The burqa does not empower women.
The existence of places in the UK where individual liberty is under threat from fundamentalist extremists is a national disgrace. Thirty men stormed a gay pub in Tower Hamlets and savagely assaulted the occupants; women have been threatened with assault and even murder if they refuse to wear the veil; east London mosques are blatantly hiring radical preachers who call Jews 'animals' and call for homosexuals to be executed. Even Muslims who do not conform to the most extreme interpretation of their beliefs are liable to being beaten up by gangs of Islamist radicals.
And everyone with the ability to do something about it - whether that is picking up a pen, changing the law, or enforcing laws currently in existence - are carrying on, blissfully unaware of the problem, or try as hard as they can to ignore it. We build giant monuments to the burqa, that famous symbol of 'female empowerment,' whilst women are being forced to wear it against their will on pain of imprisonment or beatings.
There are those that claim that posters that advertise a 'gay-free zone' are the work of the far-right, even when a young Muslim radical was caught with them in his possession, and released without charge. The police, according to reports by several Muslims who have reported crime and one local councillor, do absolutely nothing about the issue - even when the offences take place in the public gallery of the town hall, or on a city street in broad daylight.
It's no wonder that Islamist radicals feel emboldened. I'm not going to stand with the few genuine racists on this issue, who say that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. There are a lot more moderate Muslims than there are extremists. They're the ones you'll see having a quiet drink in a pub with friends - even if it is just orange juice - and giving and receiving Christmas presents. They are out there. But radical Muslims also exist - and, whereas I am more than willing to admit the presence of moderates and to speak in their defence, the defenders of mass-immigration and multiculturalism, and all the various institutions that have ignored their rise, are not willing to admit that radicals exist. Not only is this an indefensible position given that the vast majority of terror plots discovered in the UK, although often logistically and financially supported from Pakistan, were intended to be carried out by British-born radicals, it is also dangerous; the longer we ignore the presence of extremism in British cities, the more brazen the extremists become.
In order to tackle extremism, we must first tackle the social conditions in which extremism arises. The problem, in my opinion, is monolingual, monocultural ghettoes. Compare the extremism of different generations of Muslim immigrants to see where I'm coming from. In 2009, a survey was conducted in various cities across the United Kingdom: based on over two thousand detailed interviews over a two-year period, the report, funded by George Soros (which may, understandably, affect its reliability in the eyes of some of the readers of this blog) concluded that, overall, British Muslims were the best integrated in Europe. 78% of Muslims identified themselves as British.
There was also a significant difference in the popularity of extremism among the different age groups, though, and this is what is important. While older Muslims do not countenance extremist views in any form, Muslims under thirty-five have different opinions. Take for example, the statistic that one in three Muslim students in the UK think that killing in the name of religion is justified, as discovered by an ICM poll for the Daily Telegraph. A Populus poll found that thirteen per cent of young Muslims said that they 'admired' organisations such as al-Qaeda. About twenty per cent of over-fifties would prefer to live under sharia law, compared to almost forty per cent of those under twenty-five. Munira Mirza has the right of it when she blames multiculturalism for the problem: 'the emergence of a strong Muslim identity in Britain is, in part, a result of multi-cultural policies implemented since the 1980s which have emphasised difference at the expense of shared national identity and divided people along ethnic, religious and cultural lines.'
The key difference between the older generation of Muslims and those new to the country is that the older generation had to integrate. They had to learn English and to take on a British identity, and were thus exposed to mainstream society - a society that many of them did become active and valued members of. However, the newcomers do not have to integrate. Due to multiculturalism, which encourages other identities and other languages, Muslims from the same national community (for example, Bangladeshis) have congregated in certain areas and have transplanted the local culture with their own.
They speak their own language - many of them monolingual, others simply unwilling to communicate - and have no exposure to the outside world at all. There are Islamic schools with Saudi curriculums. There are Islamic radio stations. There are Islamic television channels. Nowhere does mainstream British - or, if you like, multicultural - society penetrate their world. Extremist Islam is growing here not because of some innate tendency of Muslims towards jihad, but simply because it is unchallenged, and, due to monolingualism and monoculturalism - actively promoted, ironically, by the doctrine of multiculturalism in order to foster 'diversity' - it is the only option available to many of the inhabitants.
The extremists must lose their hold on the local communities, and, for that to happen, action must be taken to open up these ghettoes to mainstream society; prevent the publication of official documents in any language other than English, impose a two-child limit or child benefit, and ban those who incite violence - jihad, the execution of gays, abuse of women - from mosques and withdraw any public funding that these institutions may have had if they are found to have harboured extremist views.