CASEY REVIEW – Muslim Responses

UK integration report ‘divisive’ say Muslim groups

…. The report, which was published on Monday, said that some Muslims and members of other minority faith groups showed less progressive views, for example towards “women’s equality, sexuality and freedom of speech”.

But Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said it was an “inflammatory” and “divisive” report, that deliberately targeted one community over others.

“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.

“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,” Shafiq said in a statement.

“We are saddened that once again British Muslims have become a political football which is bashed from time to time without any regard for the impact this has on individuals who then are subjected to threats and violence,” he added. [Middle East Eye] Read more

White people must play a role in integration too

As I watch the far-right in its ascendancy across the Channel, the idea of the UK model of integration being a complete failure baffles me. That is, unfortunately, how the latest review on community cohesion by Louise Casey has been framed. It is perhaps little surprise that one of the biggest cheerleaders for the report is Nigel Farage, who celebrated the mainstreaming of his divisive rhetoric: “Excellent report … Much of what I have been saying for years.”

…. Worryingly, Casey often conflates Muslim with Asian communities, giving the false impression that all regressive cultural practices are based on the Islamic faith despite clear evidence to the contrary. While the report does recognise the huge levels of socio-economic deprivation, low educational attainment and discrimination some Muslims face, none of her recommendations tackle structural inequality. As the former chief constable of Greater Manchester Peter Fahy says: “We seem to find it much easier to blame cultural segregation than economic segregation and inequality.”

…. Given “sections of white working class Britain have become more isolated from the rest of the country and the rest of the white British population” with “real and persistent” educational underachievement, why is no action being considered? And why is there so little discussion about what to do about “white flight” from the inner cities as one of the drivers of further segregation. [Miqdaad Versi, 1024 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 787 votes] Whites leaving specific area – ‘waah, white flight! They don’t want to integrate’

Ethnic minority leaving specific area – ‘waah, whites are coming with their gentrification and chasing away residents’

[2ND 777] I’m not making a single concession for Islam. Sorry, I’m just not.

It’s your choice, nobody is forcing you to be a Muslim, and I gain no benefit from it whatsoever. If you suffer negative consequences while trying to gain your place in eternal paradise (at my expense) why should that concern me?

So no, I won’t make a single concession, to your religion or to any other. I wish all religions were at the bottom of the sea.

[3RD 677] “White people” should do more. What? Crass and insulting. I know of many instances where closed off communities, yes Muslim predominantly, incite rejection of white friends for their children and deride western society. This insularity coupled with liberal cultural relativism has legitimised mindsets that tolerate misogyny and homophobia. White people should do more, government should do more. Wring your hands. Anyone but those central to the shut off mindsets should do more. The Guardian has done much to promote such short sighted blame and absolution games. It’s always been unhelpful.

[4TH 543] “so we are able to challenge the far right – who, let us not forget, inspired the murder of MP Jo Cox just six months ago”

Ah. So you’re allowed to accuse a worldview of inspiring murder. Fine, I agree. Some worldviews do inspire murder.

But I also believe that there is another worldview, far more threatening to social cohesion, which seems to have inspired many people in the last few years to commit mass murder on our streets. Do you agree that this inspiration should be sanctioned and blamed, as I believe that the far right should be sanctioned and blamed?

Or are you a hypocrite?

[5TH 525] “Integration is a two-way street.”

But the onus must always remain with the immigrant to do the lions share of the integration.

I am happy to hold out my hand to welcome you – but please do not bring with you (or expect me to accept) any of your intolerant beliefs (religious or otherwise), your misogyny, your hatred of those who identify as LGBT, your FGM, your adherence to alien codes of conduct that run counter to our acceptance of equality and rule of law, your treatment of animals etc. etc.

And please have the good grace to learn our native languages – if English is too hard, feel free to take up Welsh.

Good luck on joining us in one of the most tolerant and generous nations on earth – contribute, work hard, and positively embrace all that is good in the UK. As an immigrant myself I assure you, and your families, that you will be repaid ten-fold.

[6TH 514] The ‘Whites’ are also the majority with profound historical roots to this country represented through a myriad of indigenous cultures with long established cultural identities. It is only right that newcomers are absorbed into the already present majority.

We have the capacity to absorb immigrants, but only if we all inter-mix with one another and break down cultural barriers at the level of the family.

The fact is that some immigrant communities have cultural taboos about marrying/relationships with people of different ethnicities, religions and cultures and until that is addressed we can have no true integration. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Sorry, Louise Casey, but Muslim women are held back by discrimination

If like me you’re female, Muslim and from an ethnic minority background, it sometimes feels like a one-way ticket into economic and social purgatory.

Despite the fact that more British Muslim women than men are getting degrees, we are the most disenfranchised group in the country. Not only are we subject to high levels of unemployment and poverty, but discrimination on the basis of our faith, gender and ethnic background hinders our entry into the labour market.

However, according to the findings of Louise Casey’s review of integration and opportunity released yesterday, it’s not discrimination that is holding us back. British Muslim women have apparently failed to grasp that integration is the missing “key to success”.

…. Graduating from university last year, I thought, naively perhaps, that my degree would ease my passage into the labour market. But instead of a gold-paved road to my first job, I found myself hurtling down the rabbit hole of unemployment.

…. If the government really wants to help British Muslim women, it needs to take discrimination seriously: create job opportunities across the country; invest in stagnating cities such as Bradford with so many talented women resigned to mediocre jobs for which they are overqualified, or no jobs at all. Create platforms from which Muslim women can ascend the ladder of social mobility.

Once that’s done, then we can talk about integration – but I bet we won’t need to. [1590 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1020 votes] Since when has a degree been a passport to a dream job?

[2ND 775] “I thought my degree would be a passport to a dream job, but in Bradford the ladder of social mobility was always out of reach.”

You seem to have landed an enviable gig with the bourgeois press.

[3RD 691] I don’t understand the point of your argument here – you’re saying, yes there’s aspects of Islam that are problematic but also, there’s other things to worry about, like the economy.

Yes there is, but Casey’s report was about how Islam hinders integration. That’s the topic at hand – why deflect?

[4TH 674] “This is particularly true for visibly Muslim women like me who wear the hijab”

And there it is. Perhaps employers don’t want to hire people who let their religion dominate their lives so much and that’s not just about Muslims, as I suspect that many visibly devoutly religious people would have the same issues.

[5TH 592] A bit of a disconnect here – “I am being discriminated against because of my religion” / “I make sure that everybody knows about my religion”.

Might there just be a way out?

[6TH 574] Just because you and a couple of your friends haven’t got your dream job after graduating doesn’t mean you are being discriminated against.

[7TH 542] “Graduating from university last year, I thought, naively perhaps, that my degree would ease my passage into the labour market. But instead of a gold-paved road to my first job, I found myself hurtling down the rabbit hole of unemployment.”

Welcome to 21st Century Britain.

[8TH 446] I was a bit worried by the Casey report yesterday but I’m glad to see today everything is non-Muslims fault again.

[9TH 408] I have some sympathy but what you’re facing doesn’t sound like Islamophobia so much as a really shit job market.

[10TH 395] Help yourself.

Don’t wear the hijab. It’s an ideological symbol. Plenty of Muslim women don’t. It was a rare sight in the 70s and 80s.

Don’t marry a first cousin. If you do your kids’ IQ will, on average, be about 1 standard deviation lower than if you marry a non-relation. That hammers their life chances in an industrial society.

Don’t marry someone from rural Pakistan. It delays integration for another generation. It imports poverty. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Casey report criticised for focus on UK Muslim communities

Muslim groups have raised concerns about the government’s community cohesion report, arguing that it confuses race, religion and immigration and focuses too heavily on Muslim communities.

The study, commissioned by David Cameron as prime minister and carried out by Dame Louise Casey, recommends a new strategy to help bridge divides in the UK, including an “integration oath” to encourage immigrants to embrace British values, and greater focus on promoting the English language and securing “women’s emancipation in communities where they are being held back by regressive cultural practices”.

Critics said its focus on Muslim communities ignored other issues such as equality and racism, and was potentially damaging to community relations.

Bana Gora, chief executive of the Muslim Women’s Council, said: “I am not denying that there is a problem in Muslim communities, but I would not put it down to self-segregation. We have to look at the broader picture, at education qualifications, at economics, at social mobility, at barriers in the jobs market.

“There are many inter-related factors and to put it all down such basic sensational terms by saying that the Muslim community is self-segregating does so much harm and is is totally unnecessary.” [The Guardian] Read more

Casey Integration Review: Muslim Council of Britain’s Initial Response

…. “Sadly, however, I fear that this report could be a missed opportunity. We need to improve integration, and it needs to involve the active participation of all Britons, not just Muslims. As former Prime Minister David Cameron has stated, ‘integration is a two-way street’. The report has little discussion on white flight, and could have delved deeper into the economic structural barriers to integration.”

“In our submission to the Casey Review, the Muslim Council of Britain highlighted the ‘culture of fear is emerging which is a big driver in preventing a more united and cohesive society.’

We said: ‘We must recognise that our public discourse and conversation has a part to play in furthering integration. Integration is fostered when the media reports on stories that speak of achievement of minorities, of people coming together and where national moments are shared by all.’

We also said “for too long Muslims have had to endure a media echo chamber which amplifies the misconception that Muslims and their faith are incompatible with life in Britain. We dispute these notions. It assumes that Muslims are not equal, and not civilised enough to be part and parcel of British society. It leads to discrimination against Muslims, alienation amongst Muslims where the national conversation dictates that they are not part and parcel of society, and, at worst, violent attacks against Muslims.” [Muslim Council of Britain] Read more

Why do so many Muslim women find it hard to integrate in Britain? – Ahead of a crucial report, we report on the battle faced by Britain’s most excluded demographic

As gender politics go, it was unquestionably a modest step, but in Bradford’s Carlisle business centre the development felt seismic.

For five years Haniya had been striving to secure a job in digital marketing. It seemed not to matter that the 28-year-old had the qualifications, the aptitude, the ambition. Friends watched her confidence drain away. Haniya considered removing her hijab, the Islamic headscarf. Burying the fact she was a Muslim became the final option.

In front of 50 women at the centre in Bradford’s Manningham district, Haniya announced she’d finally entered the workplace. “That was great news, but for many discrimination within the labour market, along with a lack of opportunities, creates a fatigue that eventually erodes self-esteem,” said Bana Gora, chief executive of Bradford’s Muslim Women’s Council. [The Guardian] Read more

I despair of the British Muslims who choose to live under a virtual apartheid, writes Dr Taj Hargey

…. Not long ago I spent an afternoon walking around Highfields in Leicester. During my visit I saw only black and brown faces — not a single white person.
If that situation had been imposed by a dictatorship, we would fight against it with all our might.

Why should it be acceptable in a modern democracy?

This isolationist trend feeds on itself: Muslims, especially women and children, are encouraged to withdraw from the rest of society, to keep themselves ‘unsullied’.
They are taught that they are ‘superior’ because they are destined for heaven while the ‘kuffars’ (the unbelievers) are not.

Shut away in their homes, many go day after day without seeing anyone who is not Muslim. They watch Islamist TV stations and read Islamist websites, and so the isolationism is reinforced.

Dame Louise’s report is at last an official acknowledgment that we have a problem of segregation in this country. But, as I say, it doesn’t go far enough.

For instance, the report says more English classes should be organised for Muslim children, to encourage them to venture out of isolation and to discourage the home-schooling of children.

But we need to be far more muscular than that. We have to mix up the population of schools, so that immigrant groups are never predominant in any classroom. If necessary we should be busing people to different schools to ensure this. [Daily Mail] Read more

MEND’s statement in response to the Casey Report

Dame Louise’s review will be added to a long catalogue of Government commissioned reports on British Muslims which talk about them without talking to them. The Casey review gives credence to the flawed methodology of the ICM poll conducted for the C4 programme What British Muslims Really Think, which it cites at some length.

One can only wonder why Dame Louise felt it necessary to rely on a debunked poll when her purpose was to engage directly with British Muslims to understand and learn what they really think. From the small number of Muslims directly cited in the report, we question the degree to which she has engaged in an open and broad dialogue at all.

This review will add more fuel to prevailing anti-Muslim stereotypes and can only be considered a dual failure for ignoring the structural inequalities which shape the concerns about spatial segregation and social mobility which she raises. [MEND] Read more

Mohammed Amin: Complainers about the Casey report do Muslims no favours

…. Casey’s twelve recommendations are a good start. However, in my view there is much more that government can do.

Most state school educational segregation occurs as a result of people’s self-segregating residential patterns when combined with school place allocation policies that give overwhelming weight to residential proximity to the school.

I would prohibit schools taking proximity into account when allocating places in the case of all pupils living within some specified distance from a school; say three miles (or if necessary a larger number) as the crow flies. Instead schools should, within that compass distance, be required to prioritise the duty to have a diverse pupil body.

When I was young, all TV in England was broadcast in English of course. That forced many people to absorb English just to watch TV. Today, the easy availability of foreign language satellite TV channels actively damages the English language skills of some members of ethnic minorities.

Subject to any constraints from EU law, I would like to see all TV channels broadcasting to England in languages other than English pay an extra tax, to drive up subscription prices (or advertising rates); the tax revenues would help to pay for increased English language teaching. [ConservativeHome] Read more