It is ironic that people who emphasise Difference and Otherness (terms filtered down from Continental philosophy) within society, should bring about, intentionally or unintentionally, a multicultural ethic and agenda which denies Difference and Otherness within cultures or communities. Thus Muslims became nothing but Muslims. Being a Muslim became the full and complete identity of Muslims. For example, not many British Christians go around calling themselves ‘Christians’ or defining themselves exclusively in terms of their faith.
It is also ironic that many Leftists made a song and a dance about Thatcher’s well-known statement that ‘there is no such thing as society’. Left-wing councillors and activists agreed.
There is no such thing as society. There are only societies (or communities, or ethnic groups, etc.).
They never really emphasised or encouraged the interrelations between communities, or societies, only their Difference or Otherness from one another. Thus rather than individuals becoming ‘atomised’ or estranged from societies, cultures or societies became estranged from other societies. This became very much the case with the Muslim community and resulted, effectively, in its self-ghettoisation. The usual accusation that the state, or Society with a capital ‘S’ (not societies), or the imposition of Britishness, created ghettoes, was wrong. Muslims created their own ghettoes. And they were encouraged to do so by left-wing councils; or, at the least, the left-wing contingents of mixed councils, in order to further various political agendas.
From this emphasis on communities rather than community, or societies rather than societies, Muslim identity, rather than being found, discovered or emphasised, was really created in response to councils and to political policies.
Thus Leftists in effect de-politised Muslims and other communities and made them see themselves not as citizens but more exclusively as Muslims. Being ordinary British citizens was not what Leftists wanted from their Muslims. That was not radical enough. That was not destabilising enough. That would not rupture liberal capitalist democracy.
Communities Not Community
Many may think that the Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities in Britain have always been divided due to their respective religions, histories and traditions. That is not so. The real divide between these three communities, or religions, only really set in during the 1980s. Before then, from the immediate post-war period till the late 1970s, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus lived in the same areas, usually in the inner cities. The great tripartite division began because of multiculturalism, or multicultural policy. The three communities began to inhabit separate areas of cities and towns. The children began to go to different schools. Different institutions and community groups began to cater specifically for Muslims, or specifically for Sikhs, etc. Even youth clubs were demarcated according to religious or ethnic affiliation. That was the new reality of multiculturalism. Not different communities and different religions living together; but different communities and religions living apart but within a cauldron of general multiculturalism; which nevertheless stressed difference rather than commonality. In the Bradford Moor area of Bradford, for example, in the late seventies and very early 80s, Sikhs lived next door to Muslims, who lived next door to Hindus. By the early 1990s, the whole area was Muslim. The Sikhs and Hindus had gone elsewhere.
And once the bait had been laid down, it wasn’t long before there were strong demands for separate Muslim schools, the separation of (Muslim) girls and boys, demands for halal meat to be served at Muslim schools and also at non-Muslim schools, and so on. And once such separatism had been achieved, it was no wonder that Islamic militancy and even calls for jihad began to be heard in the streets of Bradford, Birmingham, Luton and elsewhere.