‘Trojan Horse’ Debate: We Were Wrong, All Cultures Are Not Equal
Posted by addisethiopia on June 11, 2014
“As we are in Britain then the dominant culture has to be British. If that isn’t acceptable to Muslims then they will have to live in a country where their culture is dominant instead of expecting us to change ours to suit them. For years, we all turned a blind eye to the segregation of Muslim pupils. Now it is time to stand up to propagators of barbarism and ignorance”
If I have learnt one thing working with children as a teacher, a volunteer and, more recently, a parent, it’s that what children want above all else is to fit in. The desire not to be different must be hard-wired, so urgent is the need of your average nine-year-old to have the same pencil case as every other nine-year-old. Individuality, much prized in adult life, is abhorred by our conservative juniors, who crave acceptance as the thirsty crave water. “Fitting in” is braided into the DNA of every child, regardless of creed or colour. When the deep, resonant bell of human evolution tolls, it says: “Belong, belong, belong.”
Integrating children into a new society, then, should not present too much of a problem. A football, some Panini World Cup stickers to trade, One Direction, Harry Potter, 97 episodes of Friends, especially the one where Rachel has a baby: common interests for youngsters are not hard to find. So how have we ended up with a situation where so many Muslims are adrift from the mainstream? Why this scandal in Birmingham where five overwhelmingly Muslim schools, some until recently judged to be outstanding, are to be put into special measures because they have sought to inculcate ideas that are repellent to this country?
Let me quote Myriam Francois-Cerrah, a writer and Muslim convert, who told Channel 4 News on Tuesday that she rejected calls by the Prime Minister and Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, for schools to promote British values. “In many ways, the problem is creating a hierarchy of cultures when you say you need to promote British values,” she objected. “What does that say to children in a classroom whose heritage harks from outside the British Isles? It says this country has superior moral values and you are coming from some backward culture whose values you … must not consider equal to our own.”
Funnily enough, that’s exactly what we are saying, Myriam. Spot on! A Muslim girl who winds up in Bolton or Luton should thank her lucky stars she doesn’t live in Sudan – or Pakistan, where, only last month, a woman was stoned to death by her family for the crime of marrying a man of whom they disapproved. Farzana Parveen’s father explained: “I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it.”
Are British values superior to Mr Parveen’s? I do hope so.
Unfortunately, the great lie underpinning the creed of multiculturalism, as spouted by Francois Cerrah and her ilk, is that all cultures are “equally valid”. Well, patently, they’re not. The reason irate Pakistani patriarchs are not chucking bricks at their errant daughters in the Birmingham Bull Ring is because Britain has a basically uncorrupt police force, a robust judiciary and an enlightened, hard-won system of liberal values that regards women and girls as equals, not third-class citizens.
But instead of standing up to barbarism and ignorance, too often we have looked away in embarrassment or fear. How many teachers have averted their gaze when 13-year-old Muslim girls suddenly disappear from the classroom to be taken “home” for a forced marriage, because this would present unwelcome evidence that some cultures are less valid than others?
How many health professionals in Bradford are concerned, but never say so, that intermarriage in the Muslim community – 75 per cent of Pakistanis in the city are married to their first cousin – is causing babies to be born blind, deaf and with other disabilities? Back in 2008, when Labour environment minister Phil Woolas said that British Pakistanis were fuelling the rate of birth defects, he was slapped down by Downing Street, with a spokesman for prime minister Gordon Brown saying the issue was not one for ministers to comment on. Government after government has filed this thorny issue in “The Too Difficult Box”, the title of a timely new book edited by former Cabinet minister Charles Clarke.
Apartheid State of Qatar Launches Campaign for ‘Modest’ Dress Code for Tourists
“‘If you are in Qatar, you are one of us’ “These principles are the text within the global tourism ethics law.” Alright then, but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Over here, you won’t wear burqas, or anything traditional like that. Dress like us. Act like us. Or admit you’re just entitled and arrogant racists.”
Qatar has launched a social media campaign urging tourists to dress “modestly” in public and respect the Islamic country’s values.
Along with a Twitter and Instagram account, “reflect your respect” leaflets are being handed out with diagrams of what is and is not acceptable.
Short dresses, sleeveless clothing and crop tops are banned for women, while men are also told not to wear shorts and vest tops revealing their chest.
A leaflet handed out as part of the campaign reads: “If you are in Qatar, you are one of us. Help us preserve Qatar’s culture and values, please dress modestly in public places.”
It urges people to cover up from their shoulders to knees and avoid leggings.
Qatar’s Islamic Culture Centre has launched previous initiatives to educate foreigners on dress codes.
“The amount of immodest clothing is growing in public places, especially shopping malls. Such foreigner behaviour conflicts with our traditions,” Nasser Al Maliki, the centre’s public relations chief told Gulf News.
“We do not want our kids to be exposed to it or learn from it, and that’s why we will start this campaign.”
Qatar, which will host the World Cup in 2022, has a population of just over 2 million people and uses Sharia law as the main source of its legislation.
It is home to about 17,500 British nationals and 40,000 more visit every year, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
‘If you are in Qatar, you are one of us’: Qatar aims to educate tourists on modesty
Men wearing shorts and singlets in public will be frowned upon
Women should also avoid wearing garments which are too short or too tight, such as mini-skirts or sleeveless dresses