Wisdom of Enoch?

26th November 2004 at 00:00
I was interested to hear comments by a friend of murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh on Radio 3 about the need to integrate Muslims into our communities, replacing their cultural identity to protect national security and eradicate extremism.

In England we have had racial clashes in places such as Oldham. The "rivers of blood" have been realised here and on the continent although the author of that particular speech never received an apology for being vilified as a racist. As for Iraq, it is just a big racial clash dressed up as war.

I have suggested to colleagues that FE could be at the forefront of integration, unifying the country and helping Muslims embrace our culture fully. This has not gone down well and I have been accused of racism.

I think FE is already at the forefront of helping those new to our country as well as those who suffered when Enoch Powel was making scapegoats out of foreigners.

Extreme actions such as the murder of Theo van Gogh beget extreme reactions. Colleges should not tolerate proselytising groups and must, I believe, stop extremists operating on college grounds. But England historically has a good record of integration and tolerance, from French Huguenots to those escaping the partitioning in India or answering the call to work in factories from the Great West Road to Teesside. There has been racism, there has been Norman Tebbit and the murder of Stephen Lawrence, but no Nuremburg Laws, no genocide. Erasing cultural identity is a step in the wrong direction.

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