Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Why can't they assimilate?

... Muslims in London have almost twice as much confidence in the Government as the general public and are noticeably more trusting of the judicial system, elections and the police.

More than half identify very strongly with Britain, and about four in every five believe that it is important for integration to master the English language, get a better education and find a job.

The findings, to be revealed tomorrow, are the result of an independent survey of Muslim attitudes by the Gallup Organisation....

Confidence in the government! See, this is why we can't let these people in. Why can't they be like everyone else?

The poll also finds that almost nine out of ten Muslims in London believe attacks that target civilians are unjustified and morally wrong -- only 4 per cent fewer than the view of nonMuslims. Some 81 per cent also condemn violence even if used in a noble cause -- a figure that is 9 per cent higher than the general public's view....

Higher! Come on, get in step with your neighbors, or get the hell out!


Seriously, though, I think this is a key point:

The British poll was carried out only in Greater London, and Gallup admits that this may not be typical of the British Muslim community as a whole. All surveys and research have shown that London has strikingly more relaxed attitudes between all races and religious minorities than elsewhere in Britain. Attitudes to integration may well be less positive if Muslims in Bradford, Oldham and other northern industrial towns are questioned.

I live in New York City and that doesn't surprise me at all. Right-wingers talk about "multiculturalism" as a failure, but I suspect it's failing in places where it's not "multi" enough. It seems to me that there's more tension where there's biculturalism -- where there's essentially just "us" and one group of "them." Being home to a lot of different cultures doesn't make really big cities lose their identities because multiethnicity is an essential part of their identities -- the whole point of Queens, for instance, is that the shop selling halal meet is next door to a Jamaican restaurant selling jerk pork and two doors down from McNulty's Saloon. Newcomers learn that you can be who you are, and also that people around you won't live the way you do.

The linked article goes on to note that London's Muslims are far more culturally conservative than other Londoners -- uncomfortable with homosexuality, abortion, pornography. But I could say the same thing about many ethnic groups here in Sodom-on-the-Hudson. (You see that even here on the Upper West Side: Complaints from Orthodox Jews actually led the local Victoria's Secret to tone down its window displays. No problem though -- thong sales still go on.)

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