Thursday 19 July 2007

Myers on Muslims

Today in letters to the editor of the Indo, Cian Cafferky and Anthony Bates are appalled by Kevin Myers' call to stop Muslims entering the country. But their hearts have overruled their minds. Both responses play on our emotions, while neither answers the fundamental question that Mr Myers asked : given the extreme difficulty posed by Muslim immigration to England, "what rational justification is there for enlarging our Islamic population?"

To be frank, I have grave difficulty with Mr Myers' proposal because it punishes the many for the sins of the few. And when it comes to the perpetrators of the horrible massacres we've seen in Spain, Britain, and elsewhere, we really are talking about the few. But we cannot ignore the shocking radicalisation of Muslim communities in Britain and France. As Mr Myers points out, when Muslim attitudes in these countries were surveyed, the results were frightening.

Liberals will cry that Muslims in France are unemployed or suffer discrimination. Those in Britain are angry at the War in Iraq. All of this is true, but none of it justifies the kind of anger at and raw hatred of the west that we've seen in these communities. Western countries have at various times wronged much of the Muslim world, but we know too that many British Muslims come from countries where all people, Muslim or not, are treated miserably and eke out short, impoverished lives. But for some reason, even grotesque Muslim regimes are spared the fury that is reserved for the West.

There is no reason to believe that we could do any better at integrating our Muslims. When the economy slumps, as it will one day, they too might suffer discrimination or deprivation. They might be angry at our unquestioning support of American foreign policy, or a future war for that matter. In that case, is there not a very real chance that our Muslims too would begin to hate us? In such circumstances, the horrid, loathsome fundamentalism that we've seen elsewhere could catch on here. As elsewhere, in the fertile soil of anger, it would flourish. Is this a horror we'd rather avert now, or deal with later?

Mr Myer's has suggested one way to prevent the problem. Those who attack him have not suggested an alternative. Until they do, his approach, though flawed and unpalatable, stands as the only rational way to avoid what could become a terrible nightmare.

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