We live in a shrunken world and millions of people are on the move; one of our biggest challenges is how we learn to live in proximity to difference – different skin colours, different beliefs and different way of life. According to a study by COMPAS, Muslims born and educated were given the impression of outsiders. The perception among Muslims is that they are unwelcome in Britain is undermining efforts to help them integrate into wider society. Most of them say that they have experienced race discrimination and religious prejudice. Muslims and Islam is promoted a fundamentalist and separatist by the western elite, which have negative impact on community and social cohesion. The number of racist incidents occurring in London Borough of Redbridge’s schools have reached their highest levels since record begin.
A City or a locality, where Muslims are in majority is a ghetto. There is a tendency for people of similar backgrounds to live together in neighourhoods. The term”ghettoisation” is inappropriate. The original ghettos in Europe during the middle ages were set up by law to confine the Jewish population to one area of a city. According to a research by an Australian academic that Muslim communities in Britain are being increasingly ghettoized in a trend that set back hopes of assimilation by years. Britain has now eight cities in the top 100 most ghettoized cities. The people from the Pakistani community in Bradford and Oldham and Leicester had trebled during the decade. A report by an academic Dr Alan Carling, that Bradford risks becoming a front line in the global clash between the West and Islam. But Islam and Muslims do not clash with the concepts of pluralism, secularism and globalisation. The native flight from Bradford’s inner-city wards showed clear evidence of an increase in segregation in the city since 1991. Native parents are avoiding sending their children in state schools where Muslims and other minorities are in majority. The dominance of Pakistani Muslims in the city has meant that Bradford has become bi-cultural.
Immigrants are the creators of Britain new wealth, otherwise, inner cities deprived areas could not get new lease of life. The native Brits regard such areas as ghettoes. Integration is not religious and cultural, it is economic and Muslims are well integrated into British society and at the same time they are proud of their Islamic, linguistic and cultural identities, inspite of discrimination they have been facing in all walks of life. According to UN, 80% of British Muslims feel discriminated. They are less burden on social services. Immigrants made up 8.7% of the population, but accounted for10.2% of all collected income tax
It is often quoted by the Western media that Muslim schools ghettoizse the children, and even lead to their radicalisation if they are not integrated. There is no evidence that faith schools lead to a “ghettoized education system. In British schools, pupils are encouraged to focus too much on their similarities rather than their differences. The integrationist approach merely results in Muslims feeling that their faith, language and culture is not respected.
Iftikhar Ahmad www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk