Unlike where I grew up, which had a decent(ish) mixture of races and cultures, the place I currently live is quite segregated; and as such, a lot of the people here have quite a myopic view on the subject of middle-eastern immigration.

“They should go back where they came from.”

There’s a famous, but often mis-quoted, phrase, that states that being born an Englishman is like winning the greatest lottery in the world. We have freedoms here, and in all of the western world, that so many could scarcely imagine. In this instance, I’m not talking about the right to eat food and drink clean water that people in so many starving third world countries don’t have. I speak of the many areas of the middle-east, where families have to worry about their children being blown apart on the way to school, where they have to worry about their livelihood, be it a shop or a farm or a restaurant or whatever, being destroyed or looted by thugs and armed terrorists. The ideal that a country exists where they can go, and not have to worry about their loved ones being forcibly drafted into extremist militia, being blown apart by stray bombings or terrorist attacks, must be as near a vision of heaven on earth as they may find, and a lucky few may earn enough or fight hard enough to earn safe passage to England or America or anywhere else where such liberties are granted. Telling them to go ‘home‘ is effectively sentencing them to a life or hardship and danger, simply because they weren’t fortunate enough to be born where you were.

My second point, is on integration. I have to endure a lot of people talking about how the Muslim communities are unfriendly, and keep to themselves; and how they don’t like seeing people walking the streets in veils and niqabs and robes. Trying to ban these religiously significant garments, has been many people’s intentions for a long time. How little thought does it require to understand why this is such a deep conflict for them? You’re asking them to give up key aspects of their religion, potentially the most important thing in their lives for many Muslims, in order to better fit in with British people. You’re asking them to associate more with British people, whom they have no choice but to see as sinners and as being immoral. You’re asking them to denounce their beliefs, or ‘go home’. You’re asking them to give up their identities, or face a life of fear and struggle.

I’m not putting forward a solution to this problem. I don’t have one. I understand the downsides of having these communities in this country. I understand the problems that can be caused with having unidentifiable citizens walking around in full-face veils. I understand the economic drains of immigration. I’m merely stating a fact that I find obvious.

The Islamic religion is often more significant to it’s followers than anything I could imagine in my world. Second only perhaps, to the safety and lives of their children and loved ones. How dare these privileged, unpersecuted, well-fed people try to force them to choose between one or the other.

I’m an atheist and yet I can still understand the significance of their faith. Why is it that so many of the people around me seem unable to do so.

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Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. My sentiments exactly. Having this discussion with people who want to ‘send them home’ really frustrates me. I’m glad you’ve written about this.

    Reply
  2. Well, I have seen muslims and they do keep to each other. I’ve also seen in Germany entire communities of Turkish people. The problem is assimilation. If you (as a nation) receive a lot of nationalities who refuse to integrate and become one of yours, then why have them in your country? I understand that they love the economics, higher wages, better cash, but why don’t they try to make their own country better and live there? Why move to england or Germany or any other western country and refuse to speak the host’s language, do your own thing even if the host finds it offensive and setup your permanent lifestyle there by opening a kebbab shop and responding to your customers in your native language.
    We have the same “issue” here in Romania where two counties have been ridden with Hungarians who now want independence…. Hungary is so close by – if they want to live in an independent state – go the fuck back over the border….
    Nevermind – just me being me. See your point though!

    Reply
  3. An interesting post. I would be careful, though, about giving them all the things you mentioned and asking nothing in return. Belonging to a larger society, being British, American, Australian, etc. is about, to one degree of another of “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

    If it is true, as you say, that they see everybody non-Muslim as sinners, then they have made a judgment just as bad as those who say they should “go home.” I don’t think all the people in the Muslim communities do, but for any group to see another group as sinners and therefore to be avoided does not send a welcoming impression to others, and in the end only serves to cause the others to generally act in kind. Now which side started first to exclude the others is probably something that will never be resolved, but it is something once started tends to perpetuate itself on all sides.

    In short, living in a democracy is about give and take, and even compromise, and if your core beliefs don’t allow you to have that option, then tolerance for the “other,” those outside your beliefs, won’t happen and democracy will fail.

    Reply
  4. One thing I’ve never understood is why the religions have to always try to prove that one god is better than the other. Can’t everyone just worship or pray in their own way, to their own god, without judging others for their choices? Must the deities be constantly weighed against each other? Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just let everyone celebrate their faith in their own way, as long as it’s not hurting anyone?

    Reply
  5. What it all comes down to is close mindness (is that a word?) from both sides.

    Reply
  6. The people saying things like ‘go home’ to people who may be second or third generation do not understand the hypocrisy of refusing to grant other people the rights they assume for themselves. Whether you like it or not if people are legally here, they are British and have just as much say in the country as we.

    Reply
  7. mmm….”The ideal that a country exists where they can go, and not have to worry about their loved ones being blown apart by stray bombings or terrorist attacks….” They didn’t bother coming over in the days of Horseguard’s parade or the Warruington bombings then? Of course, there is the undeniable fact that it was Muslims that were responsible for the London Tube bombings, bringing the fear that the IRA brought to London right back into focus. What I would like to see, and I’m not seeing it, is a little more emphatic condemnation by law-abiding Muslims of the ones who warp the tenets of their faith. Just sayin’…….

    Reply

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About Felix O'Shea

Felix is a guy who isn't actually a writer, but calls himself one when he wants to try to impress gullible people.

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Articles of a more serious nature, My Thoughts on Religion and Philosophy

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