Among other observations, the cable states that Pandith was shocked to find “girls as young as four years old were completely covered.” The document continues: “At a local book store, texts… seemed designed to segregate Muslims from their wider community, urging women to cover themselves and remain in their homes, playing up the differences between Islam and other religions, seeking to isolate Muslims from community, and feeding hate of Jews to the young.”
The cable also recounts a discussion Pandith had with religious and community leaders at an Ahmadiyya (an Asian Islamic sect) mosque: “Yaqub Khan, General Secretary of a local organization called the Pakistan Association, insisted that he had to teach young people in Urdu. When Pandith challenged him as to why he would use Urdu with children who were growing up with English as their first language, Khan insisted that there were no good books on the Koran in English.”
Leicester is also notorious for having the fourth-highest rate of unemployment in Britain. Moreover, the city has very high rates of illiteracy, and ranks as one of the worst five municipalities in England for education.
A recent survey, entitled “Muslims in Leicester,” says that Muslims in the city are especially prone to underachievement and unemployment. The report says the inner city Spinney Hills neighborhood, which has the highest percentage of Muslims in Leicester, is also the ward with the lowest rate of full-time employment, the highest rate of unemployment, the highest level of economic inactivity, the highest percentage of “no qualifications” for work and the highest level of social housing.
Muslims are now demanding political power within the Leicester city council, as well as the freedom to wear their religious dress at work and to have halal food in the city hospitals. They are also seeking their own faith-based schools.
One such school, the Leicester Islamic Academy – where female students wear the full-length dress and head-covering and the boys wear black robes and skullcaps — has been accused by the British government of promoting Islamic separatism. Another state-run Islamic school in Leicester, the Madani High School, has run afoul of government regulators for reneging on its promise that 10% of its pupils would be non-Muslim.
The British government has tried — unsuccessfully — to reverse the tide of Islamic separatism in Leicester. In June 2008, for example, the city hosted the first in a series of road shows designed to tackle the problem of honor-based violence. Leicester has been plagued by forced marriages, kidnappings, physical and mental abuse of women, and other honor-based crimes against those who have not, according to family and local community members, conformed to religious or cultural expectations.
Trevor Phillips, the former head of the Commission for Racial Equality, has warned that Britain is “sleepwalking to segregation.” In a speech in Manchester, he said: “Segregation is now so extreme in some schools that there is not much farther it can go. It does not help to prepare children in these schools for the real world.” Phillips also described cities like Leicester as “literal black holes into which nobody goes without fear and trepidation and from which nobody ever escapes undamaged.”
Alluding to the transformation of cities like Leicester, Michael Nazir-Ali, a former bishop of the Church of England, has lamented that Islamic extremists have turned parts of Britain into no-go areas for non-Muslims. Lashing out at the spread of religious separatism and the damage caused by the doctrine of multiculturalism, Nazir-Ali has also warned against the acceptance of Islamic Sharia law in Britain, and has criticized amplified calls to prayer from mosques, which he says are imposing an Islamic character on many British towns and cities.
Leicester’s motto is Semper Eadem: “Always the Same.” But Osman’s promotion to city mayor implies that life in Leicester is fast changing.
Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org
About the Author: The writer is the Senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group, one of the oldest and most influential foreign policy think tanks in Spain.
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