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Islam in Britain

Updated on May 14, 2012
glendoncaba profile image

Glendon and his wife have led church ministries, conducted empowerment seminars, and travelled to faraway places on business and vacation.

Muslim man in the UK with beard, glasses and prayer cap. Source:  Nikah 018 at Flickr courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Muslim man in the UK with beard, glasses and prayer cap. Source: Nikah 018 at Flickr courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I was counting my change at an Asian store in Lozells, Birmingham, and had somehow betrayed my unfamiliarity with the currency, so on my way out a young nephew or son (or holiday worker) asked me my country of origin and discovered that I was a Jamaican visitor.  He very undiplomatically expressed the innocent opinion that I should be in London then since they do not get many Jamaican tourists in Birmingham. I told him to feel free to take photographs, I would not charge him. Having tested his sense of humour I then sought to establish common ground by telling him about Bob Marley, the Reggae Boyz soccer team, the France 98 football journey of the René Simoes led heroes, and the fact that there were many Jamaicans living in Birmingham. I might even have done a verse of One Love for him for all I care.  I must admit to have been more than a bit offended at his myopia, but he was young, and probably saw Britain through the lens of a sheltered young man living on predominantly Asian streets. 

But even a teenager should know that every newcomer was not going to be Asian. Mind you, he may be far more accurate in his infantile assertions than I am willing to believe; he is Asian in a region of the UK where the Asian business community and culture appears to have taken root.

That teenager had every reason to expect persons buying melons and grapes and apples and persimmons in the wonderful shops of Lozells to be another Asian, and not a friendly Jamaican. For led by the Pakistani migrants, the Asian community and their corollary, the Islamic religion, maintain a strong presence in the West Midlands, and I daresay, in all of Britain.

Mosques are no strangers in the architectural landscape. This site suggests there are 138 mosques in the West Midlands. I wonder if there are half as many active Christian churches.

I am going to make a point that atheists are going to try to shoot down but without success. People with a strong family bonding religion will maintain their culture in the middle of a chaotic western environment, and this will create business success and family prosperity. Religion has something to do with their success. The sense of order, loyalty, and respect which fosters creation and perpetuation of wealth is but one side of the coin. There are horror stories of unhappy wives and daughters. But oh the Christians and the free living populace could learn from the Muslims in their respect for their women, and their discipline.

Britain is slowly embracing some of the Muslim influence. British swimming pools are introducing Muslim dress codes for bathers. Some council-run pools are asking male users to cover themselves from the navel to the knee, and females must be covered from the neck to the ankles.

Islam confronts the West every day in Britain, and sometimes both lose, like the recent incident where the British Farming Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, and his wife, walked out of a Muslim wedding ceremony in his east London constituency because they were required to sit in separate rooms; he felt that the separation of men and women ran against his efforts to build inclusion. He blames the increasingly strict approach on growing influence of orthodox Muslims.

These developments are interesting. In my opinion the waning Christian ethos has left a vacuum of values that the immigrant Muslim community has naturally seeped into. But this is the West, and the passion for liberty and freedom runs deep. Islam is a very practical (perhaps legalistic in its form) religion when it comes to seeking to minimize temptation, and protecting the chastity of their women. I am no expert on their success in this regard but if the business success and general positive demeanour (with the few strange exceptions) of the Asians I encounter on my visits to the UK is anything to go by I would implore the West to revisit the wisdom in the gender and dress codes of Islam. You might be surprised to discover that it has more to do with our common religious tradition rooted in the Jewish and Christian Old Testament.

The Christians of Britain might do themselves and the entire Christian world a great favour by returning to the evangelical legacy of John and Charles Wesley.  People still need the gospel in preaching, in witness, and in song.  

Secularism has not destroyed Islam in Britain, at least not in the same way it has decimated the ranks of Christianity.  Could the answer lie in a dogged loyalty to the faith.


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    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 8 years ago from Central United States of America

      Interesting comparison of antagonistic realms - but I believe that will always be so in the general view. Thank you for sharing hub truths.

    • glendoncaba profile image

      glendoncaba 8 years ago from Somewhere in the hubverse

      Thanks for the visit Nia.

      Appreciate you clearing up that molve sb thing.

      No, I'm Christian.

      Thanks again for compliment.

    • profile image

      Nia L 8 years ago

      Molve sahab is what you call a muslim scholar. I think she shortened it it to "molve sb." Thats interesting, because you're not Muslim, right? By the way, nice hub!

    • glendoncaba profile image

      glendoncaba 8 years ago from Somewhere in the hubverse

      Thanks tracy. Now what is molve sb?

    • tracy_alfred profile image

      tracy_alfred 8 years ago

      great hub molve sb

    • glendoncaba profile image

      glendoncaba 8 years ago from Somewhere in the hubverse

      Vladimir: Thanks for reading.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 8 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Interesting article. Thanks.