Alien nation?

“On Thursday the Commission on Integration and Cohesion is finally expected to publish its findings, but the project is based on some big misunderstandings. There is a widespread anxiety that we are ‘sleepwalking into segregation’, as Trevor Phillips put it in 2005 when he was chair of the Commission for Racial Equality….

“The whole debate about race in this country has shifted from multiculturalism, tolerance and anti-racism to integration and this sticky notion of cohesion. The onus of responsibility has shifted from tackling the white community’s racism to assessing the ethnic minority community’s state of integration. The latter is supposed to indicate the likelihood of extremism – the most dubious connection of all in this debate riddled with misconceptions – after all, Mohammed Siddique Khan, one of the 7/7 bombers appeared to be ‘integrated’ with a job in a primary school, a wife and child.

“This anxious, nervy debate has little connection to the evidence being turned up by UK demographers. Academics like Ludi Simpson, Danny Dorling and Ceri Peach say that the UK is going through a process of desegregation as established ethnic minorities move out of inner-city neighbourhoods into surrounding suburbs.”

Madeleine Bunting at Comment is Free, 13 June 2007

Read Commission on Integration and Cohesion report Our Shared Future here.

For the controversy surrounding one member of Ruth Kelly’s commission, Ramesh Kallidai, see Andrew Gilligan’s article in the Evening Standard (reprinted here). The issue is not so much Kallidai’s alleged association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh but rather that he has deployed Hindutva myths about Muslims forcing young Hindu women to convert to Islam in the UK. It seems that while Kelly excludes representatives of the Muslim community on the basis of links with Jamaat-e-Islami or the Muslim Brotherhood, even though these links have no adverse impact on community relations in this country, she has no problems working with a Hindu admirer of the fascist RSS.