The spectacle of all five candidates for the Tory leadership pandering to an Imam who invited them to condemn ‘Islamophobic rhetoric’ in last week’s television debate was disgusting – and that was one’s reaction even before the Imam concerned was revealed to be an anti-Semitic bigot. They were falling over themselves to demonstrate their respect for Islam, their appreciation of the contribution of Muslims to our country, the benefits of mass immigration, and the virtues of multiculturalism.
Hunt boasted that his wife was Chinese, Johnson that his great grandfather was Turkish, Javid that his parents were Muslim, Stewart that he was proud to have spent much time travelling in the Muslim world, and Gove declared Islamophobia ‘repugnant’. Johnson told the Imam, ‘I’m very proud to have you in our country’, Stewart condemned people ‘saying, doing and thinking things about Muslims that are unacceptable’ (it seems that thought, too, is now to be criminalised), and all were agreed that Britain is the world’s most successful multi-racial multi-cultural society.
Well, it must seem that way when one views the world from Primrose Hill, and when one’s attitude to foreigners and other cultures is that of a Victorian botanist who collects exotic specimens, or the dandy who samples exotic experiences, tastes and smells. One suspects that when the likes of Johnson and Stewart retire to their clubs and dinner parties in the evening, the only signs of diversity are the Persian rug, the Ming vase, and the gilt-framed portrait of a harem.
Of course, there are Muslims who do make a great contribution to our nation, are valued and respected members of the community, who are integrated into our society, and who are loyal citizens. Unfortunately, there are many who do not fit this description. Ask the English of Bradford, Burnley, Dewsbury, Blackburn, Luton and Tower Hamlets – where conservative Muslims live apart in parallel communities, local pubs have shut down, the call to prayer has replaced the peal of church bells, Muslim children attend Islamic schools, and where uncovered women fear to walk alone on the streets – and you get a very different story.
Ask the English of Rochdale, Rotherham, Telford, Oxford and countless other towns, where Muslim grooming gangs have been at work on white English teenagers, and you will get a very different story. Ask ex-Muslims, like the woman in my church congregation who is currently under death threat for ‘apostasy’, and you will get a very different story. I see that the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, which defends the freedom to criticise religions, now stands accused of – guess what? – Islamophobia.
Well, my wife too is a foreigner, and my mother. I have travelled and lived abroad. I have developed a real affection for countries, and cultures, other than my own. My best friend at school (I’m not making this up) was a Pakistani Muslim, whose family suffered their share of racial abuse back in the 1970s – I’m sorry to say. But I’m still English. I’m proud of our nation, our English civilization, our English freedoms, our English way of life, our English traditions, our English humour, and even our English food. And I’d to see them preserved.
Why can’t Conservative politicians share this pride?
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