With a rapidly growing Muslim population, how will governments in forty or fifty years defend our freedoms? As for “British Values”, will Islamic values not then be British values too?
The political and media debate on the alleged Islamist Trojan Horse infiltration of Birmingham schools reveals – like no other issue regarding Islam in Britain – a deep and long-held political fear in confronting the truth about the nature of Islam and large-scale Muslim immigration.
That truth – and it has been a concern of governments for some time – is that with Britain’s rapidly increasing Muslim population, the teaching of any culturally conservative interpretation of Islam (the bare minimum that any serious Muslim would insist on) is entirely incompatible with the secular, liberal and pluralistic values that define British society, and even perhaps incompatible with the long-term political stability of the country.
In pursuit of the multicultural dream that has dominated Western political culture since the end of the Second World War, the British political class turned a blind eye to this problem.
Even in the Birmingham case, it wasn’t the politicians who decided something was wrong. It was largely media attention to the problem that forced the politicians to take action.
The immediate issue with Birmingham’s Trojan Horse debacle is not the threat of Islamic terrorism, but the threat of an eventual cultural Balkanisation of the country as Muslim demographics increase and Muslims gradually assert their own deeply felt religious identity, particularly in the area of education.
What is happening in Birmingham today (and now Bradford, according to latest reports) will grow as the Muslim population grows. The government is deeply worried about the future, not just the present.
Yet this threat of eventual Balkanisation should come as no surprise.
Critics of heavy immigration and multiculturalism have been pointing out the problem for years, and I have in mind here not only the controversial Enoch Powell but perfectly reasonable types such as Ray Honeyford, hounded out of his job in the Eighties for pointing out what is now happening in Birmingham.
The unsurprising fact about Britain today is that over sixty years of heavy Muslim immigration, with strong help from a liberal agenda of multiculturalism, have resulted in the establishment of separate, some would say antagonistic, cultural identities in many of Britain’s cities.
Given the strength of Britain’s growing Muslim population and the strong demands of the Muslim faith, the inculcation of an Islamic ethos in Birmingham’s largely Muslim schools should come as no surprise.
As the journalist Peter Hitchens said, you cannot welcome large numbers of adherents of a certain religion and then get alarmed and panicky when they practise that religion.
Politicians such as Michael Gove and Theresa May – with Labour politicians standing on the sidelines pretending to be innocent— squabbled over who is responsible, as if the problems of Birmingham were a recent surprise event.