This man is a fool. What I don't yet know is whether he is a fool because he genuinely believes what he writes,or because he underestimates his readers by thinking that we will be so stupid as to believe him. Muslims are not Roman Catholics but without the left feet. Neither are they hard working and ethical Jews. From the London Evening Standard on the day information from the 2011 census revealed that the white English are now a minority in London and Muslims, 1 million of whom live in London, are now 4.8% of the population as a whole.
New census figures showing an increase in the UK’s Muslim population are no excuse for scaremongering. Shortly after the end of his first term in office, Liberal leader William Gladstone penned a pamphlet against Catholicism. Denying it was even a spiritual faith, he argued that British followers could not be loyal to the Crown and the Pope and said they sought to undermine traditional British values . . .
Today Gladstone’s diatribe seems absurd. One of his most recent successors attended mass while in Downing Street, and the monarch can marry now into the faith. Each wave of mass immigration provokes the same old fears before newcomers are subsumed into evolving nations.
Now it is the turn of Muslims. Debate over their place in modern Britain has been thrown into sharp relief this week with the release of the latest tranche of data from last year’s census. . . The previous census in 2001 asked about faith for the first time and revealed Islam as Britain’s second-biggest religion, with 1.6 million adherents. Since then, 13 of the 20 fastest-growing boroughs are those with high concentrations of Muslim residents, led by Tower Hamlets and Newham in east London. The 2011 census estimates that there are now 2.7 million British Muslims, with nearly 40 per cent of them — a million — living in London.
It is not just the hate spewed out by far-Right groups, who shifted from battling black immigrants to crusading against Muslims. Across society, bile against Muslims is the acceptable bigotry —Baroness Warsi, the Tory minister, was right to round on its dinner-party respectability last year.
A little-noticed section of the Leveson report said Muslims were targets of systematic press hostility. The judge had good cause for concern: even journalist Polly Toynbee, the high priestess of progressive politics, has admitted to taking pride in Islamophobia.
Polls have found nearly half of Britons think there are too many Muslims in Britain and more than half believe they “create problems”. Needless to say, such negative attitudes are not found against other religions.
These are brilliantly taken apart in The Myth of the Muslim Tide, a new book by Canadian journalist Doug Saunders. To take just one surprising finding, the number of jihadist terrorist incidents in Europe in the eight years after 9/11 represented less than one per cent of terrorist incidents on the Continent.
But now old myths are turbocharged by the internet and social media. Just look at the 13.6 million hits of an infamous video on YouTube called “Muslim demographics”. The statistics showing a supposed Islamic takeover of Europe are false but are ceaselessly recycled — the seven-minute video was even played at a Vatican synod.
The consequence of this is men being abused, women having their hijabs ripped off and mosques being vandalised. One Muslim woman told the BBC last week how she changed her name by deed poll to improve her chance of getting a job, yet still saw attitudes alter at interviews.
Gladstone, a devout Christian, was no liberal when it came to Muslims either. He once called the Koran an “accursed book” and, holding it up in Parliament, declared there would never be peace in the world so long as it existed. The sooner he is proved wrong on this count too, the better for us all.
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