A senior representative of the Muslim Council of Britain has said that white British people have a responsibility to integrate more to prevent communities becoming ghettoised.
His comments come in response to an official report warning that many of Britain’s towns and cities have been transformed “out of all recognition” by mass immigration.
The report, by the government’s community cohesion tsar Dame Louise Casey, warned that parts of British towns had been turned into ghettoes which successive governments have ignored “for fear of being branded racist or Islamophobic”, and which are creating “escalating divisions and tensions”.
But Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has struck back, writing for The Guardian that Casey is wrong to blame Muslim communities. Instead, he said white flight and economic inequality were greater problems – and that white people ought to do more to tackle them.
“Her focus is primarily on Muslims: she does not provide any solutions for African Caribbean, Roma or Traveller communities, with no acknowledgement of Scotland and Northern Ireland’s history of integration challenges – from which we must learn,” he said of Casey’s report.
He added: “Worryingly, Casey often conflates Muslim with Asian communities, giving the false impression that all regressive cultural practices are based on the Islamic faith despite clear evidence to the contrary. While the report does recognise the huge levels of socio-economic deprivation, low educational attainment and discrimination some Muslims face, none of her recommendations tackle structural inequality.”
He asks: “Why does Casey say so little on how to tackle the fact that white British and Irish ethnic groups ‘are least likely to have ethnically mixed social networks’ – one of the key signs of integration.