On February 26, a UK think-tank — The National and International Security Group — released its interim report on social cohesion. The findings inspired Conservative Party leader David Cameron to give his strongest speech ever on the pitfalls and failures generated by multiculturalism. The next morning at 12:54 am, a 5.3 earthquake shook England awake. It was the largest temblor to hit Britain in a decade. Mere coincidence?
The Security Group stated outright what many Britons and Americans had concluded long ago: that unrestrained multiculturalism had resulted in attitudes that encouraged differences at the expense of the greater social whole. By stressing such differences, the report asserted, Muslim organizations in the UK had been able to use multicultural ideology to give greater weight to their own views.
The report found: "As Muslim communities enter the third generation of settlement in this country, and in circumstances where a rapidly rising proportion have been educated here, it is anomalous and patronising to individuals to treat them indirectly as members of a group and not directly as citizens in their own individual right on a par with other voters."
Mr. Cameron went a little farther when he accused some Muslim associations of deliberately using multiculturalism to promote an "us versus them" paradigm. These organizations had created their political power bases by fostering “ghettoization.”
Self-imposed segregation was credited with creating a generation of young Muslims who feel like aliens in their own country. For their sense of identity, they have turned toward Islamic radicalism, both within small local cells or as members of larger extremist movements. While he was at it, Cameron took aim at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent suggestion that a smidgeon of Sharia Law could be tacked on to work in tandem with the British legal system. The Tory leader said that the application of this “dangerous and illiberal” idea would result in “legal apartheid” and could further undermine Britain’s already shaky sense of collective national identity. Experts in the bleeding obvious, these think tank folks, but clearly they assisted Mr. Cameron, in lifting the veil at last.
By week’s end, the newspapers were full of photos of fallen chimneys and assorted scattered bits of masonry. Tales of near misses were giving some folks their 15 minutes of fame. Amid this post-quake coverage, two other major stories emerged to shake up the British public.
The first was neatly compacted into this headline: “Bobbies will be taught sharia law and the Koran in a secret plan to counter terror at the local level.” The explanation given for turning police stations into mini-madrassas (Islamic religious schools) was not just to provide multicultural sensitivity training, but to help the coppers ferret out budding extremists. Critics suggested that this kind of training would, in fact, turn crime fighters into defacto religious police squads, trained like sniffer dogs to pick up the scent of Islamic radicals, just as the religious fashion police in Iran go looking for girls whose hijabs aren’t up to snuff.
One Conservative MP groaned: “Police officers are not there to implement sharia law. They are there to implement British law. We will only get community cohesion when everybody signs up to being British and following British law.” Police authorities insisted that this theological training for bobbies was “part of a wide-ranging strategy to prevent extremist ideas gaining hold in primary schools, colleges, the internet, and prisons.” For example, to help nip things in the bud, the police would henceforth be expected to give guidance to parents on how to stop their offspring from searching out extremist websites. This practice would presumably be carried out on a door-to-door basis or with the help of psychics.
For a touch of complete irony, this “Prevent Plan” (as it has been tagged) was formulated after yet another piece of research discovered that because Muslims did not trust the police, they were unlikely to call in tips about extremist activities in their communities. Somehow this revelation was translated into the vision of teaching the Koran to the cops as a trust-building exercise. As the Archbishop of Canterbury has said, the UK has to “face up to the fact” that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system and therefore Muslims should not have to choose between "the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty."
Is your head spinning yet?
The other big secret let out of the bag was that Prince Harry had been serving in Afghanistan since Christmas. Matt Drudge was identified as the culprit in fingering Harry’s undercover soldiering. It seems that the British press corps, both print and broadcast, had taken a solemn oath to keep Harry’s secret, which they did. This has since given rise to a raging debate on how much the press can be trusted if they can keep such a big secret from the public. The discussion amusingly presumes such trust was a pre-existing condition.
Harry was quickly whisked back to England where he was greeted by some as a hero who had done the British proud. In return, Harry gave an interview in which he said Army food was rubbish, he didn’t get his Father’s Christmas card until February, and if he couldn’t be a regular soldier he was going off to live in Africa because — truth to tell — he doesn’t like England all that much. So there.
Reactions to Harry’s deployment from Islamic quarters were pretty predictable. They claimed that by shooting at the resurgent Taliban he had made the Royal family legitimate targets for retribution. It was now a personal thing. One hopes that the fellows who guard Buckingham Palace are not thumbing through the Koran when retaliatory attacks are attempted by bands of angry multiculturalists.