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Political Islam has been at the heart of British politics for the last decade, in a slightly dissimilar way than it has been in America. The key problem lies in the fact that since the 1950’s, British immigration policy has not, and proudly, does not have any pre-requisites towards cultural assimilation. With multiculturalism in mind, it has never stipulated that immigrants wishing to implant themselves in the country need follow British culture, typical British Judeo-Christian values or embrace Western liberalism (liberalism in the cultural sense–dress codes, marriages, entertainment, etc– not the political wing). All it asks is that immigrants abide by the British law of the land. The trouble is that this law is archaic, outdated and completely inequipped for the issues of the 21st Century. The law-making system in Britain is even more archaic, largely unrepresentative of public opinion (more representative of public mood) and full of terribly old loopholes. So when an enormous majority of the world’s Eastern population, who have lived and procreated in Britain anonymously for the last 50 years, decide that as Conservative Muslims, their identification with Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran override their British allegiances, we have a problem.

Two things were at the heart of the British elections this year: immigration and the recession. One simple, but rather racist-sounding solution that many think but few say is “Well why don’t you just send them home if they’re trying to start a British Islamic Revolution? If they don’t like The West and only want to Islamify it, then surely….go back home to the East?” Well, the reason it isn’t that simple is because the one thing that British-born Islamic extremists like Mohamed Sidique Khan (7/7 bomber) and Mr & Mrs Ali next door have in common is this: rights. Resident immigrants who’ve become nationals and generations of British-born Easterners, all have as much right to remain in the country as Mr & Mrs Barnsworth across the road do. So “kicking them out” is not a terribly realistic answer to that.

If Britain refuses to become a completely secular state like neighbouring France (tolerating NO displays of religion), then the only way to stem the Islamification of Britain is the difficult way:

a) Put a cap on immigration. PM Cameron proposed this earlier this year. Set a limit on how many people can come through the border every year….and ACTUALLY reinforce it.

b) Reform immigration laws. Create multiple tests which must be passed at a certain percentile, measuring one’s “connection” and somewhat “acceptance” of the root characteristics of Britain as a country: tests on culture, religion, values, liberalism. Holland currently has an immigration video depicting typical Dutch life, which all new immigrants must watch in order to help them decide if this is the life they want; because this is the life they will get, no ifs, ands or buts i.e  “If you like what you see, come in and assimilate with it, if not, there are other places you can go and live.”

c) Reform the “citizenship by marriage” pathway. Denmark currently has a reform which states that for the inconvenience of marrying a foreigner, a Danish-born Dane and his foreign-born wife must have 28 years of “connection” to Denmark between them.

d) WRITE a British constitution. Like it’s American counterpart, the British Constitution should only depict Britishness at the root formation of the entire British Isles. Set the thing in stone as a preventative measure against country-wide Sharia law.

The trouble with policing Britain’s nation-wide Islamic protests is the lack of authority our police have had for decades. In comparison to America and even some of our European neighbours, the police have very limited powers in Britain. Patrolling without firearms; an absence of military conduct on duty and a comparatively casual attitude toward standard operating procedure, have remarkably weakened the impact of the police’s presence in Britain. The age-old image of British police fraternizing with the public whilst on duty is still carried out today; you see it in Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner, Parliament Square and at the Notting Hill Carnival, every single year.

Bringing me back to the need for reforming our archaic British law–this rather ”bohemian” policing is no foundation for keeping order in an ideologically violent 21st century Britain. Even at a foundational level, our sentences are far too soft; an offence punishable by imprisonment in the US, is often ‘punished’ with 100-300 hours community service in Britain, or some other ‘slap on the wrist’. If Britain’s criminals are being handled poorly to start with, there’s very little chance of an extremist being arrested for threatening to convert the Queen to Islam.

The police are only permitted to enforce whatever attitude the State adopts; of late, a softly-softly, politically-correct approach. It’s not duty in Britain, as it is in Iran, for the police to arrest people for ‘voicing’ their beliefs in public, because since the 1900’s, Britain has and still considers itself immune to radicalization. Up until now, talk of ‘revolution by ideology’ in the form of political protest was never really a ‘realistic’ threat for the British police, particularly because the State never considered it so. It was in Germany, which is why the Nazi one-armed salute is still an arrestable offence in Germany today. But if the British government are still dilly-dallying in deciding which Western ideological weapon would be the most effective against Political Islam, the only thing the British police can use to defend the country in the meantime, are their bare hands. And you can imagine how effective that’s been over the last 10 years. No, the police are just as worried as the rest of Britain because, they too, have been nannied out of being allowed to use their own initiative.

I don’t dislike Muslims. I have many Muslim friends, a few Muslim relatives and I love them all equally. Nor am I against multiculturalism; I was born in it. But the “age” of multicultural Britain has come to an end when one culture wants to establish itself over all the others Britain has given free rein to. If we can go down this road it will naturally upset MILLIONS of people. But the reason such action has become necessary is because this is how Britain got itself into this mess in the first place, by pandering to everyone and anyone for years. It is time the country stopped throwing it’s roots and origins into the sea. Britain, with no proper grip on immigration in the first place, became a ripe place for an aggressive ideology such as Political Islam, to grow. If Political Islam is making an aggressive beeline for our crumbling law system, then the best thing that Britain can do is shape up and make an aggressive beeline for Political Islam.

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“ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS”
– George Orwell, Animal Farm, Ch. 10

A common saying is that we are two nations divided by a common language. The author of this statement forgot to mention the difference in cultures. This year, a Brasilian contestant on Big Brother UK angrily exploded when a British housemate told him to “shut up”; this took over YouTube UK that week. Thousands of comments were left by the YouTube community, some explaining that the harmless phrasal verb in English carried a much stronger meaning in Brasil, where the purpose of use for the words “shut up” was far ruder than English speakers were aware of. Sadly the backlash to this was the “well, you’re in Britain now, get used to it” mentality. This Brasilian had only been living in the UK 2 years, since 2007. Since when did other people decide when an immigrant’s time of adjusting was over?

This got me thinking. When I met my other half, we spent at least 2 years getting over the various cultural differences between Americans and Britons. The question I am most asked by any Briton or American is, “Is it different over there?” My answer is, yes but do you really care to know? Despite my great efforts to adjust to the American life, I have found that most Americans I have met have very little interest in understanding what not to say to/how not to offend a Briton. For these few people, the thrill of hearing my dull explanation of what it’s like to drive on the left for the 300th time that day, or what the word “bloody” means, is enough for them. They quickly dream up the first thing they know about Britain, open their mouths without thinking, and throw it at me. Not at any, any one point, do these people stop and think, “Wait…is what I am about to say, offensive to British people?”

“You guys drive crappy little cars, don’t you? And they’re all old too, right?”

“You guys have centralised healthcare don’t you? What’s that like?”

“Don’t you have accidents because you drive on the left?”

“Do you all listen to the Beatles?…What about Oasis?….I like Blur. Do you all listen to Blur?”

“I heard you all have really bad teeth in Britain. Is the dentist expensive over there?”

(The trick here, is to look at them, blink, and stay silent for the first 5 seconds. That way, they hear themselves.) The sad thing is, Americans are not stupid. They are warm, lovely, intelligent people -for the most part. But coming into contact with a Briton is like sudden sensory overload; the bubbling overexcitement causes them to completely lose their decorum…..and they talk without thinking. This leaves British people with a bad impression….which they then take home with them and perpetuate.
The same thing happened to my husband. He lived in Europe at a time where Americans were despised, and British people lost their minds talking to him:

“Why is your whole country so fat?”

“So are you just another ignorant American?”

“Your president’s a ********”

“St Louis? Never heard of it. Anyway……”

The problem with the British, is that we have a very inflated sense of who we are in the world. In one respect this is understandable, thanks to the British Empire, the years before the Boston Tea Party, and our position in the world as far as economics and politics go. Har har, we all poke fun at the Americans, but if that is all you say to an American in your midst, don’t be surprised when he returns home with a bad report about you. No native of a country big, small, great or weak, should ever have the right to talk so badly to a foreigner that it permanently damages their trust in you and wrecks their opinion of your population, never mind the country.
Going deeper and past small encounters, there is then the nonchalant American, which most British immigrants to America end up either living with, close to, or working with. These are the Americans that British expats will take their adjustments from as they learn the way things work in the US, whether they are in-laws, colleagues/co-workers, business clients or friends. The trouble is, while we are silently studying, taking notes and making our adjustments, these Americans have no idea that we are any different to them because guess what? They’re not studying us. This is where cultural misunderstanding begins and ends. This is the defining line that keeps our two countries at arm’s length.

There is this song about immigrants that is echoed around the world by natives living in their own countries. It goes like this: “You’re in (insert country name) now, get used to it.” I think it is completely unnecessary for anyone to say this to an immigrant unless it is glaringly obvious that the legal alien is exhibiting absolutely no signs of adaptation. To the fervent immigrant trying desperately to learn their new life, it is unhelpful, callous, segregating, conceited vain-glorious talk that damages their trust in you. Some of you may be shocked to hear this, but my fellow British people treated my American husband this way in the 3 years he lived in London. We are all, not one person exempt, ALL guilty of having treated a resident foreigner in our country, this way at some point in our lives. The average person’s response is, “Well you’re the minority! Do you expect the rest of the country to bow down to you?” NO! That is not what is being asked of you. Law-abiding immigrants want help from natives, the kind of help that puts love into a handshake, the kind of help that listens, studies, and most importantly applies your own personal adjustment to us.

I am now wearing my husband’s shoes and it is not pretty. There are British and European customs I have extended to my fellow inhabitants, that people have inadvertently mopped the floor with. I spend entire evenings reminding myself to give people the benefit of the doubt, every single day I leave my house. The few small times I’ve had the courage to be able to communicate back that “I know you didn’t mean it, but where I’m from that’s really rude because….” I have quite often been met with “So what.” That’s not an answer. That’s not helpful. That stops me trusting you because it took me some courage to explain that. I’m not asking you to become British. I’m asking you to step beyond your comfortable little boundaries to get to know what makes me tick, how not to hurt my feelings, because I’m really, really trying to understand you, understand your peoples, understand your culture and your country. I am learning about what is important to you. Does it kill you to learn what’s important to me too? How will we ever get along?

When my dad first arrived in Britain he could not believe how, when friends were joking with each other, they playfully tapped each other round the head. In Thailand and a lot of Eastern countries, this is a grave insult and a great disrespect because your head is where you carry your crown of authority. Many British people couldn’t care less about this and refused to respect his beliefs, so my dad discarded them as friends. He made a few good, life long friends who took the time to respect this belief and many many others, people he’d bend over backwards for.

I’ll put you out of your misery and stop with one last note. Respect the person you are talking to and listen to them.