British Muslims Face New Challenges

October 18, 2005

Source: The Boston Globe

On October 18, 2005 The Boston Globe ran an opinion piece by Globe columnist H.D.S. Greenway, in which he describes his conversation with a British Muslim man about the new challenges facing Muslims in the UK. Greenway writes, "[Sher] Khan and other British Muslims I have talked to mostly say that Britain is as good a place as any in which to be a minority. Since the English had to first absorb the Scots and the Welsh, and some of the Irish, multiculturalism had a head start here, they say... [But] is it harder for Muslims to adjust in Britain than other minorities? Faisal Bodi, a freelance writer, says maybe it is. 'Our two popular [soap operas], "East Ender" and "Coronation Street" both take place in pubs, for example, and it is difficult for an observant Muslim to relate to the pub culture.' According to Sher Khan, the goal in Britain should be integration, not assimilation as in France. 'Assimilation always requires a measure of coercion,' he says. Most British Muslims are feeling the post-suicide bombing heat, however, as the government rushes to introduce even tougher antiterrorism laws. Some of these proposals have been questioned by legal authorities, and it is hard to miss the uneasiness that British Muslims are beginning to feel."