Another balanced, well reasoned and damning post. Talk about the sins of the father....
Over the past 30 years, immigrants poured into Leicester - and were welcomed thanks to the progressive policy of city elders, who convinced local people of the value of a multicultural future. The newcomers established peaceful lives, turning Leicester into a model for the rest of Europe of a mixed city that works.Oh, wonderful - 'Progressives'. Another example of the outflow of the progressive sewer that started in the '70s that empties into this century. Let's look at the wonderful community we have now.
"What you see on the surface is quite fragile," warns Manzoor Moghal, a prominent Muslim leader in Leicester and a self-made businessman who arrived here from Uganda in the 1970s. "There are different currents running that threaten to split this asunder."The problem isn't immigrants per se. No. It is the new flavor of immigrants who don't want to be Britons, and the attitudes that let it fester.
Moghal, chairman of the Muslim Forum, an umbrella group dealing with Muslim issues in Leicestershire, is one of many who worry that Leicester's tradition of peaceful coexistence is threatened by the pace of change.
But Leicester's leftist local government, declaring that the city's future was multicultural, successfully responded with a progressive policy that is still finely attuned to the cultural sensibilities of the newcomers.Balkanization leads to nothing but violence and death. It can happen there - and is.
"We don't talk about what the immigrants have to do to fit in with us," said Trish Roberts-Thomson, a policy officer at Leicester City Council. "Leicester has a very softly-softly approach."
The council embraced ethnic leaders in a multiplicity of race committees and interfaith councils.
Muslims are demanding more on a number of fronts, such as their own faith-based schools and the freedom to wear their religious dress at work or to have halal food in the city hospitals, as well as broader political power within the city council. Winstone says the change is leading to "the perception that Hindus could leave the city - and Hindus have been Leicester's economic motor."That is right. The problem is with the restless natives. That single block of Normans, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Scots, Irish, Britons, French Huguenots, Poles, Jews .... oh I forgot. They are all white - they never were distinct groups. Mmmm. Same culture now, eh? Right? Oh...I get it. They A-S-S-I-M-I-L-A-T-E-D. I don't think it is just "whites" that have issues, what was that "Hindu flight" comment up there?
A further challenge to Leicester's equanimity is the risk of the re-emergence of white opposition toward the immigrants.
In 2002, in the wake of the northern riots, Leicester's council commissioned a report that found hitherto unnoticed and worrying levels of hostility among people in poor, white working-class districts toward their ethnic neighbors. This was mainly caused by resentment about the perceived generosity of public resources being channeled to the Asian districts. "The biggest threat to multiculturalism is from the white working class because multiculturalism gets the attention the white working classes don't," said Roberts-Thomson.
Among other steps, the government proposes banning some Islamic groups, but Muslim leaders fear such action would encourage the white British public to view them as foreign rather than British.Where would they get that idea?
In the newly febrile atmosphere, a debate has begun - even here in multicultural Leicester - about the degree of assimilation required by immigrants.Moghal is right. We would all be better if there were more Moghals. Honestly, most are like him and just want to be another subject of the Queen, but the "other" percentage is growing greater and greater, and needs to be squashed by the Moghals of the U.K. and his fellow Britons.
"When you want to live in a society, when you want to be part of that society, you have an obligation to blend in," says Moghal, who dresses in an impeccable business suit.
Others, like Ibrahim Mogra, a younger Muslim and one of Leicester's leading imams, take a stricter line and believe Muslims should be allowed to live and work in Britain on their own terms.Soak that in. "Integrated as best as I could. I have done almost anything." Think Englishman. Now take a peek.
"I do not want to live in a Britain where my culture is second-class," said Mogra, who greets visitors to his small terraced home in one of the heavily Asian districts of Leicester in turban, robe and full flowing beard. "I have integrated as best as I could. I have done almost anything."
For a seperate, and disturbing look at the UK's "new troubles," you must read Theodore Dalrymple's latest The Suicide Bombers Among Us.