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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tony Blair on Making Muslim Integration Work

We have to nail down the definition of the problem. There is no general failure to integrate. In the U.K., for example, we are not talking about Chinese or Indians. We are not talking about blacks and Asians. This is a particular problem. It is about the failure of one part of the Muslim community to resolve and create an identity that is both British and Muslim. And I stress part of it. Most Muslims are as much at ease with their citizenship in the U.K. as I am. I dare say that is true in other European nations too. 

However, some don't integrate. But when we talk about this in general terms, without precision, for fear of "stigmatizing" Muslims, we alienate public opinion and isolate the majority of Muslims who are integrating and want to be as much part of our society as any other group. Then, because we won't identify the problem as it is, a subterranean debate takes the place of an open one, and that debate lumps all Muslims together. So in the interest of "defending" the Muslim community, we actually segregate it by refusing to have an honest debate about what is happening.

Full piece here


Anonymous said...

Tony Blair is tip-toeing around the very real issue here. The fact of the matter in most European countries including the UK is that Muslims in general find it very hard to integrate. They want to maintain their own identity, laws and values, but sadly all this does not cooperate with Western values, laws and society. This is why tensions are rising all over the place and it is also the reason why our politicians need to get their act together and force Muslims to integrate. If the politicians don't do this the populations will and it will not be nice. There is another debate about he subject here - http://www.pladder.com/international/134-can-muslims-coexist-with-non-muslims.html

Richard K said...

I disagree about it being the Muslim population in general. There are countless examples of Muslims who have fully integrated into western culture and have become valuable, contributing citizens.

But there is a significant segment of that community that has not, as Blair has pointed out. It is not helpful to ignore that reality. But it is not fair to paint every Muslim with the same brush. It is the moderate, reasonable, secular Muslims who will be at the forefront of isolating their fanatical co-religionists. It is those same moderate Muslims who face the most threats from the radical elements in that community, and they need our support.