The Sunday Times today carries an extract from the interview I featured here, reflecting the attitudes of some young British Islamists to the country in which they grew up. Beneath it there's a piece about the Muslim community of Dearborn, Michigan:
How is it that in this time of clashing civilizations, of Al-Qaeda terror and "with us or against us" rhetoric, when many Muslims in Europe appear to believe the West is waging a war on Islam, that in the heartland of America, 300,000 Arabs and Muslims, the largest concentration for any urban area outside the Middle East, live side by side and seemingly in peace with their Midwestern neighbours?One man's answer:
"In Europe, as a migrant you are welcomed, but it is insular, you stay in your quarters," he says, reflecting on three years he spent working in Birmingham as an engineer for Ford in the 1980s.Another man's question:
"In America the economic system is based on diversity. You have to be open to every culture in order to sell them your product, otherwise you won't survive. So, sooner or later, everyone ends up in bed together."
Eide Alawan, the interfaith and outreach liaison officer for the Islamic centre, has no problems with loyalty to America. "We are as American as apple pie," he said.See in this same connection the point made recently by David Aaronovitch about a remark of Madeleine Bunting's - concerning the 'more recent oppression and humiliation of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan'. That weasel remark is here.
A second-generation Syrian American in his fifties and the son of a car factory worker, he speaks in a broad Midwest accent and wears not robes or a long beard but a blue suit, shirt and tie. When he heard that some mosques in Britain have become platforms for extremist clerics, he was appalled.
Most of all... he reserved his anger for Muslims around the world who equivocate about suicide bombings, such as the attacks in London. "These people say they understand these bombings because of the suffering they see in Iraq. But where were they when Saddam Hussein was killing hundreds of thousands in Iraq?" he said. "And why are they not angry about the daily murder of ordinary Iraqis by extremists in Iraq?"