(This is an edited version of an article first published on Christian Concern)
The Casey Review into opportunity and integration makes for some alarming, if not surprising, reading.
Perhaps the most striking illustration of the segregation in our society noted in the report is that a survey of pupils at a non-faith secondary school showed that they believed Britain to be between 50 – 90 per cent Asian. That secondary school children would believe this is extraordinary and shocking, and a powerful demonstration of how segregated some communities are.
In 2013, 50 per cent of ethnic minority students were in schools where ethnic minorities were the majority. In January 2015 there were 511 schools across 43 local authorities with 50 per cent or more pupils from Pakistani or Bangladeshi ethnic backgrounds. The report states: “Muslims tend to live in highest residential concentrations at ward level.” In some wards in 2011, Muslim populations were between 70 – 85 per cent .
With this kind of segregation, it is unsurprising that secondary school pupils growing up in these areas would assume that Britain is over 50 per cent Asian.
The report points out that the Muslim population grew by 72 per cent between 2001 and 2011, faster growth than any other religious group, due to both immigration and higher birth rates. Integration has been “undermined by high levels of transnational marriage” whereby children marry a partner from Pakistan, creating a “‘first generation in every generation’ phenomenon in which each new generation grows up with a foreign-born parent.”
A study at Bradford Royal Infirmary found that 80 per cent of babies of Pakistani ethnicity had at least one parent born outside the UK.
The report contains some devastating criticism of current government policy and practice:
“Too many public institutions, national and local, state and non-state, have gone so far to accommodate diversity and freedom of expression that they have ignored or even condoned regressive, divisive and harmful cultural and religious practices, for fear of being branded racist or Islamophobic.”
“At its most serious, it might mean public sector leaders ignoring harm or denying abuse.”
“Some public institutions have stepped back and let groups attempt to undermine efforts to prevent terrorism and further alienate the communities we need to engage and protect – whether that is from terrorist radicalisers, perpetrators of violence and hate, criminal gangs or groomers intent on exploiting and abusing vulnerable people.”
In relation to Islam in particular, the report highlights evidence of discrimination in sharia councils that operate in this country. It also discusses the problems arising from unregistered marriages and polygamous ‘marriages’ that appear to be “more commonplace than might be expected.” As the report says:
“We must put a stop to cases where, in the name of religion, women and children are given short shrift, discriminated against and denied the rights that this country provides for everyone.”
The report also warns: “We found a growing sense of grievance among sections of the Muslim population, and a stronger sense of identification with the plight of the ‘Ummah’, or global Muslim community.”
It is very clear then, that a segregated society has emerged from the promotion of multicultural relativism in Britain. Instead of an imagined multicultural utopia, we in fact have a plurality of segregated monocultures. Multiculturalism has failed and damaged our society. Although Islam is not the focus of this report, it is rightly singled out for the segregation it has promoted and established in this country. Everyone agrees there is a problem here.
Dame Louise Casey said that, “none of the 800 or more people that we met, nor any of the two hundred plus written submissions to the review, said there wasn’t a problem to solve.”
So what are the solutions?
Though robust in exposing the problems, Casey’s recommendations are remarkably weak. They amount to promoting integration by measuring it and identifying best practice; promoting the proverbial ‘British values’, but also British laws and history; considering the introduction of an integration oath for immigrants, and a new oath for holders of public office.
These are useful initial steps, but much more could and should be done.
There are clear and tangible steps that can be taken.
First, adopt Baroness Cox’s Bill to curb the operation of sharia courts thus protecting the fundamental principle of one law for all.
Second, enforce registration of religious marriages so as to protect the rights of women and prevent a culture of polygamy arising. (This policy is recommended on page 135 of the report.)
Third, ban the face veil in public to show that oppression and subjugation of women is objectively wrong, and to promote integration.
Fourth, tighten up the marriage visa rules so that we reduce the “first generation in every generation” phenomenon.
Fifth, hold police forces accountable for treating all people equally under the law regardless of their background culture, religion, or ethnicity. This would stop police forces from turning a ‘blind eye’ to offences committed by ethnic minorities for fear of being branded ‘racist’, as happened in Rotherham.
Sixth, stop promoting Islamic finance which only serves to promote a radical interpretation of the Qur’an and to hinder integration.
Seventh, unashamedly identify this nation as a Christian country whose laws and culture are based around Biblical values, which are objectively better for society as a whole, and therefore also promote the teaching of the Bible and Christianity in schools.
Eighth, rather than insisting that that all religions should be respected, the government should robustly defend free speech so that people are clearly able expose the discriminatory nature of Islam and the falsity of its teaching without fear of prosecution for religious harassment.
Ninth, ban foreign funding of Islam in the UK. Islamic countries see funding of Mosque building overseas as a way of expanding the influence of their own forms of Islam. This should be stopped.
Tenth, reduce overall levels of immigration. Everyone agrees that integration is not working so we need to reduce the absolute numbers of immigrants in order to facilitate some progress on integration, otherwise continued high levels of immigration just exacerbates the problem.
Dame Casey’s review is a step forward in acknowledging and describing the extent of the problem we face. Robust action is now required to tackle it.