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article imageOp-Ed: Cameron is right, Britain must not kowtow to Islam

By Michael Cosgrove     Feb 6, 2011 in World
British Prime Minister David Cameron's speech on multiculturalism and Islam in Britain is a timely reminder that multiculturalism depends on the willingness of those from other cultures to accept the host country's values and not the other way around.
Here's a short story for you. I was in a bar here in France once and a man of Arab origin standing at the bar overheard my accent as I ordered a drink. He said "Hey, British guy. Where are you from?" Noticing that he appeared to have drunk more than what was good for him I ignored him but he kept on insisting and asking me questions, calling me "British guy" each time. I finally decided to put a stop to it and said "What do you want, Arab guy?" You could have heard a pin drop in there and then he called me a racist. In other words, he thought that he could call me by a name based on my origins, but that I couldn't do the same.
That kind of incident perfectly sums up why Cameron's speech on multiculturalism hit the nail on the head. He was quite right to remind his audience that "hands-off tolerance" of unacceptable practices by minority communities had only served to encourage extremism. He was also right to call for "a muscular defense" of British values and he was right to say that "Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism." Finally, he was right to say that hate-preaching politicised elements of Islamist doctrine should be refused entry into Britain.
Countries do have values and they do have their own cultural identities. That is what makes the world such a varied place and it is what makes travel such a mind-broadening experience. But travelers - and by extension those who settle in other countries - must respect those values and traditions whilst in those countries.
American law and cultural practise holds the right of free speech to be sacrosanct for example, and that's why the Westboro Baptist Church has the right to picket funerals such as those of soldiers killed in Iraq and other places and that of the people who were murdered in the Giffords massacre in order to "thank god" for sending the killer. If you don't like it, don't go to America. That's how it is there and it is to be respected.
Britain sees things in largely the same way, and although similar protests are permitted there is also a sense of common decency and respect for the dead which means that the mere idea of Islamic extremists demonstrating with placards reading "Anglian Soldiers Go To Hell" to "celebrate" the homecoming or burials of British soldiers shook the country to its core, such was the revolting nature of it.
Britain has quite rightly come under much criticism over the years for harboring Islamic extremists, including several for whom French arrest warrants had been issued for participation in terrorist bombings in France, and street corner sermons calling for Jihad and terrorist attacks to be carried out against Britain are common. Again, that is their right, at least for now, but I am sure that things will change in that respect shortly with some of the worst offenders being booted out of Britain.
Forced marriages, cliterectomy, violent assaults upon girls for having "infidel" relationships and other excesses carried out in the name of Islam are not acceptable and there is nothing wrong with saying so. Yes the British commit crimes too, but they do not tolerate those kinds of barbaric traditions and it is not hypocritical to denounce them, it is quite simply affirming what the immense majority of British people think.
It is Britain's right - and solemn obligation - to insist that social cohesion there depends upon a minimum of consensus and debate on what is acceptable and what is not, but for too long any criticism of the excesses of Islamic culture has been vilified by apologists for Islam as being racist or an insult to Islam. It's always the same tired arguments about not "understanding" Islam and "stigmatizing" "all" Muslims.
If you believe these people, it is fine to attack the very roots of British culture and society but it is not acceptable for the British to defend them without being accused of intolerance.
Cameron was right to defend British culture and to state that multiculturalism has failed, and the good news here is that critics of his speech are few. Let's hope the mood is finally changing and that vigorously defending British culture and values against pernicious and creeping Islamization is becoming recognized for what it is, a laudable act.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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