That is not anecdote. Your use of your wife to prove your absolutist position or even argue for it is. That does not mean however your wifes example is not useful data, just that it cannot be used alone to make a general rule.

    “Right now, the mosques are engaged in some serious indoctrination and are preaching hate. This is harm.”

    wow, this is a very sweeping generalization – and it does not agree
    with my experiences with mosques

    Again can you see here that LaurieB did not say all mosques? She made no generalizations if there is more than one mosque preaching hate then what she says is absolutely correct, and indeed they are, you can I’m sure you could find more than one UK preacher on You tube promoting hate.

    Cheers



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  • Read his an Sam Harris book, a short read but it rounds out his position quite well, I think you’ll find there is no contradiction. His mother played a big part in him getting rid of his fundamentalist past.



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  • Incidentally, I’d be interested to hear of any educational programs that focused on serious discussion between children. As obvious a thing as it may seem, there has been little experience of such things to draw on.



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  • pop

    Mostly I agree with your political goals but here’s where I can’t agree:

    Just giving in to this situation is our sin – and we can tell ourselves that it is this way because we are helpless against it.

    Sin? It’s a religious concept and a dastardly one at that. There is no such thing as sin. Remember our conversation a while back? I don’t have to respect religious words and by saying “our sin” you have lumped me in with a bunch of self-punishing guilt ridden wimps.



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  • The religion-working-on-us-and-them dynamic was the answer I was looking for.
    Religion is a big difference.

    I’ll grant you there are others – certainly you can’t compare Scots and Irish immigrants with those from bombed out M.E. countries, but I think Vietnam is an interesting comparison,

    The communist North / capitalist South divide dates to 1945, and is an artificial and arbitrary divide based on an Allied military decision – a line on a map.

    There was no “capitalist South” prior to this, and before that there was occupation by Japanese forces and before that subjugation by French imperialists (and no capitalism before the French/Europeans showed up).
    And it’s incorrect to say the S.V. didn’t care the N.V. were being bombed to hell by the US.
    Do Californians not care about the bombing in New York? They may not live there, but it’s the same country, and they probably have relatives and friends up there. N. Vietnam is/was only a different country because the West made it that way, and barely a decade or two before the napalm started raining down.

    Yes, the Western Oppressors may have been expelled for a time, but decades of economic sanctions wore the country down until it caved and fell into line anyway. There’s a McDonalds (and a KFC, and Subway) in Ho Chi Minh City.



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  • Right now, the mosques are engaged in some serious indoctrination and are preaching hate. This is harm.

    I agree Laurie; but what is their motivation for doing so I wonder?

    I surmise that it could be one of a number of things, but that one of the following two may be principal:

    First, are the twin injutices of the Sykes Picot Agreement and the Balfour Declaration.

    Second, contempt for European culture in general, and the British way of life in particular.

    Or, perhaps, a mixture of both.

    The aim? Perhaps, to widen and increase the power and influence of Islam; after all, isn’t that something which has always been common to all religions? And in fairness, why not?

    You seem to be well qualified to answer the question; which I might add, is not rhetorical.

    Incidentally, it’s a beautiful day here where I am in Blighty.



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  • When we came to UK 1966 I had just turned Five. There were seven of us living in two rooms in a victorian house my aunt (she was really my cousin but too old not to be called an aunt) owned in Hackney, fast becoming a black neighbourhood. Within a few years, after starting work on the railway as a porter, my dad, who doesn’t really like people let alone black people, found us a two bed, one box room flat in Leyton. (Phil will know about these areas as he drives through them at times) Leyton leads out of Hackney towards the suburbs and is separated by about three miles of marsh land and parks from hackney and was predominantly white english working class. We were the only foreign family in the street. Dad had been in the British army in Cyprus and was now working on the rail so he picked up enough English to get by but had very little experience of the nuances of British life and humour. Mum commuted back to hackney and worked in Turkish Cypriot factories with people she was comfortable with and still cannot put a sentence together in English. What I realised was that when the lower working class families moved out of Hackney and bridged the marshy gap to Leyton, the well-to-do contingent moved further out having the money to do so. A few miles further out from where we lived it got a little more densely populated because of transport links being better. Leyton was in no mans land since the overground station closed down in the early 60’s. (These are small distances compared to America) There was a factory on the main route through which was bought up in the 80’s (I think) and turned into a mosque. Within a few years (soaring house prices making it possible) most of the white residents moved away and it s now an indian area as the shops mainly show. I grew up, worked hard and was able to buy a flat even further out following the white successful trail as I too didn’t want to live in an area full of foreigners!!! 🙂

    My Englishness comes from my school days where my best friend was English. He had very old parents compared to the rest of us and they lived life as if still in the aftermath of the WWII. All my references came from them in the early days and it was wonderful to watch them watch television in a different way to us and laugh at things that I didn’t understand (not high level stuff but typically English). Being brighter than my friend I soon surpassed him and moved on to better things once we left school.

    Leyton is now predominently an Indian area with the white population constantly complaining about the chaos caused by Friday prayers on the main road. Police have been called a few times either to direct traffic or stop small demonstrations that have occasionally had the mosque goers trapped inside while the police deal with angry protesters.

    It is not enough to work with English people and then go home where all around you are your own people with everything you need to sustain an Indian life style, for example. The reason this happens is not only the immigrants but also the indigenous that do not want to live anywhere near foreigners (instead of lower class English as before)

    Hackney, being more built up and full of council housing, still has a huge mixture of people as most could not afford to move. There was a time when the council even moved people of the same culture into flats in one estate to try and stop cultural differences being a problem. After all, the white residents were normally the lowest class and had no one else to bully and feel superior to so the black, indian etc, got it. That policy soon stopped, I am glad to say, and when I recently went back to a particularly notorious estate I worked in for years and years, It was much more family orientated and it was great to see into back gardens (those who had them on the ground floor anyway) and try to work out which country these people had originally come from. The types of fruits and vegetables giving away the game. Little bits of Jamaica, India, Turkey and now, eastern Europe to name a few.

    Leyton was less built up and easy to move from with far fewer council estates trapping people.

    The suburban area I now live in was a white middle class haven with very rich jewish community. Some saw it as an area with footballers and rich Jewish/English criminals and it was the influence for a British comedy called ‘Birds of a Feather’ whose title explains what I am trying to say here. Our local school was sold off to the Hindu community (in the bad old days of Thatcher) along with its grounds and this prompted the Hindu people, who could afford the very large and expensive gated houses, to move into the area. We now drive down the road looking at these previously Jewish owned houses and know where the Hindus live. They all have new gates and fences fitted and the tops are always gold or silver spiked. This in turn shows the community using its own countrymen to carry out the works needed on these properties as we have seen the men carrying out the work.

    Food, building service and maintenance, entertainment, schooling (the main factor in the problem in my eyes) and all other services carried out with people they are most comfortable with and give them feedback/respect according to their position in their own community. Not much recognition for doing well from white people can be balanced out by lording it up to your own people.

    The problem of integration is huge for everyone and not just the immigrants. Even immigrant to immigrant is a problem as with my dad wanting to move away from black people and his own kind. Just working with someone is not enough. You don’t get to know the real person. The one or two people we invite to weddings from different cultures always makes me laugh. A small group of people that stick out like sore thumbs. I have been to Jewish do’s that were not too bad as I can sometimes pass for a jew but felt very uncomfortable at a Nigerian friends birthday party although I enjoyed the event. There were many doctors there, as our friend is one, and as the Nigerian people tried to make us comfortable and part of the celebrations, we were shunned by the seven or eight white doctors getting very drunk in the corner. Me being an electrician was below them. I have never liked the insular world of snobby doctors and they might have picked up on that 😉

    I know this anecdote is going on a bit but the problem is huge. I just want to add that when we were forced to leave Cyprus by the thousands, some Turkish Cypriots decided to go to Australia as did my aunt. Integration seems (according to a few people I have talked to from there) easier. Some of this has to do with weather which allows people the opportunity to mix outside and there is none who likes a barbecue more than Cypriots (on both sides) and Australians. The set-in their-ways British and the weather had a very different effect on integration. I hate the class system the British imposed on themselves in the 60’s and 70’s. It worked all the way into the gutter and when there was nowhere else to go, immigrants became the new punch bag for the poorest and the lowest.



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  • Thanks for sharing that Olgun; it’s interesting.

    Our daughter Lauren has just gone to live in Australia, and at present she’s near Bondi Beach, Sidney, and being very open and friendly I’m sure she’ll make friends quickly; generally speaking, Aussies are very affable too.

    My wife is a black English rose, whose parents came from Senegal and Sierra Leone respectively, but none of us would put up with any nonsense from anyone!

    But it has been amusing on occasion, when she’s met someone for the first time with whom she’s had a business association by phone alone, but never met; she speaks ordinary RP, and so I always make a point of looking out for any sign of surprise on the part of the individual she’s meeting face to face for the first time.

    We all have preconceived ideas to a certain extent, and the only way round them is to get to know people.

    But of course that’s sometimes difficult for new immigrants, especially if there’s some kind of malign influence within the family or community; as there appears to be at present among certain communities in the UK, Denmark, France, and elsewhere in Europe.

    At the Notting Hill Carnival I was once asked by a black Trinidadian: “What are you doing here white man?

    But I have friends who come from that island, and I know how they love winding people up, so I took it in good part! A couple of seconds after saying it the guy burst out laughing.

    Meet people, that’s the answer!



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  • their motivation

    There is no doubt at this point that the existence of the Israeli apartheid is the number one most motivating factor for recruitment in all the various fundamentalist Islamist groups. Whether Sunni or Shia, they all agree on this one thing. Some of our well known fellow atheists make the effort to unweave the herculean knot of what is motivated by Islam and what is motivated by historic geopolitics, (always strongly emphasizing the writings of the Koran of course) but to my mind, they can’t be unwoven. I question the motivations of those who blame this whole mess on “crazy stupid Muslims” and their evil sacred texts. There are plenty of atheists who are also zionists out there and I am wary of their loyalties.

    By the way, I saw on the news yesterday that Israel has just annexed a large chunk of Palestinian land again. I was mostly surprised by the fact that they showed it on the American media at all. Not surprised that they grabbed the land of course. We know that it’s just a matter of time before the map will show no trace of Palestine at all.

    I expect that the Europeans here are familiar with this information. The times that I’ve been in Brussels and Paris were an eye opener as to how much information comes through your media about the situation than what we get here in the US, which is basically nothing. The average American is completely ignorant as to what’s going on there. If I ask them to find Palestine on the map they will look around the Middle East section and when they don’t find it they will start looking on a different continent. What do you bet?!! I actually have asked, “How long has the state of Israel been in existence?” Answer: “Oh, two or five thousand years! A really long time like in the Bible.” Ohhhh wowwwww. Ok then.

    contempt for European culture in general,

    I do agree with this and would extend it to Western culture and now I’m even thinking that we can extend it to basically all cultures except for their own. The freedom and equality of Western women is intolerable to the conservative and reactionary Muslims, especially those who are still back in the old countries. They get away with this bullshit when in the West too and especially if they are in a large insular community with weak support systems from the outside community. When the Islamists start to bully the outside community for special privileges and demand respect for their stone age justice and parade around wearing statements of political Islam then I feel within my rights to say that they consider their own culture (including religion) to be superior to all others and that they have no intention of assimilating.

    The reason I said that it’s not just Western culture that sets them off is because they find Hindus and Buddhists to be an abomination as well. Hindus for their polytheism and Buddhists for being vaguely atheistic. These groups are just beyond the pale for them. Jews are considered to be “of the book” and if not for the disaster that is Israel, they (I speculate) could have continued to live together well enough. Not a perfect picture, but acceptable to both groups. I have discussed this situation with my late Algerian mother-in-law when she was alive and she told me that before the Algerian revolution there was a large Jewish community in North Africa and families of both religions were good and decent neighbors. That’s a long gone thing now though.

    preconceived ideas

    Your story made me laugh. We have plenty of those too. So funny. I’ll tell you this one:
    When my youngest daughter, Anissa went off to her college dorm room for the first time with us helping her to move in, one of the roommates, on introduction said, “Oh! Are you Anissa? I thought you would be black!” This stunned us as we realized she must have been expecting an American black Muslim in full hejab or something. After that they went out for a beer together. Problem solved. 😉



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  • where I am in Blighty

    http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows//blog/2014/08/brits-call-u-k-blighty

    Blighty comes out of feelings like these. It’s an affectionate nickname for Britain (or more specifically England) taken from the height of the Victorian rule of India, that was first used in the Boer War in Africa, and popularized on the fields of Western Europe in the First World War.

    The Oxford English Dictionary says that the word is a distortion of a distortion: the Urdu word vilayati either means foreign, British, English or European, and it became a common term for European visitors to India during the 1800s. A mishearing changed the v to a b, and then bilayati became Blighty, as a term to describe British imports from home, such as soda water. There again, it was also claimed by Rupert Graves that it derives from the Hindustani word for home: blitey.

    Well I learn something new every day. I thought, I’ll just google map that Blighty place and see where he lives. Come to find out it’s not on the map. 😀

    Soooo…it’s not related to the insult that you all throw around calling someone a “blighter”? Like a blight on the crops? Is a blighter someone who causes crops to wither on the vine or just a person from England? Oh dear. This is not completely clear. o_O
    Do blighters live in Blighty? That is the question.

    Go ahead and roll your eyes. I don’t mind.



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  • Do blighters live in Blighty? That is the question.

    Most definitely, blighters live in Blighty. But not all those who live in Blighty are blighters. Those blighters that live in Blighty are a blight on the land, be sure, but the land of Blighty is not blighted by being overburdened with blighters. Rather then blighted better to say that Blighty is barely burdened by the blight of blighters. We are no more benighted by blighters in Blighty than the beggars within boundaries other than Blighty.

    I hope that clears up any misunderstanding.

    An example of a future test under the British Government’s new regime, perhaps?



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  • Wonderful and enlightening Stephen. So the next time in London I will announce my appreciation of the blighters of Blighty for their exemplary hospitality for which they are known around the world and also I won’t make that mistake again of asking for a frosted roll when I now know that it’s actually a hot cross bun.

    I’m making great progress and what more could anyone really ask for? 😉

    I’m now confident that I will pass that blighters’ citizenship test with flying colors, thanks to you.



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  • You displeased me on the PC thread, but perhaps I misunderstood what you wrote. Miracles do occur, in spite of what atheists (such as myself) say.
    Laurie, my mother’s working on a sequel to the book you read. First sentence: “From the shadows of Nazi Germany, a genius has emerged: my beloved son Dan.”
    🙂



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  • LaurieB
    Jan 23, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Wonderful and enlightening Stephen. So the next time in London I will announce my appreciation of the blighters of Blighty

    The blighters around London are not noted for their understanding of “foreign” languages! 🙂

    During the second world war, my father in law had to help Southern English RAF officers who could not understand recruits from the north of Scotland, by acting as a translator. – being educated and from Glasgow, he was able to transition the language barrier!!!!!



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  • just experience in foreign language classes – both sides of the table (I’ve a CELTA TEFL)

    can’t assert that it’s true – just my feeling

    a lot depends on how different the language is to the mother tongue – some languages are so different that a learner can not even “hear” much of the specific phonemes – especially finals. If a language shares most of the vowels (and diphthongs etc) and consonants and has a similar or simpler grammar structure it’s less difficult

    Kids pick up pretty quick though if they are already fluent in their first language most seem never to lose their accent – quite a range there though

    Also experience with ex-pats trying to learn their new home’s language. After they’re about mid 30s seems to me that it falls back to whether they have a natural talent for languages – or maybe it’s IQ – again it depends on which language they are trying to learn

    i’ve met a few people who started difficult languages older and succeeded but they were very bright and worked pretty hard at it and did full immersion

    i’m talking about getting to true conversational ability not proficiency in getting around – most can get that far but again it varies

    i assume too that being alone in a new language environment makes a big difference – being forced to learn makes a big difference but it’s still uphill if the language varies widely in such things as use of idiom

    i can speak my wife’s language but as soon as her brothers get a bit drunk they revert to very local dialect which is not only quite different to both their daily use of the same dialect and the national dialect but it is like a string of idioms and vernacular (and rude words) and i just get totally lost

    p



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  • Hi Peak Oil Poet,

    Many thanks for the link – it was rather dull, in both senses of the word.

    Cameron’s essay introducing the policy is behind a corporate paywall. Democracy aye, who needs that.

    I was, however, able to see that the headline is “We won’t let women be second-class citizens” and that the first paragraph supported that headline as the main theme.

    Now, before I begin to appear naïve, I understand that there is far more to the policy than that, and that it lays a foundation for future policies that could be racist.

    Nevertheless Cameron, working with the World’s best and most unscrupulous propagandist’s at News Corp – as fully itemised by Leveson, has recognised that his policy has an upside. Many of us are pleasantly surprised that he found the time to dissemble rather than just outright lie.

    To return to the The Conversation column you linked to by Frank Monaghan, a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Language at the Open University.

    Mr. Monaghan begins his diatribe thus:

    As a researcher studying the teaching of English as an additional language, my main problem with the proposal is the underlying assumption that if mothers could only speak English fluently then their children would not become radicalised.

    This summary of Mr. Monaghan’s own thesis is immediately notable for its obvious weaknesses. He has begun with an appeal to authority and, no slouch at self-promoting hubris, his own ‘authority’ to boot.

    Monaghan’s projected authority is difficult to square with his actual, undoubted, expertise. See here under the tabs Research Interests and Current Research.

    The policy objective debated here at RDFRS is the one of sociology: The long term integration of immigrants. Monaghan has already made clear that this is not included in his analysis.

    Indeed, I’m rather inclined to agree with Mr. Monaghan that any proposed direct link between monoglot mothers and offspring with extremist religio-political views is cobblers – but unlike Monaghan I don’t pretend to know and, apparently, unlike Monaghan I’ve actually looked at the nuances of the policy proposal.

    Aside from a spattering of anecdote Mr. Monaghan offers one study: Might Depression, Psychosocial Adversity, and Limited Social Assets Explain Vulnerability to and Resistance against Violent Radicalisation?, by Bhui, Everitt & Jones.

    That study concluded:

    Vulnerability to radicalisation is characterised by depression but resistance to radicalisation shows a different profile of health and psychosocial variables. The paradoxical role of social capital warrants further investigation

    Social capital is a measure (as I understand it) of the value of all of our social networks – the people we know; family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, club mates, other members of our local church / mosque / temple and so on … Social capital is linked to the norm of reciprocity.

    The norm of reciprocity is the expectation that people we know well will return benefits for benefits, and either indifference or hostility to our misbehaviour. The social norm of reciprocity is different for different cultures, but we’re all human so there’s broad consensus.

    To quote Bhui, Everitt and Jones:

    Resistance to radicalisation measured by condemnation of violent protest and terrorism was associated with larger number of social contacts

    Mr. Monaghan does not say how this study relates to his own, distinctly different, areas of research.

    Mr. Monaghan then goes on to have a long moan about ESOL ([study courses on] English for Speakers of Other Languages). ESOL is a subject that Monaghan has said he is not neutral on. He makes the important point that ESOL funding was previously cut, so the Government is confused on the importance of ESOL.

    In Monaghan’s mind this is hypocrisy. An alternative explanation is that further consideration has led the Government to simply change its collective mind. This is ironic, to be sure, but certainly not hypocritical.

    By this point I really don’t like Monaghan. He has dissembled, if not outright lied, and he is cross with the Government for specious reasons.

    At best Monaghan has wasted a considerable amount of our time with some special pleading.

    I would have much preferred to see Monaghan laying out a factual case:

    190,000 Of Muslim women in Britain, or 22%, speak little or no English despite many having lived here for decades (i.e are incapable of increasing their social capital)
    60% of women of a Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage are economically inactive (i.e. have little social capital)
    Naz Shah, a Muslim member of parliament welcomed the plans: “Too many children in Bradford and elsewhere are starting school with no English because it is not spoken at home” (i.e. Young Muslims start with two disadvantages for building social capital – their own linguistic isolation, and indirect – their parents linguistic isolation and subsequent poor social capital)
    Two highlights from a study by British Muslims themselves: 6% struggle to speak English, 20% are in full time employment – two reasons to be concerned about their social capital, and their subsequent resistance to radicalisation (particularly as 33% of British Muslims are young)

    The Prime Minister is quoted, outside the paywall in the actual democratic arena, thus:

    I am not saying separate development or conservative religious practices directly cause extremism

    I’m grateful to you, Peak Oil Poet, for linking to the study. It puts into formal terms what I’ve said – based only on my more shaky personal experience – all along.

    You linked to that study via Monghan’s piece, however, and that grates. Monaghan conspicuously ignores facts that are inconvenient to him venting his emotionally charged, fact free, spleen onto what is clearly a very sensible policy.

    The British Government’s policy is aimed at reducing the problems of cultural isolation and improving British Muslims social capital.

    Peace.



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  • Hi Peak Oil Poet,

    Something I find is often not understood, or even known: Publications, particularly online, live or die by attention..

    Most people seem to think that the important measure of a publication is how much money it makes. But as many have discovered the hard way, even old media hands, you can take a successful publication – one that gets the attention of many – and kill it by attempting to monetise it in the wrong way.

    Until you linked to it I had never heard of The Conversation.

    How does your forecast that my posting an honest opinion there would generate hostility build in me the confidence that The Conversation supports fact-based, critically examined, democratic, debate?

    All you have done is reinforced my initial impression that The Conversation publishes partisan pieces of political theatre with appeals to dogma.

    To go back to The Conversation would be to give them what they crave: The online equivalent of the oxygen of publicity – my attention. Why would I do that?

    Peace.



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  • Hi Stephen

    i commented something akin to what you have written above on The Conversation and got banned for life 🙂

    And my posts deleted.

    Incidentally, they were government funded and the funding was withdrawn leaving them looking at having to close down. I do not know how they survived that.

    p



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