There's much of interest in this report in the British Daily Mail on a recent poll taken in that country. Here are some of the findings:
Most Britons now believe the Muslim faith is a threat to Western democracy, a new survey has revealed. A YouGov poll shows that increasing numbers think "a large proportion" of British Muslims feel no loyalty to the UK and are ready to condone or even carry out terrorist atrocities, while far more people feel threatened by Islam itself than was the case five years ago.
The starkest finding was that 53 per cent of people now agreed that Islam itself - not just fundamentalist groups - posed a threat to Western liberal democracy, while only 34 per cent disagreed. A year ago the proportions were evenly balanced, and in 2001 only 32 per cent of people felt threatened by the Muslim faith while 63 per cent believed there was no threat.
The proportion of respondents who agreed that "a large proportion of British Muslims feel no sense of loyalty to this country and are prepared to condone or even carry out acts of terrorism" has almost doubled since last year from 10 to 18 per cent. At the same time the proportion stating that "practically all British Muslims" are law-abiding and deplore terrorism has dropped from 23 to 16 per cent.
More people now want MI5 and the Police to focus their counter-terrorist efforts on Muslims - up from 60 to 65 per cent in a year - while fewer are concerned about the impact on race relations -down from 30 to 23 per cent.
My first reaction to this story is surprise that the percentages were as modest as they are. I wonder how many respondents would have answered otherwise but didn't wish to seem to the pollster as being "illiberal".
The poll results came as Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly admitted that the doctrine of multi-culturalism - the cornerstone of left wing immigration and race policies for the past 20 years - may have been wrong, and contributed to isolation and alienation between communities.
Launching the Government's new Commission on Integration and Cohesion - first promised by ministers last year following the July 7 bombings - she admitted that encouraging immigrants to retain their own culture rather than to integrate with wider society may have "encouraged separateness."
This just goes to show that even a government bureaucrat can have the scales fall from her eyes if the evidence smacking her in the head hits her hard enough. It has long been an argument in this country that multiculturalism is counter-productively divisive. When we emphasize the things that make us different rather than those things that make us alike we should not be surprised that our communities remain balkanized and suspicious of one another. We should not be surprised, when we tell immigrants that they need not worry about assimilating into the larger culture and adopting the political values of the larger society, that they don't.
Immigration would be a good thing for both the immigrant and his new nation if the immigrant wished to become a full citizen in his new country, but Muslim immigrants too often don't. Their dream - I had an imam tell me this once in so many words - is to replace the constitutions of the countries in which they live with Islamic law. They'll use democratic processes to do this, but once they are successful in achieving political dominance the principles of democracy will be discarded and all law will be based on the Quran. Now there's an unsettling thought.