Leicester violence: Britain’s journey towards ghettoes and partition

One day the British political class, often supporting the separatist demands for Khalistan and the Lakshar-e-Taiba’s agenda for Kashmir, might have to contemplate the nature of democratic freedoms when a city like Birmingham, Britain’s third largest, becomes Muslim majority

Gautam Sen September 21, 2022 07:03:15 IST
Leicester violence: Britain’s journey towards ghettoes and partition

The tension, which started after India beat Pakistan in an Asia Cup game, has now snowballed into a clash between the Hindu and Muslim communities in Leicester. Image courtesy Twitter

The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but the journey apparently begins with self-deception with the destination evidently societal, moral and intellectual implosion. Britain has embarked on such a path and the violence in the streets of the Leicester in recent days is one more indicator of its progress. Commended as a model of peaceful ethnic diversity, Leicester’s descent into violent communal clashes has likely shaken the complacent metropolitan reveries about the city. The political backdrop is an official Britain that has thrived on a calculated potpourri of duplicitous management to obscure the reality of inter-ethnic and race relations in the country. Non-white collaborators have also been deployed cynically to promote patent lies to obscure more unpleasant truths since racist tensions are commonplace in Britain’s workplaces, including its universities.

The much bigger lie has been determined official sponsorship and universal media collusion to propagate the idea that Islam is a religion of peace and the only issue is the non sequitur of Islamophobia. Nothing can demolish this fervent establishment propaganda, which persists in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, of mass killings Muslim by terrorists and gang rape of children on an industrial scale, by mainly Pakistani Muslims. Such is the impudence and malicious deceit about the widespread sexual violence that it is unequivocally blamed on ‘Asians’ although not a single non-Muslim has been a perpetrator.

At the present moment, what is clear about the recent violence in Leicester, in which many mainly Ugandan Hindus had settled and achieved prosperity, is that the truth is not reliably apparent. It is uncertain how the communal clashes actually started, its progress and the nature of the violence though it is being claimed that a saffron flag was torn, shops looted and a Hindu temple attacked. One person wielding sharp instruments has been arrested and a seventy-five year-old Hindu pensioner, the son of a priest and carer for his disabled wife, has also been charged with incitement to commit disorder and violence.

The decision to prosecute this particular Hindu septuagenarian is somehow ironically apt because one unshakeable conviction in Christian Britain is that the Hindu priestly class, of allegedly casteist Brahmins, are irredeemably manipulative and racist. However, it may be assumed the truth about what transpired is unlikely to ever become known unless court proceedings are reported fully and without bias. What can be guaranteed is that the well-oiled Islamic propaganda machine will prevail in seizing the narrative during the interim and the Hindus will, as usual, flail about clueless.

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Already, one prominent Hindu spokesperson, sponsored by the police and the authorities as their faithful and likely paid collaborator, is finding fault with Hindus and that even before the full facts have been placed before the courts. However, Hindus are accusing the police of partisan inaction when the recent rioting targeting them began and it seems violence against Hindus had been going on for some months already. They also accuse the police of endangering them by appearing to legitimise the Muslim role in the rioting by cavalierly mistranslating slogans of ‘Pakistan murdabad’ as ‘Death to Muslims’ and inflaming the situation.

Many British cities with Muslim minorities rapidly develop Islamic ghettoes, like cities everywhere in the world where Muslims reside. Although the phenomenon is blamed on the invariably discriminatory instincts of every non-Muslim community world over, the truth is more mundane. Muslims consciously choose to live within their own community. This is a central facet of traditional Islamic political culture since de facto sovereignty of their own physical space is an imperative for them, as the late Lebanese Islamic scholar, Fuad I Khuri, has explained. One specific aspect of this preference abroad arises from the determination of Muslim parents not to expose their daughters to the lifestyles, sexual mores and underclad dress habits of young white women. Pakistani Muslims being prosecuted for the epidemic of gang rape of adolescents across Britain often described them in court as sluts.

The problems of violence and rape being associated with Muslim migrants is a huge problem in European cities. Even the grandson of Hassan Al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tariq Ramadan, an Oxford Professor, no less, whom the university anxiously sought to shelter to supposedly avoid offending his students, is being prosecuted for multiple rapes. However, at the other end of spectrum of state collusion with criminality, a well-established Swedish university academic is being prosecuted for identifying the religious identity of perpetrators of rape in a research paper. These are not merely individual acts of criminal behaviour but the result of ingrained belief systems that degrade women and despise them for their clothing and believed licentiousness. Such convoluted unreason and illogic are threatening to turn upside down the Enlightenment legacy of Europe and challenges the hard-worn rights of the women a century ago. But not everyone is prepared to take criminal misconduct lying down, with some citizens of Pakistan’s only faithful ally, Turkey, angrily demanding the expulsion of Pakistanis in their social media.

Yet, the global chaos being wrought by significant segments of Muslim immigrants and refugees cannot be attributed exclusively on an irrational rage. The frenzy that has prompted many Muslims to commit innumerable acts of terrorist violence has a context that needs to be borne in mind. They are angry and resentful at the continuing contemporary domination of their societies by effective foreign rule and looting of their national resources. Islam had become a friend of the British empire in the nineteenth century with its encouragement to both the Deobandis and Ahmadis later. Their use against Hindu protest that was reacting to imperial subjugation only intensified over subsequent decades until the British successfully created a military cantonment in West Punjab, called Pakistan. It was bequeathed a series of quasi-colonial territories of its own, from the Sindh to Baluchistan and Gilgit, forcibly seized by a British officer called Major William Brown from under the Maharajah of Kashmir’s nose. The attempt to supposedly secure the Indian subcontinent against Soviet incursion that dated back to the nineteenth century Great Game crystallised into an urgent goal once the Ottoman Empire was dissolved at the end of WWI.

It prompted bitter Anglo-French rivalry for territorial spoils and led to the creation of unviable political entities carved out for reasons of imperial convenience and Anglo-French compromise. Some of these kingdoms, like Iraq, were essentially unviable for reasons of geography and ecology. A completely artificial adjacent Kuwait itself was also created out of a handy set of oil wells. This was the particular rationale for the imperial goal of seizing the small coastal region in this case. The grand strategy was control over oil supplies, seen as the key to naval power with the end of the coal era.

The shameless scramble also led to the creation of an entire retinue of comprador sheikhs as rulers of countries, with suitably concocted religious lineages and royal antecedents. In subsequent decades, every attempt at democratic and secular reform by indigenous Arab elites was unceremoniously and ruthlessly crushed by the imperial powers. The overthrow of Iran’s democratically-elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossaddegh, in 1953 by Anglo-American intelligence is the most notorious example. The bitter Anglo-French struggle for mastery over the region had been succeeded by an equally shocking Anglo-American contest, memorably recorded in two volumes by the author, James Barr. The war against the Arabs never ceased and American wars of genocide against Iraq and Syria the most recent instances of imperial brigandage. The motive of Osama bin Laden for engaging in Jihad was the refusal of US troops to leave his homeland of Saudi Arabia.

Ye, it is true Islamic history and cultural practices cannot be disregarded as explanations for the widespread sexual violence against women that Western governments have conspired to overlook, to their eternal shame. The UK is an especially dishonourable example of the collusion of the authorities, over decades, despite awareness of rapes being committed by Pakistani gangs on a prodigious scale.

In this context, the seriousness of the recent communal violence in Leicester is only notable because it happens to be the first open outbreak. However, it may be an ominous signal of worse to come elsewhere in the country. Sadly, the unease among some over the dynamics of Islam in Britain has created an intellectual and moral infirmity. It is becoming pernicious owing to the prolonged contrived self-deception to exculpate Islam altogether as a factor, which has unsettled them seriously. Their ability to assess the ground realities of society and think clearly about its real undercurrents seems to have been undermined.

The few public intellectuals outraged by the criminal misconduct of their state in shielding Islam are now resorting to totally irrational and erroneous arguments trying to identify the reasons for the evidence of breakdown of law and order in their cities. The controversy pertains to widespread criminality, with 4 percent of the Muslim population constituting 16 percent of prison inmates and the phenomenon of confrontational Islamist cultural exclusivism that violates essential principles of cosmopolitan civic life. These commentators and writers have taken to blaming it all on the failure of so-called multiculturism itself. Yet, diverse communities from across the entire globe are comingling across the whole of Europe untroubled and happy, with the sole exception of Muslims. Communities from every corner of the world live in a city like London, from Europe, the USA and Latin America to Africa and Asia and little is heard of difficulties in their adaptation to British life, with a sense of mutual give and take.

Nevertheless, British cities remain significantly divided along ethnic lines especially because of its Muslim ghettoes. Many Hindu communities also tend to drift in to the same urban area though their relations with the host community remain mostly cordial despite widespread undertones of racially-motivated discrimination. For example, there is no correspondence between their impressive economic achievements and membership of major company boards or the jealously-guarded white-only elite clubs, prohibitory legislation notwithstanding.

One day the British political class, often in collective chorus supporting the separatist demands for Khalistan and the Lakshar-e-Taiba’s agenda for Jammu & Kashmir, might have to contemplate the nature of democratic freedoms when a city like Birmingham, Britain’s third largest, becomes Muslim majority. Its denizens might then seek sovereign autonomy outside the United Kingdom! However, even before that threat, the potential secession of Scotland in the near future looms large and Northern Ireland might also be tempted to join the Republic of Ireland as Britain’s economy falters. Such a dramatic challenge will be the result of a poorly negotiated Brexit by a populist and opportunist without vision or intellectual dexterity to reach a viable withdrawal from the European Union.

The writer taught international political economy for more than two decades at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Views expressed are personal.

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