Opinion: Britons Must Not Alienate Muslims With Heavy "Integration Agenda"

July 14, 2005

Source: The Guardian


On July 14, 2005 The Guardian ran an opinion piece by Madeleine Bunting on the treatment of the Muslim communities in the wake of the July 7 bombings in London. Bunting writes, "The anxiety among Muslims is that this crisis will ensnare a range of issues - some relevant, some not - that come under the rubric that 'to avoid terrorism, we must know more about our Muslim communities.' This 'integration' agenda was summed up by a particularly intemperate commentator yesterday who urged the government to 'tear into those Muslim ghettos. Force them to open up. Make the imams answer ... they must become more ordinary.' This could expand into a shopping list of demands, from supervision of mosques, licensing of imams and restrictions on intercontinental marriage, to the state monitoring every aspect of Muslim life. We - Muslim and non-Muslim - have to be much cleverer than that. There is no point alienating another generation of Muslim men with an intrusive, aggressive state; that will only push more of those poised on the margins into secretive extremism... And we have to shrewdly identify our allies. Our best chance lies within the Muslim community itself - in its own capacity for reform and renewal."