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English versus Arabic and Spanish
By Alan Caruba
Recently I received an email from the London School of Islamics authored by Iftikhar Ahmad. It reflects some very large issues and problems that the British, European and American communities encounter when they open the doors to the immigration of groups who do not want to assimilate into their culture and society, while enjoying the benefits of those societies, chief among which are freedoms that do not exist in their home countries.
America is the greatest and most successful experiment regarding the integration and assimilation of people of differing cultures, languages and religions. America is living proof that such assimilation is possible and results in a society that rewards personal merit and hard work.
The London School of Islamics (LSI) news release, dated November 13, began with the headline "Crime Against Humanity." It stated that, "to deprive a Muslim child from his/her culture and language is a crime against humanity." After the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, Islam is the third largest religion in the United Kingdom. Throughout Europe, Muslims are a growing, though minority population. What the LSI wants, however, are "state-funded Muslim schools." It wants to be separate from the mainstream of English society.
In a comparable fashion, Hispanics in America have been lobbying, often with success, to make Spanish the second official language of the nation. There is even a movement to "reconquer" those formerly Mexican areas of the nation and the official policy of the Mexican government is to create a southern border which Mexicans could cross at will, electing to live here if they wish, enjoy all the benefits of American citizenship, but retaining their own citizenship at the same time.
The LSI, however, maintains, "It is absurd to say that (the) Muslim community should demonstrate ‘Englishness.' They can't. But they can be and are British." No, they can't unless they are fluent in the English language and feel at home in England. Neither can Mexicans who insist on remaining Mexican rightly call themselves American without being able to speak English and adapting to our society. One either chooses to assimilate into their new, chosen homeland or they should return to their former one.
According to the LSI, however, the only way a Muslim can be an Englishman would be if they "start moving in and around pubs, indulge in binge drinking, visiting night clubs, and frequently changing partners." This picture of an English society of drunkards and sexual depravity might be laughable if it was only shared by Iftikar Ahmad, but the battles being waged in the world these days between Muslims and all others is based on this belief in the moral superiority of Islam and the view that the world can only exist if Islam is imposed on it through holy war.
The LSI wants a Britain where Arabic, Urdu and Persian are languages on an equal footing with the language of Shakespeare and Churchill. The LSI wants a Muslim England. In a comparable fashion, the Mexicans and other Hispanics who live among Americans, but insist that their language and culture take precedence are equally arrogant and indifferent to the majority of the population.
What we are discussing here is more than a clash of cultures. It is the demand for separatism and of isolation within the larger societies they call home or, at least, in which they live. It is this cultural, religious, and social separatism that has mired the Middle East in a seventh century society living in a 2lst century world. It encourages despotism and corruption. In a comparable way, no American would trade our economic, electoral and justice system for that of Mexico where poverty is so vast that it drives its people to risk their lives to come here to simply feed and cloth their families.
The real crime against humanity would be if Islam succeeded in its goal of eliminating all other religions and the real crime of illegal immigration to America is testing our willingness to compromise our laws and our society for the demands of a minority that flouts our legal system and drains our economy by putting demands on our education, health and law enforcement systems. One is either an American by birth or naturalization or they are not. A Muslim in England is either British or they are not.
The notion that Great Britain should pay for separate school systems for Muslims is absurd. The notion that America should abandon its legal system to absorb every illegal alien is absurd. No one is asking that a minority abandon its culture, but neither should the host nation be asked to abandon its culture.
It is a supreme irony that both American and British soldiers are in the process of fighting to liberate millions of Afghanis and Iraqis from decades, if not centuries, of oppression while, at the same time, striving to establish a system of self-governance they have never known in order to connect them to the rest of the world.
Just imagine if millions of Americans were to enter Mexico illegally, demand that the local government provide free medical care, demand bilingual doctors and nurses, demand bilingual government forms, fly the US flag from their homes and cars, demand courses on American culture in their schools, demand local driver's licenses and insist that local law enforcement officers speak only English. It is appalling that our sovereign, national southern border is scorned by our neighbors.
These are demands to which neither Great Britain, nor America should ever agree.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs" that is posted on the website of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba 2004
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