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Advice on “Integration” Consultation – deadline 5th June 11:45pm

The deadline is 11:45pm on 5th June to take part in the consultation. Click here to take part.

Consultation link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/integrated-communities-strategy-green-paper

Example responses: https://www.islam21c.com/politics/my-response-to-the-governments-so-called-integration-green-paper-consultation/

Summary of “integration” proposals: https://www.islam21c.com/politics/what-the-tory-government-calls-integration-is-muslim-disintegration/

The UK government’s “Integrated Communities Strategy” green paper has been met with fierce condemnation and accusations of Islamophobia from members of the British Muslim community and beyond.

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“Forced assimilation labelled as integration”

A consultation opened by the British government on what it calls a “vision for building strong integrated communities” has lead many to react against it accusing it of being another attack against British Muslims and an imposition of xenophobic political attitudes and opinions related to diversity as part of a broader anti-multiculturalism, anti-immigration agenda.

The “Integrated Communities Strategy green paper” contains the government’s latest plans which target minorities including the Muslim community—as some have put it, to “help us get over our segregation problem”. It has been accused of propagating sanitised racist stereotypes about minorities presented in a politically correct way, and was launched in the same week as a report launch in parliament by the Muslim Council of Britain, on the topic of integration from experts, academics and grass roots voices, inevitably critical of the government’s approach.[1] A summary of the government’s green paper can be found in the article, What the Tory Government Calls “Integration” is Muslim Disintegration.[2]

Furthermore, the “consultation” itself has been met with harsh criticism and accusations of misleading questions to elicit compliant responses. ʿAbd-Allāh Thomson, the author of the above article, said:

“The government are as usual not being very transparent even when they are holding a consultation. The green paper is 35,000 words and a lot of effort has been made to disguise those issues relevant to the Muslim community.”

So what do the measures involve?

In spite of the obscurity, some of the proposed measures that will impact the British Muslim community include:

  • Promoting “fundamental British Values” in the school Curriculum. Ofsted inspectors to ensure “pupils’ acceptance and engagement with fundamental British values”;
  • Strict regulation of out of school education e.g. supplementary faith school and home education;
  • Tackle gender segregation in universities;
  • Youth clubs and English classes to facilitate what the authors call “integration”;
  • “…Need for a clearer interpretation of Islam, for life in the UK….”
  • Changing the law to make Islamic Nikah ceremonies without a civil marriage sanctioned by the state a criminal offence.[3]

Advice on taking part in the “consultation”

Shaykh Dr Haitham al-Haddad in a recent statement urged the Muslim community to take part in the consultation in no uncertain terms:

“It is obligatory upon every Muslim who has basic understanding of the deen to respond to this consultation. It is obligatory upon us to enjoin the good and forbid the evil as the Prophet sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said whoever among you sees a bad practice must change it with his hand, and if unable then by his tongue—which we all have the opportunity for. This paper if implemented will have an extremely negative impact on the Muslim community in the UK. It will also lead to many other bad consequences in other European countries.

“I know all of us want to read more Qur’an in Ramadan but this is now wajib al-waqt, the timely obligation, and it takes priority over recommended acts. After all, a passive attitude towards this agenda could end up stopping our children from learning the Qur’an in madrasas in the UK.”

The consultation consists of 14 questions based on various parts of the green paper, however not all questions need to be answered and there is a space to add comments for each question and voice one’s concerns and criticisms.

As mentioned above it has been criticised for apparently obscuring the intended meaning and impact of some of the questions, whilst others have complained of inherent bias and presumptions based on an anti-immigrant ideology. For example, the question on the “consultation” that appears to be disguising the policy to force Muslims to carry out civil marriages, is worded as follows:

Q13 – The Green Paper proposes measures to address practices which can impact on the rights of women. Do you agree with this approach?

Islamic Nikah ceremonies

On the topic of forcing Muslim couples to carry out civil marriages, ʿAbd-Allāh Thomson pointed out the following:[4]

Under the heading “Rights and Freedoms” the green paper moves to restrict our marriages. Civil marriage law is so disliked in the UK that of 19 million families 3.3 million are not legally married, a figure that has doubled since 1996.[5]  You may well be wondering what this has to do with integration. When non-Muslims do it of course it is assumed to be a decision between two consenting adults. When Muslims do it, it is assumed to be between an aggressively patriarchal man and a woman with no “agency”; the will or ability to make her own choices. While acknowledging that in some of the Muslim countries that type of relationship is more common than in the UK it must also be acknowledged that it does exist in abundance among non-Muslims here too. (Almost two women are killed per week by their current or former intimate partner in England alone,[6] and on average 232 are raped everyday.[7]) The government are not proposing to remove every non-Muslim’s freedom of choice to save those non-Muslim women, but they think it is OK to deal with us simplistically with a broad brush, an easy thing to take our freedom of choice away while others can carry on cohabiting. Surely, if people are not getting civil marriages then a less foolish way to address that would be to make it more appealing rather than create new laws to selectively force one minority.

“Anti-immigrant ideology”

The authors of the proposals also make it clear that they believe it is a problem if minorities happen to be in a majority in a particular area. For example, if it is predominantly a Muslim area this is a problem community regardless of how much social interaction or civil engagement there is within that community. The term which used to be simply “communities” has been changed to “integrated communities” to mean one which has a proportional (to national average) number of minority people. Those minority people would be behaving in a way that is acceptable enough to the majority for them to be able to work and socialise among them. 

“Death by integration”

The authors of the proposals would do well to learn from the case of Bijan Ebrahimi who was racial abused by more than a few of his white neighbours for a decade before action was taken, after he had been beaten to death and set on fire, to understand where housing services could have improved his life expectancy. The Council’s “Learning Review” states that “Throughout Bijan Ebrahimi’s life in Bristol, he lived in areas with relatively low Black and minority ethnic populations. As such, local experience indicates that he was at increased risk of suffering racist prejudice and behaviour.” It continues “Many in Mr Ebrahimi’s position would have been likely to develop coping mechanisms to deal with such behaviour that might have included not drawing attention to themselves, ignoring comments made to them and moving away as opportunities arose.”[8] The council all but declared his was a death by integration.

Have your voice heard

Is intermingling of all groups of people essential for community?

Do you feel that it is a problem or a positive thing if nearly all your friends are Muslim? That the focus of your community activities is among the Muslim community?

Does living in a predominantly non-Muslim area work for you? Do you think you should be expected to?

Do you feel by the government focusing on “integration” there is less scrutiny of non-immigrants and whether they lead positive community enriching lives?

Do minorities tend to live in clusters because of some malicious intent, or should the common threat to life and livelihoods posed by racism in the last few decades be given some attention for actual integration?

Let the government know what you think about the term “integrated communities”.

Do you believe immigrants and their descendents should be targeted for measures to assimilate them into white nationalist cultural attitudes and norms, or do you believe one can be a productive member of society whilst still retaining their culture and Islamic identity?

Do you believe that only one race or ethnicity can define “British values” and then pressure minorities into accepting their interpretations and examples of “British values”, or do you believe that all Britons should have a say in what these values are and should be allowed to disagree with and debate each other?

“Muslims are the canary in the coal mine”

Commenting on the consultation, Islam21c Chief Editor Dr Salman Butt said:

“Muslims and non-Muslims need to realise that there are sadly plenty of Islamophobic and racist undertones and stereotypes to many of these proposals. We need to ensure to take part in the consultation to voice condemnation and opposition to this increasingly right-wing subtext and anti-immigrant ideology—not just by ticking “agree” or “disagree” but writing out our concerns at the attempted erosion of diversity in society in favour bloated organs of state coercion.

“Do we want to live in a society where people who disagree with each other can get along, or where one group has to force the others into submission? Muslims today are the canary in the coal mine. If we allow the state to interfere in our intimate lives and lawful personal dealings based on the cultural norms and attitudes of those in power under the misleading pretext of “British values”, then it is only a matter of time before the transgressors of Theresa May’s unilateral conception of “British values” swell to include many others. We have a collective duty to speak out even if others do not realise this yet.”

The deadline is 11:45pm on 5th June to take part in the consultation. Click here to take part.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] http://www.mcb.org.uk/our-shared-future/

[2] https://www.islam21c.com/politics/what-the-tory-government-calls-integration-is-muslim-disintegration/

[3] https://wtxnews.com/2018/06/03/uk-imams-to-be-held-accountable-for-unregistered-nikah-ceremonies/

[4] https://www.islam21c.com/politics/what-the-tory-government-calls-integration-is-muslim-disintegration/

[5] https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/familiesandhouseholdsintheuk2017

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/10/women-killed-at-home-refuges-womens-aid-survey

[7] https://rapecrisis.org.uk/statistics.php

[8] https://www.bristol.gov.uk/documents/20182/35136/Multi-agency+learning+review+following+the+murder+of+Bijan+Ebrahimi

About Editor

4 comments

  1. Can I please have my Religious freedom. My right to live a life I want. Thank you

  2. We won to be free religion practice to all calture around the world

  3. Islam is universal. A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. The whole world belongs to Muslims.

    “Western” society is trying to dictate what people within one faith are supposed to act, what they should wear. telling Muslims to go back east is stupid tell all Christians to back 2 Jerusalem then exactly no point everyone has the right to live in whatever country they choose. There are catholic schools which require a certain type of conduct even if the person is not catholic at that school. You have Sikh,Hindu and Islamic schools and they all instil good values in children in their own way and if someone has certain dietary needs then the school will adjust to that. i don’t understand why everyone has to criticise everything that is going on within the religious circles right now.

    Let’s think of all those bad things we are proposing:

    – to make children multi-lingual.
    – understand and accept the sanctity of marriage.
    – encouragement to take not even but one drop of alcohol and non-prescribed drugs.
    – encouragement not to judge or be judged on grounds of race and colour.
    – self discipline in sleeping, hygiene and diet patterns.
    – liberation of individuals from materialism and desires to live according to base instincts.
    – a detailed understanding of the other two monotheistic religions.

    Sorry to break it to you, but Islam is a religion for all colours races and nationalities. You asking a Muslim to “go to east” is like asking a Christian to go back to Palestine!

    If Christians followed the teachings of Christ, they would be called Muslims! Take a look in your history books and identify the history of Muslims in this country? Oh well you cant do that because the British education system only skims over such issues….. or decides not even to teach them.

    So what if Muslims want halal food in schools, is it affecting you, so what if Muslims pray is it affecting you? no!!! Muslims are not Asians, Muslims are the people of ALLAH! there is a difference that you should note. In a Catholic school you learn to read religious things in the church, but why cant we also have a Muslim school, not for Asians, but for Muslims to learn if they wish.

    Islam is not taking over, it does not want to take over, but it DOES want to give everyone the chance to learn and understand it. Islam can be great for everyone, but not everyone will accept it, and that is fine, EVERYONE IS THEIR OWN PERSON AND EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN CHOICES TO MAKE!!! It is time the racists of this country wake up and realise with a bit of co-operation and understanding EVERYONE can be happy and everyone can get along! there is no need for excluding anyone and everyone can get along, there is no need to disagree with something if you haven’t even given it a chance, SURELY EVERYONE / EVERYTHING DESERVES A CHANCE TO PROVE THEMSELVES / ITSELF.

    A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. The whole world belongs to Muslims. Muslim community does not want to change British society. Muslim community needs Masajid, state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers, sharia laws, halal food, time off for Friday afternoon prayers in the Masjid, two religious holidays per year and Muslim cemeteries. These demands are in accordance with the law of the land. Muslim community is not asking for any favour. Muslim ruled India and Spain for a thousand years but they never forced natives to convert. If they have forced them to convert than India and Spain would be Muslim countries. There would be no need for a tiny Muslim country like Pakistan. The number of Muslims is on the increase because of never ending immigration, high birth rate and conversion and by the end of this century, nearly half of British population would be Muslims. Today the elected Mayor of London is a Pakistani Muslim and tomorrow the elected British PM would be a Pakistani Muslim. Have you got any objection?

    The largest ethnic minority groups in British schools are children of Pakistani origin: a community often accused of resisting assimilation and integration. Ann Cryer, the MP for Keighley blamed Imams for not speaking English. She should blame British schooling for not teaching Urdu/Arabic to Pakistani children, thus depriving them of understanding the Sermons in Arabic/Urdu. They are unable to enjoy the beauty of Urdu/Arabic literature and poetry. Imams are not part of the problem rather than the solutions. There is a proposal to teach Urdu as a compulsory language instead of French and German in British schools. The British Government is urged to remove the requirement in the National Curriculum that children between the ages of 11-14 study at least one European language. The linguistic abilities of large number of Muslim children were being ignored because they had to learn another European language as well as mastering English. The Government must promote the status of Urdu language instead of languages of European origin. Tim Benson, head of Nelson primary school in Newham said that the “nationalistic curriculum failed to recognize the staggering array of linguistic abilities and competencies” in schools such as his, where the pupils spoke more than 40 languages. The linguistic dexterity of families speaking an array of languages was celebrated but the “awesome achievements” of children mastering three or four languages were barely recognised by the education system. Social and emotional education comes with your own language-literature and poetry. A DFE’s document clearly states that children should be encouraged to maintain and develop their home languages. A study shows that bilingualism is a positive benefit to cognitive development and bilingual teacher is a dire necessity and is a role model. The price of ignoring children’s bilingualism is educational failure and social exclusion. Bilingualism could be developed by bringing a partner from Pakistan. The kids will get better at both languages. One will speak English while the other will speak Urdu.
    IA
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

  4. We want religion freedom

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