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Old January 29th, 2013, 04:38 PM   #1
Octoman
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Is multiculturalism still working in London?

I'll put my cards on the table. I am a big supporter of immigration. Economically and demographically we need it and by and large one of the best qualities of London is its healthy mixture of different people and cultures. I am married to once such immigrant and am raising a son to appreciate both his parents cultures.

However, the article below shook me because although my initial reaction was to consider it a racist rant, I can't help think that there is a genuine issue here. Is the melting pot turning into a mosaic? It is hard not to notice that different communities are becoming increasingly entrenched.

If it is a problem of perception we need to deal with it. If people wrongly feel they are being driven out of their homes we need to find a way of stopping them feeling that way. Just calling them a racist wont help at all. On the other hand, if we are seeing an entrenchment into ethnic ghettos we need to prevent that too. What we shouldn't do is simply throw the doors shut. We need immigration and we need it to work.

Just interested to hear what people living here think. Is it an issue at all? If so what should we do? Or are the people like the writer below simply xenophobic racists who are unable to adapt to a changing world?

Quote:
'I feel like a stranger where I live’

As new figures show 'white flight' from cities is rising, one Londoner writes a provocative personal piece about how immigration has drastically changed the borough where she has lived for 17 years

"When you go swimming, it’s much healthier to keep your whole body completely covered, you know.” The Muslim lady behind the counter in my local pharmacy has recently started giving me advice like this. It’s kindly meant and I’m always glad to hear her views because she is one of the few people in west London where I live who talks to me.

The streets around Acton, which has been my home since 1996, have taken on a new identity. Most of the shops are now owned by Muslims and even the fish and chip shop and Indian takeaway are Halal. It seems that almost overnight it’s changed from Acton Vale into Acton Veil.

Of the 8.17 million people in London, one million are Muslim, with the majority of them young families. That is not, in reality, a great number. But because so many Muslims increasingly insist on emphasising their separateness, it feels as if they have taken over; my female neighbours flap past in full niqab, some so heavily veiled that I can’t see their eyes. I’ve made an effort to communicate by smiling deliberately at the ones I thought I was seeing out and about regularly, but this didn’t lead to conversation because they never look me in the face.

I recently went to the plainly named “Curtain Shop” and asked if they would put some up for me. Inside were a lot of elderly Muslim men. I was told that they don’t do that kind of work, and was back on the pavement within a few moments. I felt sure I had suffered discrimination and was bewildered as I had been there previously when the Muslim owners had been very friendly. Things have changed. I am living in a place where I am a stranger.

I was brought up in a village in Staffordshire, and although I have been in London for a quarter of a century I have kept the habit of chatting to shopkeepers and neighbours, despite it not being the done thing in metropolitan life. Nowadays, though, most of the tills in my local shops are manned by young Muslim men who mutter into their mobiles as they are serving. They have no interest in talking to me and rarely meet my gaze. I find this situation dismal. I miss banter, the hail fellow, well met chat about the weather, or what was on TV last night.

More worryingly, I feel that public spaces are becoming contested. One food store has recently installed a sign banning alcohol on the premises. Fair enough. But it also says: “No alcohol allowed on the streets near this shop.” I am no fan of street drinking, and rowdy behaviour and loutish individuals are an aspect of modern British ''culture’’ I hate. But I feel uneasy that this shopkeeper wants to control the streets outside his shop. I asked him what he meant by his notice but he just smiled at me wistfully.

Perhaps he and his fellow Muslims want to turn the area into another Tower Hamlets, the east London borough where ''suggestive’’ advertising is banned and last year a woman was refused a job in a pharmacy because she wasn’t veiled.

On the other hand, maybe I should be grateful. At least in Acton there is just a sign in a shop. Since the start of the year there have been several reports from around London of a more aggressive approach. Television news footage last week showed incidents filmed on a mobile phone on a Saturday night, in the borough of Waltham Forest, of men shouting “This is a Muslim area” at white Britons.

The video commentary stated: “From women walking the street dressed like complete naked animals with no self-respect, to drunk people carrying alcohol, we try our best to capture and forbid it all.”

Another scene showed hooded youths forcing a man to drop his can of lager, telling him they were the “Muslim patrol” and that alcohol is a “forbidden evil”. The gang then approached a group of white girls enjoying a good night out, telling them to “forbid themselves from dressing like this and exposing themselves outside the mosque”.

Worse, though, is film footage from last week, thought to have been taken in Commercial Street, Whitechapel, which showed members of a group who also called themselves a “Muslim patrol” harassing a man who appeared to be wearing make‑up, calling him a “bloody fag”. In the video posted on YouTube last week, the passer-by is told he is “walking through a Muslim area dressed like a fag” and ordered to get out. Last Thursday, police were reported to have arrested five “vigilantes” suspected of homophobic abuse.

There are, of course, other Europeans in my area who may share my feelings but I’m not able to talk to them easily about this situation as they are mostly immigrants, too. At Christmas I spoke to an elderly white woman about the lack of parsnips in the local greengrocer, but she turned out to have no English and I was left grumbling to myself.

Poles have settled in Ealing since the Second World War and are well assimilated, but since 2004 about 370,000 east Europeans have arrived in London. Almost half the populations of nearby Ealing and Hammersmith were born outside the UK. Not surprisingly, at my bus stop I rarely hear English spoken. I realise that we can’t return to the time when buses were mainly occupied by white ladies in their best hats and gloves going shopping, but I do feel nostalgic for the days when a journey on public transport didn’t leave me feeling as if I have only just arrived in a strange country myself.

There are other “cultural differences” that bother me, too. Over the past year I have been involved in rescuing a dog that was kept in a freezing shed for months. The owners spoke no English. A Somali neighbour kept a dog that he told me he was training to fight, before it was stolen by other dog fighters. I have tried to re-home several cats owned by a family who refuse to neuter their animals, because of their religion.

In the Nineties, when I arrived, this part of Acton was a traditional working-class area. Now there is no trace of any kind of community – that word so cherished by the Left. Instead it has been transformed into a giant transit camp and is home to no one. The scale of immigration over recent years has created communities throughout London that never need to – or want to – interact with outsiders.

It wasn’t always the case: since the 1890s thousands of Jewish, Irish, Afro-Caribbean, Asian and Chinese workers, among others, have arrived in the capital, often displacing the indigenous population. Yes, there was hateful overt racism and discrimination, I’m not denying that. But, over time, I believe we settled down into a happy mix of incorporation and shared aspiration, with disparate peoples walking the same pavements but returning to very different homes – something the Americans call “sundown segregation”.

But now, despite the wishful thinking of multiculturalists, wilful segregation by immigrants is increasingly echoed by the white population – the rate of white flight from our cities is soaring. According to the Office for National Statistics, 600,000 white Britons have left London in the past 10 years. The latest census data shows the breakdown in telling detail: some London boroughs have lost a quarter of their population of white, British people. The number in Redbridge, north London, for example, has fallen by 40,844 (to 96,253) in this period, while the total population has risen by more than 40,335 to 278,970. It isn’t only London boroughs. The market town of Wokingham in Berkshire has lost nearly 5 per cent of its white British population.

I suspect that many white people in London and the Home Counties now move house on the basis of ethnicity, especially if they have children. Estate agents don’t advertise this self-segregation, of course. Instead there are polite codes for that kind of thing, such as the mention of “a good school”, which I believe is code for “mainly white English”. Not surprising when you learn that nearly one million pupils do not have English as a first language.

I, too, have decided to leave my area, following in the footsteps of so many of my neighbours. I don’t really want to go. I worked long and hard to get to London, to find a good job and buy a home and I’d like to stay here. But I’m a stranger on these streets and all the “good” areas, with safe streets, nice housing and pleasant cafés, are beyond my reach. I see London turning into a place almost exclusively for poor immigrants and the very rich.

It’s sad that I am moving not for a positive reason, but to escape something. I wonder whether I’ll tell the truth, if I’m asked. I can’t pretend that I’m worried about local schools, so perhaps I’ll say it’s for the chance of a conversation over the garden fence. But really I no longer need an excuse: mass immigration is making reluctant racists of us all.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...re-I-live.html
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Old January 29th, 2013, 05:16 PM   #2
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Interesting article, but, for the first time in a decade, I've noticed a surge of interest in the zone 1 flats that I manage from young English professionals wanting to live in central London. It used to be 90% foreigners.

There are a number of possible explanations. The most obvious is simply rising demand from natives. Another is that visas for non-EU citizens are much harder to come by these days (except by marriage, which is a different demographic). Another could in fact support your article. I must be one of the last Anglo-Saxon English property managers in central London. Perhaps Brits feel more comfortable signing contracts with a fellow native (ie me) than with managers with foreign names or accents? My familiarity makes the transition to the Big Smoke less scary somehow??
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Old January 29th, 2013, 06:11 PM   #3
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Nothing will be done until pseudo-liberals stop equating a pro-British stance to an anti-immigrant one, and finally accept that ethnic minorities are just as bigoted as Britons are. If you're passive, and allow any section of society to impose their own culture or values on anyone else - then they will do.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 06:53 PM   #4
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To be honest it sounds from that article that the issue is muslims, which I think to an extent is true. I haven't come across another immigrant group that is so closed off to others. Keep in mind the retarded medieval cultures these people hail from and it makes some sense. That said I have never had any issues with the muslim population in London. I would suggest to the writer that they try moving and experiencing a different part of London if she hates it. Things change quickly in a city like London. Obviously people shouldn't feel forced out if it is their community but equally they shouldn't fight change to keep their community set in stone as that simply isn't going to happen. In conclusion, retarded backwards cultures are retarded and people are allowed to move. The end.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 08:44 PM   #5
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Interesting article, which I read earlier. I am the son of immigrants so this issue resonates quite a lot with me. Both my parents were born and raised in India (although my Dad is half-English, so I'm a quarter English and 3 quarters Indian ethnically). My family is lucky enough to be comfortably well-off in India, so the reasons my parents moved here was not to find work, improve their life etc as they already had a good life back in India. My dad moved here when he was 20 because his English mother - who had lived in India for 30-odd years by that point - wanted to come back to England. My mum and dad had met in India before he left, so he went back there 5 years later and they ended up getting married. As my dad's job was here, my mum moved to London.

Anyway, moving on from my story. I think the issue of whether multi-culturalism is working or not really depends on the immigrant community you are talking about. The article above specifically refers to certain Muslim communities, and I think she has a point. Many, but not all, Muslim immigrants into this country are from orthodox, very conservative backgrounds. Culturally they will tend to mix much less well because of this. This may also be true of some people from eastern Europe - although again, not all by any means. As many eastern European immigrants are here on a temporary basis for work before moving back home, they are probably less inclined to mix.

However, there are certain other ethnic groups that have mixed very well. The Indian community, by and large, is one of the more successful immigrant groups in the UK. School attainment, employment levels, income levels etc in the Indian community are much higher than the Pakistani or Bangladeshi communities - who are overwhelmingly Muslim. It is cultural. It is important not to generalise either, and there are very successful Muslim immigrants in this country who do well and mix well, but unfortunately it tends to be a minority.

Most other ethnic groups tend to mix well in my opinion, and I agree with the OP that part of what makes London such a brilliant place is the diversity of its people. We are stronger as a city for having such a melting pot of peoples and cultures.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 09:17 PM   #6
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Different cultures certainly enrich our own, but on the other hand there are facets of other cultures that are simply at odds without ours, and in those cases priority must be given to the native culture. Some of the stone-age attitudes towards women and homosexuals and "honour" that are being imported really have no place here, and we shouldn't feel obligated to accommodate them.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 09:35 PM   #7
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It's a paradox that the original inhabitants have become largely more secular, but many of the new arrivals bring with them another archaic and entrenched superstition. That they should try to enforce their beliefs on others is an abuse of the freedoms they enjoy - a tangent perhaps, but a reminder of why, in my opinion, the French have taken the right approach re state schools, where overt religiosity is banned.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 09:45 PM   #8
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That whole article's a massive flounce from a bitter, twisted woman:



Quote:
Kelly is consulting editor at the Salisbury Review, a publication that achieved notoriety back in 1984 when it published an article by Bradford headteacher Ray Honeyford entitled “Education and Race – an Alternative View” which featured a range of offensive racist stereotypes.

Describing a meeting with Bradford Asian parents to discuss education policy, Honeyford wrote:

“The hysterical political temperament of the Indian sub-continent became evident – an extraordinary sight in an English School Hall…. A half-educated and volatile Sikh usurped the privileges of the chair by deciding who was to speak.”
Which only goes to show how little things have changed on the Conservative right over the past three decades.

The Telegraph presents Kelly’s op ed as “a provocative personal piece”. I suppose that’s one way of describing an article expressing bigotry towards an entire ethno-religious community.

Perhaps the Telegraph might consider following it up with another “provocative personal piece” complaining that Golders Green or Stoke Newington have been taken over by Jews, and see how that goes down.
http://www.loonwatch.com/2013/01/i-a...(loonwatch.com)
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Old January 29th, 2013, 09:48 PM   #9
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There has clearly been an increase in the self-identity of many muslims in the past few years (partly thanks to the perception that the West is against them), and that mixed with a more hard-line tone from many Salafist and/or Wahabbi funded mosques has resulted in a self-imposed isolationism. This is evident across London, and has been for some time in places like Whitechapel. Perhaps the author has only just noticed it because of recent moves outwards in previously inner London communities. This is especially evident in places that are relatively cheap like Dagenham and Redbridge, where those selling up in Hackney and Tower Hamlets can get an equally spacious house for less than half the price. Who do they sell to? Usually, well heeled white people.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 09:49 PM   #10
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She has a point though. In some parts of our major cities, other cultures have not assimilated, but taken over.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 09:54 PM   #11
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Yes, I think to simply dismiss her as a loony racist doesnt really help the situation. Things like that muslim patrol in Whitechapel, and the 'Gay-free stickers' plastered around a couple of years back are making people angry. Ignoring it helps no-one. It has to be addressed.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 09:56 PM   #12
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In some cities there are lots of people of different races. Some congregate. That's what happens in cities. How dare Kelly complain there's no community in her area just because a muslim shop assistant was off-hand with her.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 09:57 PM   #13
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It's about time Europe wakes up. This sought of problem is happening all over the place in Western Europe especially in the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. If white people speak out or complain, we automatically get called racists, but our culture is dying day by day. However I believe it's more of a religious problem between two major religions (Christianity and Islam) rather than a race problem.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 10:08 PM   #14
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London shopkeepers of every race, hue and creed you can think of have been rude to people in London. Probably happens dozens of times every day. British culture remains completely unaffected and untroubled. Those Whitechapel idiots represent nobody but idiots who film themselves breaking the law, then posting it on You tube. Like complete idiots.

There are now a hundred thousand British converts to Islam, growing by 5000 a year. This isn't a disaster, it's just people mixing together.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 10:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
There are now a hundred thousand British converts to Islam, growing by 5000 a year. This isn't a disaster, it's just people mixing together.
It might not be a disaster but it's a step backward.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 10:49 PM   #16
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I've lived in east London all my life. I've never seen the Muslim community as isolated as.it is now. That is a fairly simple fact that you can't excuse no matter how much you'd like to, I'm afraid. Often it just shows up as women wearing hijabs or men not looking women in the eye, but clearly there's a more antagonistic strain. The example that the author makes about the areas being now defined as 'Muslim' has happened in various areas of east London. It is.a clear example of how certain Muslims seem to believe that once they're predominant in an area, they're free to apply sharia there. That simply cannot be allowed to happen. Hopefully mainstream Muslims will put the idiots in line, but if not them the authorities need to stamp it out.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 11:04 PM   #17
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There seems to be two questions here : 1 Does 'Multi Culturalism work?' and 2 : Do muslims have a place in our society.

I believe that these are distinct, though related questions. The accepted wisdom of 'multi culturalism ' has been challenged by many in the last ten years, not least by black and ethnic spokespeople and interlectuals such as Trevor Philips. Many ethnic groups have been ill served by the concept as professions and higher paid jobs are still dominated by the white middle class - including in areas with large ethnic minorities. The middle class is normally at the vanguard of defending MC as well it might as it presrves their priviledged place. Society is no MC but seperate and parralel - the door remains closed to people who are culturally different - whethewr we admit it or not. I believe that race now has very little impact compared to cultural differences. For two long we have encouraged immagrants to continue with their cultural attitudes and morees rather than encouraging a 'british' identity - be this a black british, asian british ,,( as there is a yorkshire identity or rural or liverpool identity etc) For me identity is no longer about ethnenticity but culture. So in this much I feel that multiculturalism has broadly failed to deliver the kind of society that it promised. Rather it leaves people of all backgrounds in a crisis of identity and feeling marginalised - be they white black or asian.

The question , for me with Islam is easier. Islam is fundamentaly at odds with European life and values for one very simple line in the bible - 'Give unto Rome that which is Romes' When Jesus said this he separated the state from government. This is core to the way our society now works. Law comes from the sate which in turn adapts to a common moral concensus, which changes with time and circumstance. Hence we no longer boil people in oil for treason or hang thenm for stealing bread. However people love to complain in the end our laws are based on a majority concensus. This can not be the case in Islam as law ( Sharia) comes directly from God and therefore can not be ammended or challeged by mere mortal men. In this it is set and inflexible. Ultimately the Islamic ideal is for stae and religion to be one.

The history of Islam in Europe has often been a bloody one - even in very recent times in the former Yugoslavia where Christian and muslims soon came to bloody conflict as the sate weakened.

In Europe the English civil war and the French revolution put an end to the notion of devine rule and seperated church and state irriversably - this with trade unionism, feminism, the chartists etc has led us to the 'free society' we now have. The Islamic world has no such comparable re defining moments.

For now all is resonably well - but only until there is a critical mass - a tipping point where in certain areas people start to demand laws and social conventions that are dictated by the Koran and not by goverment - it may be years coming - maybe even 100 years - but unless we are aware of the dangers in the end I believe there will be much bloody conflict in Europe as the two worlds - secular and non secular collide.

For those wondering my mother was an immigrant and my girlfriend is a (french ) Muslim.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 11:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeneezer_Goode View Post
Different cultures certainly enrich our own,
Indeed. However, different values do not. It's pretty simple, if you want to move to Europe you have to adapt European values. End of.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 11:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugh View Post
It's a paradox that the original inhabitants have become largely more secular, but many of the new arrivals bring with them another archaic and entrenched superstition. That they should try to enforce their beliefs on others is an abuse of the freedoms they enjoy - a tangent perhaps, but a reminder of why, in my opinion, the French have taken the right approach re state schools, where overt religiosity is banned.
I'd sooner get rid of state-funded faith schools than overt religiosity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
There are now a hundred thousand British converts to Islam, growing by 5000 a year. This isn't a disaster, it's just people mixing together.
Where do those figures come from?
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Old January 29th, 2013, 11:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Why are so many British women converting to Islam?
The number of Muslim converts in Britain has doubled in 10 years and nearly two thirds are women. There are over 100,000 converts in Britain today, according to a Faith Matters study by Kevin Brice, of Swansea University. The study also found 5,200 people converted to Islam in the UK last year.
http://womenofbelief.wordpress.com/2...-of-prejudice/
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