“Louise Casey’s review implies that Muslims alone are a barrier to good community relations – ignoring such issues as white flight and structural inequality.”
Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain here criticizes the Casey Report, which points out how Muslims are failing to integrate into British society, by pointing at the responsibility of “white British” to help Muslims integrate — why are “white” and “Muslim” considered two distinct groups even by people who should know better? — and bringing up red herrings about other communities that do not produce large numbers of terrorists: “her focus is primarily on Muslims: she does not provide any solutions for African Caribbean, Roma or Traveller communities, with no acknowledgement of Scotland and Northern Ireland’s history of integration challenges – from which we must learn.”
As always with Islamic supremacists, it’s always someone else’s fault. There is never any cause for introspection on the part of Muslims.
“White people must play a role in integration too,” by Miqdaad Versi, Guardian, December 5, 2016:
As I watch the far-right in its ascendancy across the Channel, the idea of the UK model of integration being a complete failure baffles me. That is, unfortunately, how the latest review on community cohesion by Louise Casey has been framed. It is perhaps little surprise that one of the biggest cheerleaders for the report is Nigel Farage, who celebrated the mainstreaming of his divisive rhetoric: “Excellent report … Much of what I have been saying for years.”
Casey’s review is right to be frank and open about the challenges we face. Forced marriages, female genital mutilation, honour killings and other similar cultural practices have no place in modern Britain, and thousands of victims suffer from these horrific crimes – crimes that remain hugely under-reported. And the presence of misogyny, discrimination, homophobia and sectarianism within many socially conservative religious societies is an important challenge that cannot be ignored. Many of her robust recommendations, therefore, are important and timely: a new programme to help community cohesion including the promotion of English language and measures to tackle exclusion, inequality and segregation in schooling.
However, her focus is primarily on Muslims: she does not provide any solutions for African Caribbean, Roma or Traveller communities, with no acknowledgement of Scotland and Northern Ireland’s history of integration challenges – from which we must learn.
Worryingly, Casey often conflates Muslim with Asian communities, giving the false impression that all regressive cultural practices are based on the Islamic faith despite clear evidence to the contrary. While the report does recognise the huge levels of socio-economic deprivation, low educational attainment and discrimination some Muslims face, none of her recommendations tackle structural inequality. As the former chief constable of Greater Manchester Peter Fahy says: “We seem to find it much easier to blame cultural segregation than economic segregation and inequality.”
Most importantly, Casey seems to disagree with David Cameron, who said when he was leader of the opposition in 2007: “Integration is a two-way street.” While she mentions the “rich tradition of religion as a force for good in this country”, highlighting important examples such as Muslim charities supporting flood victims in Cumbria, this is almost an afterthought. Overall little consideration is given to the extensive and positive contribution of migrants: the primary narrative is one where the actions of migrant communities, and those of some Muslims in particular, are the real barriers to integration. This is in contrast to recent research papers from the Economic and Social Research Council: one that indicates that black and minority ethnic communities are not self-segregating, and another that shows Muslim communities are less concentrated in 2011 compared with 2001.
Why does Casey say so little on how to tackle the fact that white British and Irish ethnic groups “are least likely to have ethnically mixed social networks” – one of the key signs of integration. Given “sections of white working class Britain have become more isolated from the rest of the country and the rest of the white British population” with “real and persistent” educational underachievement, why is no action being considered? And why is there so little discussion about what to do about “white flight” from the inner cities as one of the drivers of further segregation.
But beyond this, Casey’s narrative is in places out of date. For example, she cites a conclusion from the widely criticised ICM/Channel 4 poll earlier this year, that Muslims were more likely to sympathise with terrorists than the general public: a result turned on its head in the latest ICM/Policy Exchange poll released last week.
And after oversimplifying the real concerns about the government’s anti-extremism Prevent programme, sensationalising the growth in the number of British mosques and the prevalence of certain religious practices and underplaying the growth of the far right, Casey claims that Christmas is a problem for Muslim communities. This is despite many campaigns demonstrating the opposite, which raises concerns for us that this report gives official validation to rightwing stereotypes of a “regressive” Muslim culture….