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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Trevor Phillips on 'What British Muslims Really Think'

I watched a shocking television programme in April, presented by Trevor Phillips, a man of whom I have always had a high opinion, all the more so recently when I learned that he regularly clashed and disagreed with Ken Livingstone when they were both part of the London Assembly.

Trevor Phillips

Phillips was born in Islington, one of ten children born of immigrant parents from British Guyana (South America). He spent his childhood both in Guyana and Wood Green, north London and read Chemistry at Imperial. He became president of the National Union of Students, chairman of the Runnymede Trust, the London Arts Board, and ran as for London Mayor. He was a close friend of Peter Mandleson and Tony Blair and joined the Labour party in 1996. He was made an OBE for his services to British Broadcasting, was head of the Commision for Racial Equality and was awarded Chevalier de La L├ęgion 'd'Honneur by the French government for his work there. Plus plenty of other stuff!

So when I saw the Phillips was presenting a Channel 4 programme called 'What British Muslims Really Think', I knew it would be a serious piece of journalism. And I was in for a shock. Phillips believes that we need to act now and act fast if we wish to preserve British Values for future generations.

The programme used evidence collected in a high quality piece of research conducted by ICM. The programme makers and the researchers went out of their way to stress the validity and quality of the data (particularly after many polls have been discredited recently due to inaccuracy). The shocking and astonishing findings were as follows:
  • 52% of the Muslims surveyed said they believe homosexuality should be illegal, compared to 22% of non-Muslim Britons
  • Almost a third (31%) of British Muslims think polygamy should be legalised. Among 18-to-24-year-olds, 35% think it is acceptable to have more than one wife.
  • 39% of Muslims surveyed believe women should always obey their husbands compared to 5% for non-Muslims. One in three British Muslims refuse completely to condemn the stoning of women accused of adultery.
  • 35% believe Jewish people have too much power in the UK, compared to 8% of non-Muslims.
  • 4% — the equivalent of more than 100,000 British Muslims — told the researchers that they had sympathy for people who take part in suicide bombing to fight injustice. Asked if they knew that someone was involved with supporting terrorism in Syria, just one in three would report it to the police.
  • 23% of British Muslims said Islamic Sharia law should replace British law in areas with large Muslim populations.

Phillips wrote that the poll reveals "the unacknowledged creation of a nation within the nation, with its own geography, its own values and its own very separate future." He added: "I thought Europe's Muslims would gradually blend into the landscape. I should have known better."

Phillips was referring to his role in commissioning the 1997 report, "Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All." Also known as the Runnymede Report, the document popularised the term "Islamophobia" in Britain and had a singular role in silencing criticism of mass immigration from the Muslim world. Twenty years later, Phillips now concedes that he has had a change of heart.

He went on to say "Liberal-minded Muslims have been saying for some time that our live-and-let-live attitudes have allowed a climate to grow in which extremist ideas have flourished within Britain's Muslim communities. Our politicians have tried to reassure us that only a tiny minority hold dangerous views."

"All the while, girls are shipped off to have their genitals mutilated, young women and men are being pressured into marriages they do not want, and teenagers are being seduced into donning suicide vests or becoming jihadi brides."

"We have 'understood' too much, and challenged too little — and in doing so are in danger of sacrificing a generation of young British people to values that are antithetical to the beliefs of most of us, including many Muslims."

"In my view, we have to adopt a far more muscular approach to integration than ever, replacing the failed policy of multiculturalism."

Phillips also warned that liberal Muslims are under attack and will soon be silenced through fear, accelerating the predominance of the views expressed here.

So what are we going to do and who is going to do it?

Phillips suggested that the key to resolving the issue is to start at school and to end the segregated schools we have today where many Muslims go to school from day one in schools where most of the other children are also Muslims and where the sort of behaviours that are not in line with British Values are encouraged, sometimes even forcefully. So let's scrap faith schools and make our education system secular. Long overdue.

I have another suggestion that may seem very odd to you, dear reader. In a few days time we have the election for London Mayor. Either Zac Goldsmith or Sadiq Khan will win. The other candidates either have no chance or are complete nut cases. Mr Goldsmith was born with a gold plated platinum spoon in his mouth and doesn't really understand Londoners' problems. He is out of line with the majority of the population saying we should leave the EU and he is Boris' natural successor. Mr Khan on the other hand is a Muslim of modest background and worked his way to an illustrious career as a Human Rights Lawyer. He is accused by his opposition of all sorts of inappropriate behaviours. I have no way of knowing if any of them are true. What I can see though is that Khan is a moderate Muslim, one of the few who has the cojones to condemn the radicals referred to in this blog. He has required police protection for doing so. 

What better way to condemn radicalism and encourage moderate, British behaviour, that by having Khan stand up, as the first Muslim Mayor of London, and advocate it?  

Sadiq Khan - The new Mayor of London?

'We have gone beyond the situation where we can say, 'they’ll come round'
Trevor Phillips, explaining that we can't just wait for a natural integration to occur.

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