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Britain’s Faith Crisis

Published: 21st September 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th September 2014 10:20 PM   |  A+A-

So, Great Britain doesn’t get off scot-free. The Scots, like the Irish and Welsh, remain Britons, even as they reject the notion of Englishness. According to an annual survey on what it means to be ‘truly British’, 77 per cent indicated people who had lived in Britain for most of their life, 51 per cent demanded British ancestry, while 24 per cent said only Christians passed the test.

In today’s world, the definition of nation and nationality is challenged by immigration trends. Immigrants move for the sake of survival, carrying culture and religion as hand baggage. Hence, the meaning of nationality is changing globally, leaving citizenship as the only identity. Britain is no exception.

Being British is not about shepherd’s pie and Sunday footie at the pub anymore. Even as Britons are protesting against jobs being taken away by workers from Eastern Europe, around 200,000 non-EU immigrants have been entering Britain every year over the past decade. According to Prime Minister David Cameron, around 155,000 of the 600,000-plus illegal immigrants in the country are on welfare. Between 1993 and 2012, UK’s foreign-born population more than doubled, from 3.8 million to 7.8 million.

In a bizarre finding, new data released by the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics reveals that Mohammed is the most popular name for baby boys in Britain today. It has overtaken Jack, which topped the list for the past 14 years. Oliver is the second most popular boy’s name. Britain is home to 2.8 million Muslims, or 4.6 per cent of the population—the third-largest Muslim community on the continent. The Labour Force Survey notes that this increased from 1,870,000 in 2004 to 2,422,000 in 2008, multiplying 10 times faster than any other section of British society. Hinduism is the fourth-most popular religion in the country, with around 400,000 followers; Sikhism has 329,358 followers.

The Gatestone Institute records the changing values of Britainistan. In Nottingham, a Christmas nativity play was cancelled because the date conflicted with Eid. A Scarborough college removed Christmas and Easter from their calendar so as not to offend Muslims. In Scotland, the police apologised for featuring a German shepherd pup in its campaign because Muslims consider dogs unclean. Across the country, the police have recorded cases of Muslim bus and taxi drivers telling blind passengers not to bring their ‘unclean’ dogs on board. In Kent, police cannot ask a person’s ‘Christian’ name. In East London, all town council members have been asked not to eat at official meetings during Ramadan. In Leeds, more than 200 Muslim prisoners seek a multi-million-pound compensation because authorities gave them ham sandwiches during the holy month. In Harrow, plans to offer halal-only menus in 52 primary schools outraged parents from other faiths for pushing Sharia on non-Muslim children. Most in-flight meals on British Airways could soon be halal. The airline has also allowed Muslim staff to wear veils, though Christian employees may not wear crosses.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has said Sharia in Britain is ‘unavoidable’. A Citivas study says 85 Sharia courts are operating in the UK, along with scores of unofficial tribunals and councils in mosques, making a mockery of the Queen’s bench. According to another survey, 40 per cent of local Muslims believe that Britain should be governed by Sharia law. The ISIS executioner who has been beheading hostages in Syria is British.

Cameron has admitted that multi-culturalism is responsible for fostering Islamist extremism in the United Kingdom, and pledged to dramatically reduce immigration from non-European countries. The irony of karma is that the British Empire took England’s ambitions to the rest of the world, disrupting, at will, established religious, cultural and national balances across Arabia and Asia. Now, history is in payback mode. What it means to be British may be completely different the next time the Scot, Irish or Welsh decide to break away from Albion. God save the Queen. 

Ravi@newindianexpress.com

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