Soeren Kern, The Gatestone Institute
The Muslim population of Britain topped 3.3 million by the end of 2013 to become around 5.2% of the overall population of 63 million, according to figures extrapolated from a recent study on the growth of the Muslim population in Europe.
At the same time, opinion surveys consistently show that voters in Britain view Islam and the question of Muslim immigration as a top-ranked public concern. The British public, it seems, is increasingly worried about the establishment of a parallel Muslim society there.
But government efforts to push back against the Islamization of Britain have been halting and half-hearted.
What follows is a chronological review of some of the main stories involving the rise of Islam in Britain during 2013.
In January, Muslim gangs were filmed loitering on streets in London and demanding that passersby conform to Islamic Sharia law. In a series of videos, the self-proclaimed vigilantes--who call themselves Muslim London Patrol--are seen abusing non-Muslim pedestrians and repeatedly shouting "this is a Muslim area."
One video records the men shouting:
"Allah is the greatest! Islam is here, whether you like it or not. We are here! We are here! What we need is Islam! What we need is Sharia!"
The video continues:
"We are the Muslim Patrol. We are in north London, we are in south London, in east London and west London. We command good and forbid evil. Islam is here in London. [Prime Minister] David Cameron, Mr. Police Officer, whether you like it or not, we will command good and forbid evil. You will never get us. You can go to hell! This is not a Christian country. To hell with Christianity. Isa [Jesus] was a messenger of Allah. Muslim Patrol will never die. Allah is great! Allah is great! We are coming!"
In a January 23 interview with the online newspaper International Business Times, Anjem Choudary, a radical preacher who has long called for Sharia law to be implemented in Britain and other European countries, defended the gang, saying:
"This is a wake-up call for society to ask, 'where are we headed?' There is a clash between Islam and liberal democracy in hotspot areas of London."
Choudary has previously led a campaign, known as the Islamic Emirates Project, to turn twelve British cities--including what he calls "Londonistan"--into independent Islamic states. The so-called Islamic Emirates would function as autonomous enclaves, ruled by Sharia law and governed entirely outside British jurisprudence.
In February, Choudary was filmed urging his followers to quit their jobs and claim unemployment benefits so they have more time to plan holy war against non-Muslims.
Excerpts of the speech, published by the London-based newspaper The Sun on February 17, drew renewed attention to the growing problem of Muslims in Britain and elsewhere who are exploiting European welfare systems.
In the video, Choudary is recorded as saying that Muslims are justified in taking money from non-Muslims, whom he mocks for working in nine-to-five jobs their whole lives. He says: "You find people are busy working the whole of their life. They wake up at 7 o'clock. They go to work at 9 o'clock. They work for eight, nine hours a day. They come home at 7 o'clock, watch EastEnders [a British soap opera], sleep, and they do that for 40 years of their life. That is called slavery. ... What kind of life is that? That is the life of the kuffar [a non-Muslim]."
Choudary urges fellow Muslims to learn from revered figures in Islamic history who only worked one or two days a year. "The rest of the year they were busy with jihad [holy war] and things like that," he says. "People will say, 'Ah, but you are not working.' But the normal situation is for you to take money from the kuffar. So we take Jihad Seeker's Allowance."
Also in February, a judge in London acquitted two brothers from Pakistan who swapped houses in an effort to defraud British taxpayers out of £315,000 ($520,000). The Pakistani couples, who have 11 children between them, submitted bogus tenancy agreements for 16 years so that the women could pretend to be tenants and claim housing benefits.
Judge Neil Sanders ruled: "The two men dishonestly represented through their wives to the London Borough of Redbridge that this was a genuine rental arrangement." Nevertheless, Sanders allowed the men to walk free. "You have both worked hard in terms of making a life for yourselves and in many ways the greatest punishment is the loss of your good name," Sanders said.
In March, the London-based newspaper The Independent reported that at least 100 British Muslims are currently active as jihadists fighting in Syria, which has replaced Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia as the main destination for militant Islamists seeking to obtain immediate combat experience with little or no official scrutiny.
Also in March, St. John's Episcopal Church in Aberdeen, Scotland, became the first church in the United Kingdom to share its premises with Muslim worshippers. Church officials now welcome hundreds of Muslims praying five times a day in their building because the nearby mosque is filled to overcapacity and Muslim worshippers are forced to pray outside.
According to the rector of St. John's, Isaac Poobalan, "Praying is never wrong. My job is to encourage people to pray. The mosque was so full at times, there would be people outside in the wind and rain praying. I knew I couldn't just let this happen, because I would be abandoning what the Bible teaches us about how we should treat our neighbors."
The bishop of Aberdeen, Robert Gillies, says that by handing over sections of the church to the mosque, the church has accomplished "something of global significance on a local scale."
In April, a documentary secretly filmed inside several of the 85 Islamic Sharia Law courts operating in Britain exposed the systematic discrimination that many women are suffering at the hands of Muslim jurists.
The documentary, Secrets of Britain's Sharia Courts, was filmed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and was first aired on BBC Panorama, a long-running current affairs program, on April 8.
The undercover investigation proves what has long been suspected: namely, that Sharia courts, which operate in mosques and houses across Britain, routinely issue rulings on domestic and marital issues according to Islamic Sharia law that are at odds with British law. Although Sharia rulings are not legally binding, those subject to the rulings often feel obliged to obey them as a matter of religious belief, or because of pressure from family and community members to do so.
The documentary contends that the Sharia courts, run by Muslim judges known as qadi, are putting women at risk of violence from abusive husbands by pressuring them to stay in abusive marriages.
The documentary was partially filmed at the Leyton Sharia Council, which openly states on its website that it is preparing for the full recognition of Islamic Sharia law in Britain.
Also in April, British authorities promised to redouble their fight against the spiraling problem of female genital mutilation (FGM) after a weekly primetime television show broadcast by the BBC forced the previously "taboo" subject into mainstream debate.
BBC One's Casualty, a popular emergency medical drama series, became the first mainstream drama on British television to feature a story about FGM. Scriptwriters on the series worked with FGM pressure groups and young girls to produce the two-part drama, which aired on April 6 and 13.
Britain has the highest levels of FGM in Europe. According to a government-funded study published in 2007, at least 66,000 women and girls in Britain have had the procedure performed on them, and more than 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are currently at risk.
These figures, however, may be only the tip of the iceberg. A 2011 Department of Health policy paper warns that "it is possible that, due to population growth and immigration from practicing countries...FGM is significantly more prevalent than these figures suggest."
On April 29, Scotland Yard [London Police] appealed for information to identify the perpetrators of FGM amid growing indications that girls in the capital are being "cut."
But the government's commitment to fighting FGM remains to be seen. A major reason for Britain's dismal record at bringing perpetrators to justice is tolerance of FGM due to political correctness and concerns over "cultural sensitivity," according to many analysts.
Although the mainstream media in Britain and elsewhere routinely take pains to avoid any insinuation that FGM has anything to do with Islam, doctrinally, historically, geographically and juridically, the practice is intrinsically linked to Islam. Critics of FGM say there is a reluctance to tackle the problem because doing so is perceived as attacking Islam.
In May, new census data published by the British government showed that Islam is set to become the dominant religion in Britain within the next generation.
The report, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on May 16, shows that although Christianity is still the main religion in Britain--over 50% of the population describe themselves as such--nearly half of all Christians in Britain are over the age of 50, and, for the first time ever, fewer than half under the age of 25 describe themselves as Christian.
By contrast, the number of people under 25 who describe themselves as Muslim has doubled over the past ten years: one in ten under the age of 25 are Muslim, up from one in 20 in 2001.
If current trends continue--a Muslim population boom, combined with an aging Christian demographic and the increasing secularization of British natives--Islam is set to overtake Christianity in Britain within the next 20 years, according to demographers.
Continue reading this article...
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Refer to original article for related links and important documentation.
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