Thursday, March 29, 2012

How Islam became a scapegoat for the problems of immigrationm - By Ed West - THE TELEGRAPH, UK

Ed West

Ed West is a journalist and social commentator who specialises in politics, religion and low culture. He is @edwestonline on Twitter.

How Islam became a scapegoat for the problems of immigration

By Religion Last updated: March 28th, 2012

1270 Comments Comment on this article
Woman in a burqa Not in fact the enemy

Something I wrote last week about Islam caused a bit of a stir, with one conservative blogger wondering if I had been threatened with beheading. The great Mark Steyn even wrote: “I’m sad to see the usually perceptive Ed West of the London Telegraph planting his flag on this wobbling blancmange.” Considering I am Mark Steyn’s biggest fan in the whole wide world, complete with a wall covered with pictures of him and a tattoo of his face on my chest, that’s left me with some mixed feelings.

And yet I still believe that Islam has become something of a scapegoat for the problems associated with mass immigration, and here’s why.

Conservatism is all about protecting the community from radical change; that is why conservatives tend to oppose large-scale immigration, which alters the social fabric in a huge way.

Yet from the 1960s to the 1990s, both in Britain and the US, conservatives lost this argument, despite overwhelming public support. They lost because they lost the intellectual justification for group solidarity or “parochial altruism” against post-war radical universalism, to the extent that normal human feelings were redefined as forms of mental illness. Defeat. Until Islam came along, allowing conservatives to make arguments using language that liberals would permit.

Mass immigration brings enormous social costs, most of which are borne by the working classes, who in England have been shafted by an experiment in which they had no say and which was instigated by people far richer and more privileged than them. People are, understandably, uneasy about it.

But although many of the more intelligent people behind some “anti-jihad” groups are genuinely horrified by certain Islamic attitudes to women, homosexuality or Jews, to suggest that most people go on English Defence League marches for these reasons strikes me as absurd. Most people oppose large-scale immigration from countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia not because of Islam but because the newcomers are alien to them and their arrival disrupts their neighbourhood and life. These are understandable human feelings, but people are unable to articulate them without committing a thought crime.

So instead the problems of mass immigration are blamed on Islam, including the problems associated with immigrants themselves.

Take Mohammed Merah, the Toulouse killer; before becoming an Islamist he had a long, long record of juvenile crime, with 15 convictions behind him. He discovered religion while in prison, just like many British Islamists, such as shoebomber Richard Reid; many others became radicalised through gang involvement and crime, such as Germaine Lindsay. These were not ordinary young men corrupted by the Prophet Mohammed.

Islamism is political; it attracts angry, extreme, violent young men from the immigrant underclass who find others willing to justify their thirst for violence, by using holy texts. Merah’s justification – “you killed my brothers, I kill you” – are not words of faith but naked tribalism.

Conservatism’s obsession with Islam is partly a reaction to multiculturalism, which holds that all religions are basically the same. This is untrue, as anyone with even a middling understanding of history can appreciate: the current moral order that emerged from the West, the world of the Enlightenment, the UN and human rights, stems from Christianity. No other religion could have produced it – not Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, because none have Christianity’s concept of the individual. Christianity is essentially a union of Hellenic and Hebrew civilisations, the greatest marriage that ever took place.

Islam, in contrast, lacks not just Western concepts of the individual but also Christianity's historic separation of the state and religion. 

There is also no doubt that Islam has a very ambiguous attitude to violence in its name.

The religion desperately needs reform, but it is not incapable of it, and huge numbers of Muslims happily set aside the more unpalatable passages of their holy texts, just as Jews and Christians do. For middle-class British Muslims the popular idea that they practise some sort of political-religious death cult must strike them as bizarre, so removed from the actual practice of their religion.
The problem is not Islam, but the movement of peoples across the world, and the conflict this produces. One estimate suggests that although Islamic terrorists around the world typically fit no profile, in terms of age and education, 80 per cent are immigrants or the sons of immigrants. The problem with mass immigration is not Islam, but mass immigration, which creates the ghettos from where sectarianism thrives.

The huge movements of recent years have made Islam and Christianity an anchor of identity to people in Europe. The EDL are essentially a Christianist group, but the sentiments behind sectarianism and nationalism are the same. One cannot blame sectarianism on religion any more than one can blame nationalism on language – it just is. (It’s not as if the Shankill butchers were forever discussing Calvin and Luther on their nights out.)

Besides which, many of the “Islamic” customs which people object to have little or nothing to do with Islam. Forced marriages are a south Asian custom, one that radical Islamists oppose for being too Hindu. Honour killings have been a custom in many Christian cultures (the first in recent European history was carried out by a Palestinian Christian), but Christians no longer practise this barbarity for the same reason that British Hindus don’t – because they are urban, sophisticated, wealthy and educated. Many Pakistanis from rural Mirpur are not. But it's rather impolite to criticise a national culture; easier just to say “Islam”.

Of course religions plays a part – Middle Eastern and south Asian Christians assimilate far easier, but you can’t blame Islam for all dysfunctional cultural characteristics. Many west Africans have brought over religious and cultural practices that are as awful as anything from Pakistan, but because they’re Christians this attracts less attention here.

Islamophobia is a very dubious term because it is used to describe both legitimate criticism of a religion, and anti-Muslim hostility. But that’s not to say that sectarianism does not exist; the irony is that it has become acceptable partly because conservatives have been unable to articulate decent and legitimate opposition to mass immigration in the first place.

As Christopher Caldwell once put it: “Islam is a magnificent religion that has also been, at times over the centuries, a glorious and generous culture. But, all cant to the contrary, it is in no sense Europe’s religion and in no sense Europe’s culture.”

The problem has been in trying to make it Europe’s. But if anyone thinks mass immigration would have been fine had it not been for a man living in seventh-century Arabia, they're as much of a utopian as any liberal.


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  • Curious conflation of two different things by Ed West.
    Uncontrolled mass immigration of any groups causes its own problems for pragmatic, numerical reasons alone. But that is a wholly distinct issue and discussion as compared to the *culture* of a particular bloc of immigrants; one which in its most authentic and 'vibrant' form, undermines and militates against its own liberals. This simple fact cannot be overstated.

  • Sorry, Ed, I have to disagree with you on this subject.  The problem with immigration stems from one aspect only - failure to integrate.  By integration I mean that those newcomers should do everything possible to blend in with the society they have just joined.  And, when looked at from this angle, it is obvious that Islam proves more problematic than other faiths or cultures.  People in western countries baulk at the covering up of women when their menfolk dress like the rest of us.  Consider places of worship.  There are synagogues all over Britain, but how many people are aware of them?  They are discreet.  Their worshippers are discreet (except for tiny groups of Orthodox Jews, who I group in with fundamental Islamists as sources of friction.  Now look at local mosques and their followers.  Many now have radical preachers who foment discord and hatred towards the very society which has absorbed them and in many cases, houses, feeds and clothes them.  Compare the average Muslim family to the average Hindi family.  The latter mix more freely with ordinary British folk and inter-marriage is much more common.  They want to speak English and encourage their children to work hard at school.  It's exactly the same here in France.  Children whose families hail from India are hard-working, pleasant and respectful.  Those who hail from the Magreb are often chippy, resentful, sullen and lazy and many consider Arabic to be the superior language of the world and are amazed when told that it would do them more good to improve their English!  This lack of integration is what causes the distrust and fear among indigenous peoples.  It is inexcusable and you shouldn't be trying to defend it.

  • ChooseJesus
    14 minutes ago
    'The religion desperately needs reform, but it is not incapable of it, and huge numbers of Muslims happily set aside the more unpalatable passages of their holy texts, just as Jews and Christians do. '. Ed, don't you know that if you remove anything from Koran you become an infidel! So what you suppose isn't possible. And for us Christians we didn't set aside any passage. We are just not blindly believing what the priests or bishops are saying. Because we can read Bible in our own mother tongue. Where as in Koran if you want to have the real meaning you have to read it in that period's Arabic.

  • AntonyUK1
    15 minutes ago
    There is a undeniable need for a government that will proscribe Islam in this country. The situation is dire. There is no way that the aims, goals, and intents of those who push Islam into our Christian-based society and culture can ever be moderated or accommodated. It is akin to trying to meld and accept a totally alien culture from some planet deep in space.  There is NOTHING about this politicised and anti Western ideology that can be seen as anything other than a hideous threat and enemy. Strong words - yes. Necessary - Absolutely they are - despite what the fool Livingstone says. I mean, Livingstone. I wouldn't trust him a single inch. He is no friend of Britain.

  • Islam has changed during the last 20 years, into a intolerant and violant, even towards Muslims who are perceived as 'bad Muslims'.
    It's all due to Gulf petro dollars in promoting this phenomena. 20 years ago in East London, hardly any Muslim girl used to wear hijab and even rarer, the niqab the face mask, amongst the young. Now almost all Muslim girls and women wear hijab in East London and the steady rise of young educated women, wearing the niqab has exploded. Who has been this funding campaign?

  • Oh dear, Ed. Islam a scapegoat?  Well done - you're helping to reinforce the already heightened sense of grievance Muslims have - and this in spite of the Establishment bending over backwards to make them feel "included" all at the expense of the indigenous citizens of this country.
    You show how out of touch you are when you say that Muslims happily set aside those parts of their religion that are unpalatable. Do they, indeed? Muslims, if they are "true" Muslims, must follow their koran to the letter, and that includes making war on unbelievers. They don't have to physically harm them, but physical harm can be done as a means to an end - and that end is to make the West Muslim.

    When will people like you - who are influential in that their articles are read by many, realise that it's we non-Muslim Brits who are the scapegoats? We have to suffer our what's left of our indigenous culture being eroded daily by the steady onslaught of Islamic practices, intimidating dress, and the sheer inconvenience of having people in our midst who go out of their way to undermine what we stand for, all aided and abetted by  happy clappy, celebrate diversity at all costs idiots.

    You should have thought carefully before you wrote this. If you open your eyes and look around you you'll realise how Islam and its adherents have adversely affected the good that immigration can do. Islam and Muslims add to the dynamic of this country in a negative way, unlike other immigrants. What's more they're not shy about cynically taking on board the "democratic" practices that help them: money from the State, and the laxity of our immigration laws.

    Another example is the way they use their mosques as a symbol of triumphalism and domination of the area around where they're built.  Once a mosque goes up - and many of its neighbours are only aware of it after planning permission has been granted - all the things that go with Islamic practice comes with it - illegal parking, and the attendant abuse given when neighbours make them aware of it, the noise and the inconvenience of crowded residential streets when they arrive to pray five times a day. This often leads the non-Muslim neighbours to move away, and so the scene is set for Muslim only areas.  It can be stopped by writing letters of objection to the council. All it takes is keeping an eye on the online weekly planning lists on the councils' planning sites.

    So, Ed, and others - wake up and smell the coffee, will you? As I said earlier - it's people like us, non-Muslim, aware of how our own right to self-determination is being undermined, who are the scapegoats.

  • I think Ed might be sectrely converted, or in Love with a Muslim girl.
    As a liberal Muslim myself, I have seen how Militant and intolerant Islam has become not only a threat to a liberal society but also has creatied rifts and transformed the once peaceful Muslim community who arrived from Asia in 70s and 60s, at that time Muslim immigrants were not obsessed with their religon, as now, have been brainwashed and targetted by Arab revivalist of Islam, with their petro dollars.
    Look at other immigrants; Hindus, Sikhs and Chinese no problems there. Ed should know better.

  • As your prophet said :
    " Preach peace when we are weak , but when we are strong make war "
    The once peaceful Muslim immigrants in the 60s and 70s were peaceful because there were not sufficient numbers of them to make trouble .

  • As I mentioned, the Islam they practiced at that time, was peaceful and no where near as violant and intolerant as now. In fact many muslims were beaten by racist thugs and still they were restrained.
    You got to kick out those fanatics and their supporters, but Britain is dumb.

  • Ed, when you're in a hole, it's generally better to stop digging.

  • The majority of muslims did not choose to be muslim but were born into it and are kept there by the barbaric laws on apostasy for which the penalty for a muslim leaving Islam is death .
    Mohammed himself said : "If a man leave his religion ( Islam) KILL HIM" How can that be ' re-interpreted ' to mean something benign?
    Ex- muslims are some of the bravest and courageous people on the planet .Rejecting Islam means that their lives are forever in danger .
    One can understand why less courageous , spineless muslims ,   trapped within their evil cult , are envious and bitter seeing the freedoms and happiness of  non- muslims want to lash out at us and make us suffer as they do .

  • Dr Stephen Oppenheimer on the Origins of the British.

  • The question that is never answered is 'long term, how does Britain and British culture benefit from mass immigration'?
    There appears to be only one unspoken answer- to lower employment costs. This scape-goating of one section of society is wrong. Blame the people who are letting them in without explanation.

  • I think EdWest needs to get out more.Perhaps he could take a trip to Holland and talk to Geert Wilders about the problems the Dutch have with  Islamic  immigrants.

    And then he could come home and read up on Islam . Rifling through the pages of-Salam Rushdies"Satanic  Verses" would be
    a good start.
    Clearly the B.B.C and related left-wing  , pro-Muslim propaganda machines have influenced his thinking.Sad to see an apparently intelligent human being swallow their garbage wholesale ,without the slightest attempt at critical thought.

  • PatriotRG
    5 minutes ago
    i don't think we should wait that long

  • The unfortunate thing about this issue is that only 10% of the British population will openly subscribe to the views almost exclusively expressed in this blog.

    The others are:

    1)      Too afraid to say anything
    2)      In denial – head in the sand
    3)      Too thick to understand
    4)      Are programmed not to be “racist” – and to worship foreigners
    5)      Too lazy to understand
    6)      Live in areas away from immigrant populations – at the moment!
    7)      Already converted to Islam
    8)      Guardian Readers or fans of the BBC

    So everyone may as well save their breath because nothing will ever happen and the country will eventually become Moslem.  Enjoy.

  • This country has seen pogroms before. How many would like to see another now? You can ask the audience, phone a friend or go 50/50. All vote now....

  • When was the last pogrom in England?
    Was it less than 400 years ago?
    Or was it in the twelve hundreds?
    How often have we recieved refugees from pogroms this last 400 years?

  • "Many west Africans have brought over religious and cultural practices that are as awful as anything from Pakistan, but because they’re Christians this attracts less attention here."
    No Ed - theres firstly only been a few witchcraft killings, and secondly they only affect their own community.
    People get riled when their own community is facing racism: grooming cases against white girls is one of them. Black crime too which is out of proportion with their representation in the population.
    Very much agree large scale immigration of any kind is the problem. But people are annoyed with you for not noting that Islam has written in its constitution to convert areas to Sharia that it moves into. Its like a disease which doesn't recognise borders.

  • bundamba
    Today 11:08 AM
    Totally agree with you regarding muslims bobsmyth.

  • You always have to look for root causes.
    The trouble is, the root cause is often obscure while the symptoms are obvious - otherwise they wouldn't be symptoms!
    Foolish people (which includes all of the Left-wing plus - it seems - Mr West) look to the symptoms and not the cause.
    The root cause of our troubles with immigrants is fairly simple.
    People are different. If skin colour can be different, if races can be susceptible to different medical conditions, isn't it certain that something  as complex as the brain will differ also?
    The problem with immigrants from outside Europe is simple. They are different to us.
    The other problem is our instinct to fight. This seems to be common to all races and as basic to our human condition as two arms and two legs. People will fight over practically anything - the football team they support or even - and I have seen this - over which beer is best.
    But despite this we have engineered a situation where people with totally different values and understanding of what life is and life is for, are living cheek by jowl. And all the time - deep down - raring for a fight.
    And people are surprised that there is no integration, no coming together, no peace and no harmony. Instead there is tension, hatred and barely suppressed aggression.
    The anti-racists are fools, cretins and deadbeats of the worst kind.
    They have subjected the people of this country to centuries - perhaps eternal - conflict. This is not a continuation of the history of human kind - fighting alien people living miles away; but fighting - by one means or another - with the people next door, in our schools, in our hospitals.
    We (well not me, but the cretins who rule over us) have created not utopia but dystopia and eternal civil war. It will never end.
    Anyone who is not a racist (genuinely not racist and not just bending to our anti-democratic, no free speech mad-house we live in now) is a fool.
    Pakistan is like Pakistan because it is populated by Pakistanis. If anyone can tell me another reason why Pakistan is like Pakistan I would be pleased to hear it. Unfortunately, the more Pakistanis we have living in Britain the mor

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