In 2008 one of Britain’s best and most courageous men, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, said that there were parts of Britain which had become no-go areas for non-Muslims.
For these comments he was met with widespread scorn and denial. Nick Clegg – then merely leader of the Liberal Democrat party – said the Bishop’s comments were ‘a gross caricature of reality.’ William Hague said that the Bishop had ‘probably put it too strongly’, while the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) accused him of ‘frantic scaremongering.’
So how interesting it is to read of the arrests made by police in recent days of a number of men for a string of incidents in London. These involve radical Muslim men trying to enforce Islamic law at night in parts of London. This is done by informing people that they are in ‘a Muslim area’ and demanding their compliance with sharia principles. These include telling a man carrying alcohol: ‘No drink in this area, it’s a Muslim area’ and telling a woman they think is dressed inappropriately that she cannot dress like that ‘in a Muslim area.’
They also tell a man they think looks gay: ‘You’re walking through a Muslim area dressed like a fag… You need to get out here… You’re dirty… This is a Muslim area. You’re a gay. You’re a fag. You bloody fag. Get out of here you fag … don’t stay around here anymore.’
While of course being delighted that the police have actually done something, it should be remembered that these events only came to light because the people who were doing the ‘patrols’ videoed their actions and posted the videos up on the internet. These were then picked up by the Commentator website and given widespread publicity. So on this occasion, it was all rather difficult to ignore.
Of course I wouldn’t expect anything from the MCB. But is it too much to hope that Nick Clegg and William Hague might now take this opportunity to apologise to Michael Nazir-Ali?
If they choose not to do so, perhaps it is because they think that this is a one-off event? In which case perhaps Mr Clegg and Mr Hague could assist us all by seeing how they might fare late at night in some of the more ‘diverse’ areas of our country?
More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.