It’s an Outrage

A reader tells me I’m wrong in the Flexible Labour comment – that Muslims (from the Indian subcontinent) were not recruited to move to the UK in the 50s, and that I have them confused in that respect with West Indians, who were. Okay. I did look it up before posting, in a reference book I happened to have handy (the Oxford Companion to British History) which did say people were recruited from the subcontinent, because I thought I thought that was the case but wasn’t sure. But one reference book can always be wrong.

I also apparently didn’t make my meaning entirely clear – probably because I knew so well what I meant that I didn’t notice it wasn’t clear. By ‘dirty little secret’ I didn’t mean the recruitment itself, but the broader or perhaps vaguer point that immigration policy is not motivated solely by altruism or multiculturalism but also by a demand for cheap labour. The reader tells me that’s not a secret, dirty or otherwise, in the UK. Okay. Perhaps I’m misled by the way the subject is discussed in the US, which is generally extremely euphemised and dressed up and generally disguised. Maybe that’s just as well, maybe a blunter discussion would be disastrous. But I think euphemised discussions tend to be confused.

In any case, this article suggests a different reason for ‘alienation’ and grievance and generally feeling pissed off.

What is revealing is that the feelings of alienation suffered by Muslims in the YouGov poll are far greater among men than women. Muslim girls, on the whole, are liberated by living in Britain. Their education is deemed as important by the State as their brothers’. Those whose parents don’t encourage them to stay on at school and go to university will be encouraged by their teachers instead. For many of them, Western society offers the chance of escape from oppression by fathers, brothers and husbands.

Not to mention from ‘the community’ at large. ‘Community’ has become such a hooray word – a usage which overlooks how oppressive and coercive and narrowing a community can be. Not to mention punitive. And if it’s a community that hates women – well, it’s all those and more, for women and girls.

This suggests that the problem with Britain — and the West as a whole — is not that it is un-Islamic. If that were the case, then Muslim women would surely feel as alienated as Muslim men. More plausible is that Muslim men resent the way in which their traditional feelings of superiority over women are challenged in the West. Here, they simply can’t get away with subjugating their womenfolk in the way that they can in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Somalia.

Actually, often, they can, if they do it behind closed doors. But they can’t subjugate all women. They’re constantly affronted by the presence of women who are not generally globally subordinated and submissive and inferiorized. There’s a grievance for you.

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