No longer content with preaching Sharia in the mosque, some British Muslims are now attempting to impose Islamic law on the streets. In videos posted on YouTube, self-described “Muslim patrols” have filmed themselves berating young women for being inappropriately dressed, seizing cans of beer from men, and burning posters advertising women’s underwear.
In another video, a mob pursues a man they suspect of being gay down a street, calling him a “fag” and telling him to get out of their “Muslim area.”
The videos are the latest example of how many Muslims — particularly young men — are not just failing to integrate into British society, but are becoming increasingly open in their hostility to it. It’s more evidence, if any more were needed, of the disastrous legacy of the policies of mass immigration and multiculturalism inflicted on Britain by Tony Blair’s “New Labour” government.
Only the worst excesses — such as the vigilante videos and the case last year of a Muslim gang that raped and abused vulnerable white girls — get widespread media attention. But national and local media regularly carry stories of less sensational yet alarming incidents. Even these are only the tip of the iceberg; the failure of multiculturalism is manifested in countless minor incidents in cities across Britain every day.
Typical of such incidents is what my partner experienced recently when walking through an ethnically mixed area of a city that is home to large numbers of Somali refugees. She had to run a gauntlet of hissing, spitting, and hostile comments from Somali men. The Somali women, meanwhile, turned their backs on her. Such insidious, low-level incidents go largely unremarked upon, but are the source of growing tensions.
The encounters captured in those videos show a new development. In the past, the worst excesses of Muslim extremism have been perpetrated in the shadows. The victims were mostly either young girls from poor white communities — as in the “grooming” incident — or other Muslims who are the victims of abuses ranging from being denied an education to female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and “honor” attacks which in some cases result in murder. But the people being harassed and threatened in the videos are random passers-by. Many of them will be young, liberal-minded urban dwellers who fancy themselves as sophisticated and tolerant types and who desire living in culturally mixed communities.
Increasingly, Islamists are coming into conflict with the very people who have been most eager to embrace liberal thinking on immigration, political correctness, and “diversity.” Multiculturalism has been a warmly satisfying and largely consequence-free indulgence for white liberals. It allowed them to flaunt their moral superiority over “racist” conservatives (an advisor to the Blair government has admitted that Labour’s immigration policy was a political project intended to “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”). It also served to alleviate their guilt over past actual sins, such as the slave trade, and to present imagined ones, such as “globalization.”
Labour’s lax attitude to immigration had distinct material benefits for the liberal elites. It ensured plentiful supply of cheap nannies, exotic food stores, and hip ethnic restaurants, while those who could afford to were able to keep a safe distance from the squalor and criminal activity of the slum areas that mass immigration helped create.