England has become a center of militant Islam, enough so that this minority in the Muslim community is coming under increasing scrutiny, as is the policy of multiculturalism that may have encouraged this trend, according to two reports.
The Washington Post (Nov. 23) reports that the militant Islam coming out of England and other parts of Europe is appealing to a minority of young people who may have grown up in the West with no direct contact with Middle Eastern conflict. [Specialists are finding that candidates for Al Queda and other Muslim terrorist networks are often immigrants or the children of immigrants in Western European countries; see the special report in the November 12 issue of Time magazine.] These young people gravitate around radical Muslim mosques and leaders such as Abu Hamza al-Masri in London and Sheikh Omar Bakri in Ealing. Some have gone to fight for the Taliban and Islamic causes in other hot spots, while others communicate by e-mail with radical activists around the world.
In interviewing Muslim young adults in Britain, Sharon Waxman finds their visions for the future intertwined with dreams of a vast Islamic empire that includes Europe run by a caliphate or Muslim leaders. Waxman writes that as the Islamic rhetoric against the West has intensified in England, there have been new measures to restrict British Muslims suspected of sympathizing with bin Laden and other terrorist groups.
Britain was considered progressive in its multicultural program, taking a hands-off approach to how Muslims and other minorities run their communities. But this commitment to cultural diversity is now facing strong opposition, reports The Tablet (Nov. 10), a British Catholic magazine. The Home Secretary has made a proposal to require a test of English as a condition of citizenship. The British multicultural program, which “refuses to say that one race, culture, philosophy or lifestyle, including [the host country’s] is predominant,” has isolated a section of Muslim society from mainstream British values.
Thus, authorities have turned a blind eye to forced marriages in the Muslim community. A recent attack by a group of Asian youths on a church in Bradford (a Muslim center) “is another sign that the Muslim community in Britain contains significant numbers who are dangerously alienated.”