Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tories accuse Muslims of 'creating apartheid.

UK: I said this a while ago, that UK Muslim groups and its leaders by excessive excuse making and whining against everything were creating a situation where a backlash would be inevitable and harsh. It seems over the last month, it has been building to this startling statement from the Tories.

The Conservatives today accuse Muslim leaders of encouraging "voluntary apartheid" in Britain by shutting themselves away in closed societies and demanding protection from criticism. advertisement David Davis, the shadow home secretary, says that Britain risks social and religious divisions so profound that society's very foundations, such as the freedom of speech, will become "corroded" and that the perfect conditions for home-grown terrorism will be created. His stark intervention, in an article for The Sunday Telegraph, represents a toughening of the Tory stance on the dangers of Islamic radicalism and follows calls from some leading ministers for Muslim women to remove their veils. It is also a departure from the "caring Conservatism" message laid out by David Cameron. Mr Davis says he supports the stance on veils adopted by Jack Straw, the Commons Leader, but believes the wider issue is one of the "very unity of our nation". "What Jack touched on was the fundamental issue of whether, in Britain, we are developing a divided society. Whether we are creating a series of closed societies within our open society. Whether we are inadvertently encouraging a kind of voluntary apartheid. "At the starkest level, we may be creating conditions in the recesses of our society that foster home-grown terrorism." Mr Davis's comments follow a series of events that highlight the reluctance among some Muslims to integrate fully into British society. Aishah Azmi, a 24-year-old teaching assistant, is taking legal action because her school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, asked her to remove her veil in front of children. Madani High School, an Islamic school in Leicester, is ordering its non-Muslim girls to wear headscarves. An ICM poll this weekend showed 57 per cent of voters want Muslims to do more to fit in and 53 per cent agree with Mr Straw that the full veil creates a barrier between Muslim women and other people. Mr Davis's comments – strongly challenged by leading Muslim groups – also come against a backdrop of rising numbers of Islamophobic attacks. He said: "There is a growing feeling that the Muslim community is excessively sensitive to criticism, unwilling to engage in substantive debate. Much worse, is the feeling of some Muslim leaders that as a community they should be protected from criticism, argument, parody, satire and all the other challenges in a society that has free speech as its highest value. It is straightforward. I respect your religion, you respect mine and we all respect our laws. No special treatment." Mr Davis won support from David Blunkett, Labour's former home secretary, who said: "We should not go out of our way to avoid saying things that we want to say because we might actually cause a rumpus." Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "No group in modern Britain has been as systematically vilified in recent years in the media as British Muslims. To say this is to state a clear fact, it is not to be 'excessively sensitive' as Mr Davis suggests. We all as a society ought to uphold the right to free speech. However, that includes the right to protest peacefully against vilification and abuse."
Check out Bunglawala pieces in Comment Guardian to see the attitude that Davis is talking about.

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