“There's things that I see when I'm driving around Birmingham that shouldn't be happening. I only drive into these areas, never actually walk into these areas, I just wouldn't. Just in case I did do something that…because of their culture or their religion it was a threat or it was an insult or something.” — Resident of Birmingham.
“There are some communities born under other skies who will not involve the police at all… there are communities from other cultures who would prefer to police themselves.” — Sir Tom Winsor, chief inspector of the police forces in England and Wales.
“We are sleepwalking our way to segregation. We are becoming strangers to each other and leaving communities to be marooned outside the mainstream.” — Trevor Phillips, former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality.
“One of the results of [multiculturalism] has been to further alienate the young from the nation in which they were growing up and also to turn already separate communities into 'no-go' areas where adherence to this ideology [of Islamic extremism] has become a mark of acceptability.” — Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester.
This is the second article in a multi-part series documenting so-called no-go zones in Europe. The first article in this series documents no-go zones in France. This second segment focuses on the United Kingdom. It provides a brief compilation of references to British no-go zones by academic, police, media and government sources.
An erroneous claim on American television that Birmingham, England, is “totally Muslim” and off-limits to non-Muslims has ignited a politically charged debate about the existence of no-go zones in Britain and other European countries.
No-go zones can be defined as Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are de facto off limits to non-Muslims due to a number of factors, including the lawlessness, insecurity or religious intimidation that often pervades these areas.
In some no-go zones, host-country authorities are unable or unwilling to provide even basic public aid, such as police, fire fighting and ambulance services, out of fear of being attacked by Muslim gangs that sometimes claim control over such areas.
Muslim enclaves in European cities are also breeding grounds for Islamic radicalism.
Europe's no-go zones are the by-product of decades of multicultural policies that have encouraged Muslim immigrants to remain segregated from — rather than become integrated into — their European host nations.
The problem of no-go zones is well documented, but multiculturalists and their politically correct supporters vehemently deny that they exist. Some are now engaged in a concerted campaign to discredit and even silence those who draw attention to the issue — often by deliberately mischaracterizing the term “no-go zone.”
Islam expert Andrew C. McCarthy has offered a lucid clarification of what no-go zones are and of what they are not:
“[N]o sensible person is saying that state authorities are prohibited from entering no-go zones as a matter of law. The point is that they are severely discouraged from entering as a matter of fact — and the degree of discouragement varies directly with the density of the Muslim population and its radical component. Ditto for non-Muslim lay people: It is not that they are not permitted to enter these enclaves; it is that they avoid entering because doing so is dangerous if they are flaunting Western modes of dress and conduct.
In the United Kingdom, much of the debate over no-go zones — in Britain they are sometimes referred to as “Muslim areas” or “Muslim enclaves” — has focused on “white flight,” the large-scale migration of native white Britons out of a given neighborhood as more and more Muslim and other immigrants move in.
Although the issue of “white flight” remains taboo for British multiculturalists, official statistics and academic research confirm that many British cities are undergoing huge demographic transformations due to mass immigration.
A study by Oxford Professor David Coleman showed that if current immigration levels continue, white Britons will be a minority in little more than 50 years — within the lifespan of most young adults alive today. Coleman warned that this will be accompanied by a total change in national identity—cultural, political, economic and religious. He wrote: “The ethnic transformation implicit in current trends would be a major, unlooked-for, and irreversible change in British society, unprecedented for at least a millennium.”
A recent study by the think tank Demos found that native white Britons are increasingly abandoning parts of the country where Muslim immigrants have become the majority of the population. Demos wrote:
“In these areas, departing white British are replaced by immigration or by the natural growth of the minority population. Over time, the end result of this process is a spiral of white British demographic decline.”
An example of this trend is Birmingham. In August 2007, researchers at Manchester University predicted that the number of native white Britons in Birmingham would drop by nearly one-fifth over the next 20 years, from 65% in 2006 to 48% in 2027. At the same time, the number of Pakistanis in the city would nearly quadruple, increasing from 13% in 2006 to 48% in 2027.
In January 2013, Manchester University statistician Ludi Simpson analyzed official data from the 2011 census and found that native white Britons are already a minority in Leicester (45%), Luton (45%) and Slough (35%). He also forecast that they would be a minority in Birmingham by 2019, nearly a decade earlier than the previous estimate.
Muslim Enclaves in Britain
An analysis of 2011 census data reveals the existence of more than 100 Muslim enclaves in Britain. The Muslim population exceeds 85% in some parts of Blackburn and 70% in a half-dozen wards in Birmingham and Bradford. There are also large Muslim communities in Dewsbury, Leicester, London, Luton and Manchester, among others.
Birmingham: Bordesley Green (includes Small Heath) (73.9%); Hodge Hill (includes areas of Saltley and Ward End) (41.5%); Ladywood (35.2%); Lozells and East Handsworth (48.9%); Nechells (43.5%); Sparkbrook (includes Sparkhill) (70.2%); Washwood Heath (includes Alum Rock) (77.3%)
Blackburn with Darwen: Audley (68.7%); Bastwell (85.3%); Corporation Park (62.6%); Little Harwood (51.9%); Queen's Park (51.5%); Shear Brow (77.7%); Wensley Fold (39.8%)
Bolton (Greater Manchester): Crompton (32.7 %); Great Lever (36.6%); Halliwell (27.9%); Rumworth (51.8%)
Bradford (West Yorkshire): Bowling and Barkerend (45.8%); Bradford Moor (72.8%); City (57.3%); Great Horton (42.8%); Heaton (55.9%); Keighley Central (51.2%); Little Horton (58.0%); Manningham (75.0%); Toller (76.1%)
Brent: Barnhill (23.3%); Dollis Hill (31.3%); Dudden Hill (23.5%); Harlesden (21.8%); Stonebridge (28.2%)
Dewsbury (West Yorkshire): Dewsbury South (including Savile Town) (43.8%); Dewsbury West (46.7%)
Leeds: Gipton and Harehills (33.2%)
Leicester: Charnwood (38.7%); Coleman (39.7%); Spinney Hills (69.6%); Stoneygate (50.2%)
London Borough of Enfield: Edmonton Green (29.1%); Haselbury (25.7%); Jubilee (24.1%); Lower Edmonton (24.1%); Ponders End (29.0%); Upper Edmonton (26.4%)
London Borough of Tower Hamlets: Bethnal Green South (45.7%); Bromley-by-Bow (48.7%); East India and Lansbury (42.9%); Limehouse (35.5%); Mile End and Globe Town (34.3%); Mile End East (45.9%); Shadwell (46.7%); Spitalfields and Banglatown (38.6%); St Dunstan's and Stepney Green (48.7%); Weavers (30.3%); and Whitechapel (42.4%)
London Borough of Newham: Boleyn (40.5%); East Ham Central (39.6%); East Ham North (50.1%); Green Street East (49.1%); Green Street West (50.4%); Little Ilford (44.8%); Manor Park (45.4%); Wall End (33.9%)
London Borough of Redbridge: Clementswood (42.7%); Cranbrook (36.6%); Goodmayes (33.5%); Loxford (46.0%); Mayfield (34.6%); Newbury (29.4%); Seven Kings (31.3%); Valentines (40.0%)
London Borough of Waltham Forest: Forest (31.9%); Lea Bridge (32.3%); Leyton (30.2%); Markhouse (32.4%)
Luton: Biscot (64.6%); Dallow (includes parts of Bury Park) (61.6%); Saints (51.1%)
Manchester: Cheetham (43.3%); Longsight (53.8%); Rusholme (37.9%); Whalley Range (32.7%)
Oldham: Coldhurst (64.2%); Medlock Vale (32.3%); St Mary's (58.7%); Werneth (68.2%)
Pendle: Bradley (45.7%); Brierfield (38.8%); Walverden (47.1%); Whitefield (69.8%)
Rochdale: Central Rochdale (52.4%); Milkstone and Deeplish (67.1%)
Slough: Baylis and Stoke (44.7%); Central (40.6%); Chalvey (37.2%);
Westminster: Church Street (42.0%); Harrow Road (24.1%); Hyde Park (25.1%); Queen's Park (26.3%); Westbourne (33.1%)
Wycombe: Bowerdean (35.6%); Oakridge and Castlefield (45.7%)
Britain's Asian Muslims
The British Muslim community is ethnically diverse, although the vast majority are from Asia. Census data shows that two-thirds of Muslims (68%) have an Asian background, including 38% from Pakistan and 15% from Bangladesh. Just over 10% of Muslims fall into the official census category of “Black/African/Caribbean/Black British,” 7.8% are “White” and 6.6% are “Arab.”
Opinion surveys cited by Ludi Simpson show that most ethnic minorities identify as “British” at least as strongly as do native white Britons.
Many areas of Britain with large concentrations of Pakistani, Kashmiri and Bangladeshi Muslims, however, are insular, parallel societies that are run according to patronage-based politics, known as the biraderi (clan or tribal) system. These enclaves are also run according to Sharia law, as evidenced by the prevalence of honor-based violence, polygamy and forced marriage.
A report by the former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, Lord Ouseley, found that arranged marriages, common among Asian Muslims, are a key factor in the formation of Muslim ghettoes in Britain. The report said:
“The Sikh and Hindu communities are doing relatively well. Overall, their children are performing above average in educational terms. They tend to be better housed and are more likely to be in employment than are those of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origins. This can be explained mainly in class terms. Most of the Sikhs and Hindus come from the middle strata of their societies and are relatively well educated. Most of the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, predominantly Muslim, come from rural, or more correctly, peasant societies. Many have relatively little education and hold traditionalist views on religion. This, coupled with complex family relationships often identified with land ownership in Pakistan and Bangladesh, leads to a predominance of first cousin marriages which include one spouse from the country of origin. It is estimated these constitute 60% of marriages. This has a significant impact.
“It has a major impact on population growth. About 1,000 Bradfordian Muslims marry each year. If most of those marriages were internal to this country, it would lead to 500 new households which would be likely to average 4 children per household. (This is based on experience from other immigrant groups where family size usually halves that of the first generation by the second generation.) With 60% of marriages involving a spouse from overseas, the number of households goes up to 800 and, with many of the spouses being first generation, family size is likely to be significantly larger. So whereas 500 internal marriages might be expected to produce 2,000 offspring, the 800 marriages are likely to produce 4,000 offspring. This leads to very rapid population growth. In the eighties the Council estimated that the Muslim population would reach 130,000 by 2030 and then level. Now the projection is for 130,000 by 2020 and rising. The number of separate households is predicted to rise from 16,000 now to 40,000 in 2020. This rate of growth concentrated in particular areas puts severe demands on the public services. It has other ramifications. Many of the children arrive at school with little or no English. Many of those who come from overseas have little education and do not possess skills which are transferable to a Western economy. The high family size means overcrowding will be a persistent problem.”
A BBC Panorama documentary about separation and segregation between Muslim Asians and white Britons in Blackburn in Lancashire can be viewed here. According to the BBC:
“For all the hopeful talk about 'integration,' 'multiculturalism' and now 'cohesion,' the reality on the ground appears to be that Britain's Muslim Asian community and its white community have few points of contact, and that the white majority often feel they share little in common with the growing Muslim Asian minority.”
Professor Ted Cantle, an expert on inter-cultural relations, told the BBC:
“There is not just simply residential segregation, but there is separation in education, in social, cultural, faith, in virtually every aspect of their daily lives, employment too.
“It exists as a problem, to some degree or other, throughout the country, and it may be in small pockets and neighborhoods within larger cities like London and Birmingham and therefore not quite so evident.
“It might be whole boroughs or whole cities, but to some degree or another it exists. There is some degree of separation or segregation in most towns and cities.”
In 2001, the Principal Race Relations Officer at the Commission for Racial Equality, GV Mahony, warned about the proliferation of Muslim-only areas in Bradford:
“Not all Muslims in Bradford want Muslim-only areas. Traders, retailers, restaurant owners want and need a broad-based custom profile. However, there is a drive amongst the mosque-attending older generation who would like Sharia areas. There is also the minority of highly disaffected young men who want to control their patches. These two opposite ends of the spectrum desire the same thing albeit for different reasons and it is likely that they will support each other in order to attain their goals.”
Native white Britons are already in the minority in London (45%). According to Ludi Simpson, 23 of London's 33 boroughs are now “plural.” In the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (sometimes called “Britain's Islamic republic”), white Britons (31%) are outnumbered by Bangladeshis (32%).
Tower Hamlets and other parts of East London have been the focus of repeated attempts by Islamists to impose Sharia law on members of the public.
Extremist Muslim preachers — sometimes referred to as the Tower Hamlets Taliban — have issued death threats to women who refuse to wear Islamic veils. Neighborhood streets have been plastered with posters declaring: “You are entering a Sharia controlled zone. Islamic rules enforced.” And street advertising deemed offensive to Muslims has been vandalized or blacked out with spray paint.
Left, an example of the posters that have been put up in Muslim enclaves in Britain. Right, British jihadists in Syria encourage British Muslims to take up arms for the Islamic State, in a recruitment video entitled “There is No Life Without Jihad”.
The Sunday Telegraph uncovered more than a dozen other instances in Tower Hamlets where both Muslims and non-Muslims have been threatened or beaten for behavior considered to be a breach of fundamentalist “Islamic norms.” Victims said that police ignored or downplayed outbreaks of hate crime, and suppressed evidence implicating Muslims in them, because they feared being accused of racism or “Islamophobia.”
One victim, Mohammed Monzur Rahman, was left partially blind after being attacked by a mob in Cannon Street Road, Shadwell, for smoking during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. “Two guys stopped me in the street and asked me why I was smoking,” he said. “I just carried on, and before I knew another dozen guys came and jumped me. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in hospital.”
A group of Muslim men attacked a 23-year-old American student, who had only been in the country for three days, after they saw him drinking on an East London street. The student suffered extensive injuries, including a smashed eye socket. The perpetrators are now in prison.
The owners of restaurants and shops in Brick Lane in Whitechapel, a popular area of London, have been warned that they faced 40 lashes if they continued to sell alcoholic products.
In Leytonstone in East London, the former Home Secretary John Reid was heckled by the Muslim extremist Abu Izzadeen who yelled: “How dare you come to a Muslim area.” A four-minute video of the incident can be viewed here.
Muslim gangs have also been filmed loitering on London streets and demanding that passersby conform to Sharia law. In a series of videos, the self-proclaimed vigilantes — who called themselves Muslim London Patrol — are seen abusing non-Muslim pedestrians and repeatedly shouting “this is a Muslim area.”
One video records the men shouting: “Allah is the greatest! Islam is here, whether you like it or not. We are here! We are here! What we need is Islam! What we need is Sharia!”
The video continues:
“We are the Muslim Patrol. We are in north London, we are in south London, in east London and west London. We command good and forbid evil. Islam is here in London. [Prime Minister] David Cameron, Mr. Police Officer, whether you like it or not, we will command good and forbid evil. You will never get us. You can go to hell! This is not a Christian country. To hell with Christianity. Isa [Jesus] was a messenger of Allah. Muslim Patrol will never die. Allah is great! Allah is great! We are coming!”
In January 2015, twelve of the men were given Antisocial Behavior Orders (“Asbos”), forbidding them from “forcing their views on others” for a period of three years. Their spiritual mentor is a British-born Islamist agitator named Anjem Choudary, whose parents migrated from Pakistan.
In July 2011, “Muslims Against Crusades,” a group founded by Choudary, launched a campaign to turn twelve British cities — including what it calls “Londonistan” — into independent Islamic states. The so-called Islamic Emirates would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic Sharia law and operate outside British jurisprudence.
The Islamic Emirates Project named the British cities of Birmingham, Bradford, Derby, Dewsbury, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Sheffield, as well as Waltham Forest in northeast London and Tower Hamlets in East London, as territories to be targeted for blanket Sharia rule.
Muslims Against Crusades (proscribed in November 2011) is one of the many reincarnations of the Muslim extremist group al-Muhajiroun, which was banned in January 2010. A study published by the London-based Henry Jackson Society in September 2014 found that one in five terrorists convicted in Britain over more than a decade have had links to al-Muhajiroun.
An investigative report published by the British anti-fascism group Hope Not Hate in November 2013 concluded that al-Muhajiroun was “the single biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history.”
The group's founder, Anjem Choudary, remains free and continues to call for the implementation of Sharia law in Britain.
Meanwhile, Britain's first directly elected Muslim mayor — a close ally of Choudary named Lutfur Rahman, who runs Tower Hamlets Council — has been accused of using illegal tactics to get re-elected in May 2014. Muslim residents were allegedly told that they would not be “good Muslims” unless they voted for Rahman, who was born in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and moved to Britain as a child.
A letter signed by 101 Islamic figures that was published in a Bengali newspaper, The Weekly Desh, said that not voting for Rahman was an “un-Islamic and a sinful act.” Their pronouncements were allegedly used to cajole and control many within the local 65,000-strong Muslim community.
Rahman is linked to the Islamic Forum of Europe [IFE], an Islamist group dedicated to changing the “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed … from ignorance to Islam.”
In the years since he was first elected in 2010, Rahman has dedicated much of his time as mayor to diverting public money to the IFE, and to stocking public libraries in Tower Hamlets with books and DVDs containing the extremist speeches of banned Islamist preachers.
The complete transcript of a Channel 4 Dispatches film about the IFE's effort to implement Sharia law in London can be found here.
Luton, where one quarter of the residents are Muslim, is situated 30 miles (50 km) north of London. Luton has a total population of 200,000, including some 50,000 Muslims. Most are Pakistanis (30,000) or Bangladeshis (13,000), according to recent census data.
Many of the Muslims in Luton have settled in Bury Park, a well-known Muslim enclave where the native British population has all but disappeared. Muslims in Bury Park have been accused of “ethnic cleansing” for harassing elderly non-Muslims to the point that many have been forced to move away. BBC reports on “white flight” in Luton can be viewed here and here (links to original videos here and here).
Bury Park, a “town within a town” that abuts the Luton town center, is known for high unemployment, drug trafficking and domestic violence. Bury Park is also known for its nearly two dozen mosques and madrassas that cater to at least ten different Muslim groups or sects, including: Hizb ut-Tahrir, Salafism, Sufism, Deobandism and Barelvism. The largest mosque in Bury Park is the Luton Central Mosque, where loudspeakers attached to a minaret call Muslims to prayer.
Bury Park is home to at least two dozen of the more than 600 British jihadists who are fighting in Syria and Iraq. A BBC report on Muslim women from Luton who want to join the conflict in Syria can be found here.
An observer writes:
“When a Mecca Bingo Hall opened in the heart of Bury Park, its windows were smashed. The neon Mecca sign, some Muslims claimed, was an insult to their religion because it associated the name of their holiest city with gambling. Adverts and billboards featuring women deemed to be showing too much flesh have been defaced. An evangelical church was daubed with graffiti. Over the past 18 months or so, around 30 non-Muslim homes in the area have also been attacked. Multiculturalism in Bury Park now seems to mean a Muslim from Pakistan living side-by-side with a Muslim from Bangladesh, not white living next to black and brown.”
Birmingham has been the focus of “Operation Trojan Horse,” an alleged plot by Muslim extremists to Islamize primary and secondary schools in the city. British authorities are now investigating the activities of Islamists in at least 25 schools in Birmingham, up from initially four. The plan consists of a strategy to wrest control of schools by ousting non-Muslim head teachers and staff at secular schools and replacing them with ones who would run the schools according to strict Islamic principles.
Since Operation Trojan Horse came to light, British authorities have been inundated with hundreds of whistleblower complaints in Birmingham alone — including emails, letters and telephone calls from parents, teachers and school leaders — about the imposition of Islamic fundamentalist practices in city schools.
In 2009, the Birmingham Mail reported that native British working class Brummies [colloquial term for the inhabitants, accent and dialect of Birmingham] feared that parts of their city had become no-go areas for them. The article cited research carried out by the UK Department of Communities and Local Government, which questioned residents from the Castle Vale neighborhood about their feelings on immigration.
The report highlighted concerns that white people were not welcome in parts of Birmingham at night, and quoted an anonymous male contributor who described an area with a high “Asian” population where a road sign was sprayed with the phrase: “No Whites after 8:30.” He said:
“Perhaps I need to work harder in understanding the different cultures and things like that, but there's things that I see when I'm driving around Birmingham that shouldn't be happening.
“There's these areas that have completely been took over… and you do feel very uneasy. Not just me, and I only drive into these areas, never actually walk into these areas, I just wouldn't. Just in case I did do something that I… because of their culture or their religion it was a threat or it was an insult or something, because we don't understand.”
In 2011, the magazine Standpoint published the first-hand account of a British clergyman's wife who had just returned to London after living in Birmingham for the past four years. She wrote:
“For four years, we lived in inner-city Birmingham, in what has been a police no-go area for 20 years. We know that because some plain-clothed cops told us when they asked to use our vicarage as a stake-out to bust drugs rings that pervade the area. Even during this time we saw the area change. When we arrived, the population was predominantly Pakistani. Now Somalis are there in equal number. Most of the run-down Irish pubs were turned into mosques during our time.
“One day he [her husband] was chatting to a man with a passing resemblance to Lawrence of Arabia, who had just arrived from Antwerp—one of an increasing number of Muslims who are arriving here with EU passports. He asked him why he had come to Birmingham. He was surprised at the question: 'Everybody knows. Birmingham—best place in Europe to be pure Muslim.' Well, there must be many places in Europe where Muslims are entirely free to practice their faith, but I suspect there are few places in which they can have so little contact with the civic and legal structure of a Western state if they choose.
“To a London reader, born and bred with multiculturalism, I know that my stories may come across as outlandish and exaggerated… When I recently told a friend how a large Taliban flag fluttered gaily on a house near St Andrew's football stadium for some months, her cry of 'Can't you tell the police?' made me reflect how far many of our inner cities have been abandoned by our key workers: our doctors and nurses drive in from afar, the police, as mentioned before, have shut down their stations and never venture in unless in extremis—they and ambulance crews have been known to be attacked—even the local Imam lives in a leafier area.”
In January 2014, the chief inspector of the police forces in England and Wales, Sir Tom Winsor, told the London Times that “some parts of Britain have their own form of justice” and that crimes as serious as honor killings, domestic violence, sexual abuse of children and female genital mutilations often go unreported. He added:
“There are some communities born under other skies who will not involve the police at all. I am reluctant to name the communities in question, but there are communities from other cultures who would prefer to police themselves. There are cities in the Midlands where the police never go because they are never called. They never hear of any trouble because the community deals with that on its own. It's not that the police are afraid to go into these areas or don't want to go into those areas. But if the police don't get calls for help then, of course, they won't know what's going on.”
Similar warnings emerged from a documentary secretly filmed inside several of the 85 Sharia law courts operating in Britain, which exposed the systematic discrimination that many women are suffering at the hands of Muslim jurists.
The documentary, Secrets of Britain's Sharia Courts, was filmed by the BBC and was first aired on BBC Panorama, a long-running current affairs program, in April 2013.
The undercover investigation proved what has long been suspected: Sharia courts, which operate in mosques and houses across Britain, routinely issue rulings on domestic and marital issues according to Sharia law that are at odds with British law. Although Sharia rulings are not legally binding, those subject to the rulings often feel obliged to obey them as a matter of religious belief, or because of pressure from family and community members to do so.
In September 2005, the high-profile black chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, said in a speech that multiculturalism was dividing rather than uniting British society. He also warned of the emergence of “fully fledged ghettos” based on race and religion. Speaking after Hurricane Katrina exposed the black underclass in the American city of New Orleans, Phillips said:
“The fact is that we are a society which, almost without noticing it, is becoming more divided by race and religion. We are becoming more unequal by ethnicity… There are some simple truths which should bind us together.”
Phillips added that some districts are becoming “literal black holes into which nobody goes without fear and trepidation and from which nobody ever escapes undamaged.” He warned that this situation risks culminating in a “New Orleans-style Britain of passively coexisting ethnic and religious communities, eyeing each other over the fences of our differences.” He concluded:
“We are sleepwalking our way to segregation. We are becoming strangers to each other and leaving communities to be marooned outside the mainstream.”
The former head of the Commission for Racial Equality, Lord Ouseley, concurred. “We do have concentrations and clusters of ethnic groups in areas that are suffering poverty, racialism, exclusion and discrimination,” Ouseley told the BBC's Today program. “It's not new. It's been around for a while. It may be getting worse.”
In January 2008, Michael Nazir-Ali, then one of the Church of England's most senior bishops, warned that Islamic extremists had created “no-go” areas across Britain where it is too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter. In an essay published by the Sunday Telegraph, Nazir-Ali wrote:
“One of the results of this [multiculturalism] has been to further alienate the young from the nation in which they were growing up and also to turn already separate communities into 'no-go' areas where adherence to this ideology [of Islamic extremism] has become a mark of acceptability.
“Those of a different faith or race may find it difficult to live or work there because of hostility to them and even the risk of violence. In many ways, this is but the other side of the coin to far-Right intimidation. Attempts have been made to impose an 'Islamic' character on certain areas, for example, by insisting on artificial amplification for the Adhan, the call to prayer.
“Such amplification was, of course, unknown throughout most of [British] history and its use raises all sorts of questions about noise levels and whether non-Muslims wish to be told the creed of a particular faith five times a day on the loudspeaker.
“There is pressure already to relate aspects of the Sharia to civil law in Britain. To some extent this is already true of arrangements for Sharia-compliant banking but have the far-reaching implications of this been fully considered?”
Nazir-Ali was widely mocked for his politically incorrect observations. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, said they were “a gross caricature of reality.” William Hague, who at the time was the shadow foreign secretary, said Nazir-Ali had “probably put it too strongly.” The Muslim Council of Britain [MCB] accused him of “frantic scaremongering.”
Less than one month later, however, two Christian preachers were threatened with arrest for committing a “hate crime” after they handed out gospel leaflets in Alum Rock, a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham. One of the preachers, Joseph Abraham, said:
“I couldn't believe this was happening in Britain. The Bishop of Rochester was criticized by the Church of England recently when he said there were no-go areas in Britain but he was right; there are certainly no-go areas for Christians who want to share the gospel.”
The other preacher, Arthur Cunningham, said:
“He [the police officer] said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station.”
The then shadow home secretary, David Davies, accused Muslims of promoting a sort of “voluntary apartheid” by shutting themselves in closed societies and demanding immunity from criticism. He defended Nazir-Ali:
“Bishop Nazir-Ali has drawn attention to a deeply serious problem. The government's confused and counter-productive approach risks creating a number of closed societies instead of one open, cohesive one. It generates the risk of encouraging radicalization and creating home-grown terrorism.”
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group.