Riots reveal Integration issue
Suleman Nagdi asks why integration is seen exclusively as an issue for Muslims and not all communities.
As the fallout and recriminations begin over the causes of the riots that have devastated the social fabric of Britain, it is time to discuss a most pressing issue, an issue that needs to be brought to the attention for discussion by the media, expert commentators and academics. Simply put, when there was large scale rioting a decade ago in some Northern cities, various analyses blamed Muslims for failing to integrate into mainstream society as the main cause. Now consistency in our analysis is needed to ask whether the young hooligans carrying out the riots from White, Black and Asian communities have also failed to integrate themselves into British society.
Amongst the problems cited as causes for the riots have been unemployment, failure of education, lack of opportunities, sheer boredom and a frustration with politics over national and international policies. However, what has not been cited as a major cause is the issue of integration and whether young people from certain communities have behaved irresponsibly because they or their parents have failed to integrate fully into British society and have failed to become British. We need to look seriously into this as a society and accept that fast integration is an issue for all communities not just one especially when integration has not been deemed as a problem in some of those communities affected by the riots.
Just as I disagree with the pigeon-holing of the Muslim community whereby we are all expected to share the blame for the latest atrocity committed by a tiny few, I cannot blame anyone for this violence except people involved who are united in their common greed and disregard for others in society. These are people from many races, cultures and backgrounds who have plunged our country into disarray seeming not to share a cultural or indeed religious heritage making it more complex to profile them. Thus they have been spared the wrath of commentators who are boosted by public resentment, deserved or otherwise, to lambast certain social groups.
Muslims in Britain are especially victims of this, as was seen most recently with the Norway terror attacks following which every major news outlet spent several hours pouring scorn on the Islamist threat. They were forced to make drastic u-turns in their commentary when the facts emerged, quickly brushing their mistaken analysis under the carpet fearing no accountability.
We cannot compartmentalise the issue into a faith based conflict regardless of the causes. Let us hope that the current riots do not lead to the vilification of any racial group. Rather let us avoid the mistakes of the past where one group has been stigmatised and vilified and instead consider integration as an issue not just for some but for all for it is an issue in which we are all stakeholders in our desire for a better Britain.
Suleman Nagdi. MBE. DL.