The Times today reports that leading Muslim clerics in the UK are warning that ‘religious sectarianism is on the rise in Britain’s Muslim community and threatens to spill over into violent crime and terrorism’. An investigation by the paper ‘found a sharp but largely hidden rise in sectarian tensions between the minority Shia community and the dominant Sunni groups’.
I must say that I am shocked – really shocked – by this. Like everyone else, I had always assumed that if you allowed very large numbers of people with totally different beliefs into this country then in no time they would be down the local pub and fully integrated loyal members of the Women’s Institute and their local Anglican church. It was totally unforeseeable, was it not, that any of them would bring their ancient animosities with them? And as for the attacks on mosques outlined in the report – surely such actions could only ever be expected from native knuckle-dragging ‘Islamophobes’. What are we to do now that Muslims in the UK are attacking mosques? What names can we call them? All this will require deep thought. At least it is not too late in the day to start.