Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Muslim population of England and Wales — both legal and illegal — has more than doubled. Meanwhile, three in four of the reported 100,000 Brits who have converted to Islam in that time are women. At this rate in 10 to 15 years, Britain will have more Muslims than Christians.
Again, any reasonable person would ask: So what? After all, this is one of the most multicultural nations in the world. To suggest that it’s dangerous merely to have more Muslims in Britain — the vast majority of whom are just as sickened by extremism as everyone else — is not the British way. So what gives?
The first problem is that the cultural gap is widening. Unlike generations of immigrants across the globe, including Muslims, who have worked to become part of the culture and fabric of welcoming nations, many of today’s newly minted British Islamic fundamentalists aren’t just disinterested in following the laws and cultural norms of Britain — in many ways, they seem openly hostile to them.
It’s not just that parts of England today feel as closed as Saudi Arabia or that even non-Muslim women endure angry slurs in some neighborhoods for failure to wear head-scarves. Public opinion polls reinforce that sense of “other” — like the 2009 poll that was revealed as part of the WikiLeaks stash of U.S. diplomatic cables, which found that every third British Muslim student supported killing in Islam’s name; or the 2006 poll which found that four in ten British Muslims hoped that Britain would one day adopt the draconian Sharia law.
The second problem is the increasing frequency with which extremism is hitting close to home.