He thought that Muslims in Britain would assimilate and blend well with the country. The exact opposite happened.
The former head of Britain’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Trevor Phillips, has admitted he “got almost everything wrong” on Muslim immigration in a damning new report on integration, segregation, and how the followers of Islam are creating “nations within nations” in the West.
Phillips, a former elected member of the Labour Party who served as the Chairman of the EHRC from 2003-2012 will present “What British Muslims Really Think” on Channel 4 on Wednesday. An ICM poll released to the Times ahead of the broadcast reveals:
- One in five Muslims in Britain never enter a non-Muslim house;
- 39 per cent of Muslims, male and female, say a woman should always obey her husband;
- 31 per cent of British Muslims support the right of a man to have more than one wife;
- 52 per cent of Muslims did not believe that homosexuality should be legal;
- 23 per cent of Muslims support the introduction of Sharia law rather than the laws laid down by parliament.
Writing in the Times on the issue, Phillips admits: “Liberal opinion in Britain has, for more than two decades, maintained that most Muslims are just like everyone else… Britain desperately wants to think of its Muslims as versions of the Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, or the cheeky-chappie athlete Mo Farah. But thanks to the most detailed and comprehensive survey of British Muslim opinion yet conducted, we now know that just isn’t how it is.”
Phillips commissioned “the Runnymede report” into Britain and Islamophobia in 1997 which, according to both Phillips himself and academics across the country, popularised the phrase which has now become synonymous with any criticism – legitimate or not – of Islam or Muslims.
Durham University’s Anthropology Journal noted in 2007: “It has been a decade since the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia was established, a Commission that through its 1997 report, “Islamophobia: a challenge for us all” (“the Runnymede report”) not only raised an awareness of the growing reality of anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic hostility in Britain, but also marked the onset of what might be described as ‘the first decade of Islamophobia’. In doing so, the Runnymede report propelled the word ‘Islamophobia’ into the everyday common parlance and discourses of both the public and political spaces.”
Phillips says his new data shows “a chasm” opening between Muslims and non-Muslims on fundamental issues such as marriage, relations between men and women, schooling, freedom of expression and even the validity of violence in defence of religion. He notes – echoing an article on Breitbart London just two weeks ago which reveals a growing disparity between older and younger Muslims in Britain – that “the gaps between Muslim and non-Muslim youngsters are nearly as large as those between their elders”.
And while he is cautious to note that many Muslims in Britain are grateful to be here, and do identify with role models such as Hussain and Farah, there is a widening gap in society with many Muslims segregating themselves.
“It’s not as though we couldn’t have seen this coming. But we’ve repeatedly failed to spot the warning signs,” he admits.
“Twenty years ago… I published the report titled Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, we thought that the real risk of the arrival of new communities was discrimination against Muslims. Our 1996 survey of recent incidents showed that there was plenty of it around. But we got almost everything else wrong.”
His comments will come as a blow to those who continue to attack elements in British society who are concerned about Muslim immigration and integration, and in fact may even go some way to shoring up comments made by U.S. Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) seeking to slow down or pause the rate of Muslim immigration into the West.
“We estimated that the Muslim population of the UK would be approaching 2 [million] by 2020. We underestimated by nearly a million. We predicted that the most lethal threat to Muslims would come from racial attacks and social exclusion. We completely failed to foresee the urban conflicts of 2001 that ravaged our northern cities. And of course we didn’t dream of 9/11 and the atrocities in Madrid, Paris, Istanbul, Brussels and London.”