Some Bri­tish com­mu­ni­ties ‘wor­ry­ingly’ seg­re­gated New study ex­poses ‘un­com­fort­able truths’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Some UK com­mu­ni­ties are “wor­ry­ingly” seg­re­gated and govern­ment fail­ure to tackle so­cial and eco­nomic iso­la­tion, par­tic­u­larly among Mus­lims, is play­ing into the hands of ex­trem­ists, a govern­ment-com­mis­sioned re­port warned yes­ter­day. Louise Casey, a se­nior civil ser­vant, said her study ex­posed “un­com­fort­able truths” about the im­pact of large-scale im­mi­gra­tion, in par­tic­u­lar dis­crim­i­na­tion against women in some South Asian com­mu­ni­ties.

“In­equal­ity within cer­tain com­mu­ni­ties in these highly seg­re­gated ar­eas is get­ting worse, not bet­ter,” she told the BBC. Casey high­lighted is­sues in ar­eas which had high con­cen­tra­tions of Mus­lims of Pak­istani and Bangladeshi her­itage. She ad­mit­ted her find­ings would put fur­ther pres­sure on Bri­tain’s 2.8 mil­lion Mus­lims, amid con­cerns about ris­ing Is­lam­o­pho­bia. But in a fore­word to the re­port, she warned: “A fail­ure to talk about all this only leaves the ground open for the far-right on one side and Is­lamist ex­trem­ists on the other.

“Ev­ery per­son, in ev­ery com­mu­nity, in ev­ery part of Bri­tain, should feel a part of our na­tion and have ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to suc­ceed in it. There can be no ex­cep­tions to that by gen­der, color or creed.” Govern­ment of­fi­cials had re­port­edly sought to wa­ter-down the study, which was com­mis­sioned by for­mer prime min­is­ter David Cameron last year, be­cause of its con­tro­ver­sial find­ings. Casey said that peo­ple of Pak­istani and Bangladeshi ori­gin were more likely to live in res­i­den­tially seg­re­gated com­mu­ni­ties than other eth­nic mi­nor­ity groups, point­ing to ar­eas where up to 85 per­cent of res­i­dents were Mus­lim.

She warned that many peo­ple in those ar­eas did not have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as others across Bri­tain, of­ten be­cause they did not speak English, and also be­cause cul­tural and re­li­gious prac­tices held them back. This was par­tic­u­larly true of women, and Casey warned that do­mes­tic abuse, fe­male gen­i­tal mu­ti­la­tion and forced mar­riage re­mained “all too preva­lent” in some com­mu­ni­ties. “It is the misog­yny and the pa­tri­archy that has to come to an end. Lead­ers that are not Mus­lim and are Mus­lim need to unite around unity in this coun­try,” she told the BBC.

Com­mu­ni­ties min­is­ter Sa­jid Javid said the re­port was a “valu­able con­tri­bu­tion”. “We need to take a se­ri­ous look at the facts and must not shy away from the chal­lenges we face,” he said. But Mo­hammed Shafiq, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Ramadhan Foun­da­tion, a Mus­lim lobby group, con­demned it as “in­flam­ma­tory and di­vi­sive”. “Sadly in to­day’s Bri­tain, Mus­lims are seen as an easy tar­get to at­tack by politi­cians, com­men­ta­tors and parts of the me­dia with­out any re­gard for the im­pact this has on com­mu­ni­ties,” he said. “There was no men­tion about the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the white com­mu­nity to help with in­te­gra­tion, as many white fam­i­lies flee mixed ar­eas as eth­nic mi­nori­ties move into a par­tic­u­lar area.”

He also noted that the govern­ment had cut fund­ing for English lan­guage classes-one of Casey’s rec­om­men­da­tions to im­prove in­te­gra­tion. The re­port also said im­mi­grants should take an oath of in­te­gra­tion with Bri­tish val­ues and so­ci­ety on ar­rival in the coun­try, rather than wait­ing un­til their fi­nal ci­ti­zen­ship test. Casey urged the pro­mo­tion of Bri­tish laws, his­tory and val­ues within the core school cur­ricu­lum to build “in­te­gra­tion, tol­er­ance, ci­ti­zen­ship and re­silience”. She also called for greater mix­ing among young peo­ple through activities such as sport, and ef­forts to raise em­ploy­ment levels among marginal­ized groups. — AFP

LON­DON: Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May leaves 10 Down­ing Street in Lon­don af­ter at­tend­ing a cabi­net meet­ing there. — AP

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