12 April 2016


.... Much of the debate around the poll, and Phillips’ own commentary, has confused three issues: social conservatism, integration and jihadism.

We should be rightly concerned with the degree of illiberal social attitudes within Muslim communities, especially as it was very different just a generation ago. We should not simply shrug our shoulders and say ‘That’s what happens in a plural society’.

We should combat illiberal attitudes, from whichever group, and support those struggling for a progressive future, including within Muslim communities. Too often liberals betray such progressives in the name of ‘tolerance’ or ‘pluralism’. But holding illiberal views is not necessarily the same as failing to integrate – and this poll does not reveal a link between the two.

We should also be concerned with the more fragmented nature of British society today, with people inhabiting their own identity silos, and with the lack social contact between different groups (some evidence for which is revealed in this poll). We should be concerned, too, with the growth of sectarianism within Muslim communities.

There is a good argument to be made that silo-building has helped create the well of social conservatism within Muslim communities, and has encouraged sectarianism. The problem is not so much a lack of integration as the view, promulgated by many politicians and policy makers, that it is through identity groups that such integration should take place. We need to challenge the social and multicultural policies that have, over the past three decades, helped entrench identity politics and encouraged silo-building. [Pandaemonium - Kenan Malik] Read more