‘Muslim Britain is becoming one big no-go area’ – Shiraz Maher backs Nazir-Ali, and is joined by Ed Husain

“Perhaps it had to be someone like Michael Nazir-Ali, the first Asian bishop in the Church of England, who would break with convention and finally point out the elephant in the room.

“His comments last week about the growing stranglehold of Muslim extremists in some communities revived debate about the future of multiculturalism and provoked a flurry of condemnation. Members of all three political parties immediately clamoured to dismiss him. ‘I don’t recognise the description that he’s talked about – no-go areas and people feeling intimidated’, said Hazel Blears, the communities secretary.

“A quick call to her Labour colleague John Reid, the former home secretary, would almost certainly have helped her to identify at least one of those places. Just over a year ago Reid was heckled by the Muslim extremist Abu Izzadeen in Leytonstone, east London, during a speech on extremism, appropriately. ‘How dare you come to a Muslim area’, Izzadeen screamed.”

Former Hizb ut-Tahrir member Shiraz Maher in the Sunday Times, 13 January 2008

Is Maher really so stupid that he believes the rantings of an isolated and unrepresentative nutter like Abu Izzadeen tell us anything about the attitudes of the Muslim population of Leytonstone?

Meanwhile over at the Sunday Telegraph another former HT member welcomes Nazir-Ali’s intervention. Ed Husain writes:

“Our political class, media and civil society are dominated by good-hearted, middle-class people who do not wish to admit that a well-intentioned idea – multiculturalism – can have such devastating effects. A weekly curry in Brick Lane is not enough to understand the the underworld that extremists manipulate to ensure that their version of a rigid, soulless political ideology – Islamism – reigns supreme in so-called ‘Muslim areas’….

“In the name of multiculturalism, we have created monocultural ghettoes. A shopper in London’s Green Street or Birmingham’s Alum Rock Road may as well be somewhere in India.

“My objection is not to a cluster of retail outlets specialising in ethnic attire – much like, say, Jermyn Street in Piccadilly for men – but to the surrounding communities where people languish for decades without access to English, education, social mobility or contact with mainstream Britain. The uncontrolled arrival of new immigrants only compounds the insularity.”

For Yusuf Smith’s response to Husain (“I do not see a debate about multiculturalism: I see an orchestrated attack on it, based on exaggerations and untruths”) see Indigo Jo Blogs, 13 January 2008