Sakset/Fra hofta

Forsker Ivar Morken ber «ekspertene» ta folks bekymringer og erfaringer i det flerkulturelle samfunn på alvor, og ikke polstre virkeligheten med floskler. I Storbritannia har asiatisk-muslimske samfunn forandret bydeler så mye at briter ikke lenger føler seg hjemme.

Deler av befolkningen har lært seg til å ikke snakke høyt om hva de mener. De opplever at det er lagt en klam hånd over dette temaet. Men når store deler av befolkningen ikke kan si hva de opplever vil det kunne slå tilbake som en rasistisk rekyl, sier førsteamunensis ved Universitet i Oslo, Ivar Morken, til Dagbladet.no.

I årene rundt 1900 var de eneste innvandrerene i den lille bygda Furuset syv svenske familier. I dag har 39 prosent av befolkningen innvandrerbakgrunn.

Morkens nøkterne tone er et velkomment innslag. Mange andre av innslagene i Dagbladet er det ikke, men er preget av tilvant posisjonering og profilering. Det hadde vært ønskelig om Dagbladet turde å følge Morkens eksempel. «Bussing» er feks. en typisk avledende debatt, som skygger for de virkelige problemene.

Dagbladet burde også heve blikket og referere tilsvarende debatter i andre land. Feks. biskopen av Rochester, som for en uke siden sa at Storbritannia er blitt delt i to: det er områder hvor innfødte briter ikke føler seg velkomne. Enkelte har kritisert biskopen for å overdrive. Men Sunday Telegraph har besøkt Yorkshire og tatt med folk tilbake til gamle tomter: de kjenner seg overhodet ikke igjen. Det er en annen verden. Hele kulturen er forandret.

ore than 40 years since Tim Carbin walked the length of Oak Lane, the Bradford backstreet of his boyhood. Then, when he lived with his grandmother Florence Pawson, a matriarch within the community, his task after school was to run errands.

Down to Foster’s, the baker’s, for a loaf of bread and a pound of bacon from Donald Gilbank the butcher. «And mind it isn’t too fatty,» Florence would tell him.

Mr Carbin, then 13, knew all the local storekeepers by name, just as he knew the families in the surrounding terraces.

Yesterday, outside number 95A, his grandmother’s former home, Mr Carbin gazed in bewilderment as he scanned his old haunt.

Not surprisingly, the stores of his youth had gone: such has been the change in our shopping habits over the decades that they have given way to supermarkets and fast-food outlets.
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But that was not all that had changed irrevocably in Oak Lane. Among the new stores, the clothes shops sell Muslim dress, the butcher stocks halal meat and even the local takeaway advertises halal pizza.

«I feel like an alien, like I’m on a street in Karachi,» Mr Carbin says, awkwardly.

«I don’t feel I have anything in common with this area. It’s like I’ve never been here before. I knew it would be different but I knew, too, that I would feel uncomfortably like I don’t belong.»

He now lives just 10 miles away, in the north of Bradford. He hasn’t returned because Oak Lane, like so many similar areas of so many northern cities, is now an almost exclusive Asian Muslim community.

Mr Carbin is far from a racist, however. Well educated and widely travelled in Muslim countries, he has the utmost respect for the Islamic religion. What is worrying him is that Britain’s increasing espousal of multiculturalism has led not to an integrated society but, instead, to ghettoisation, with white-only and Asian-only communities existing cheek by jowl but with little or no common ground. And that, he believes, could have an ominous outcome.

Når det asiatisk-muslimske innslaget blir for stort, føler de innfødte britene seg «trengt» og utilpass. Gjentatte forspørsler om salg feks. kan oppleves ubehagelig. Det finnes også eksempler på at folk er blitt møtt med ukvemsord og beskjed om at de ikke hadde noe å gjøre i strøket:

Across town, in another Asian enclave, one local shopkeeper is preparing to sell up after 30 years running a family firm.

«I am retiring,» he says. «But yes, it’s true, a lot of people feel uncomfortable in Muslim areas. It’s fine for me, I’ve stayed and I know everyone, but many are fearful of venturing into the area.

«It’s not so much fear of violence, rather that they feel a sense of not being welcome, of having nothing in common with the community here, and a feeling that no one would appreciate the interest should they show it.

«I wish the Muslim community had integrated more, but they didn’t. I haven’t even been able to get them to join Neighbourhood Watch.»

In the surrounding streets, the few white residents willing to talk speak of isolation rather than intimidation. One said he had had several members of the Asian community knocking on his door, asking if he wanted to sell his home.

«At face value, that seems innocuous,» he says. «But others believe it was a message saying I should get out.»

Another tells of how his father, an electrician, parked his van in the area only to have it rocked and thumped by a group of Asian youths telling him: «This is our area now. You are not welcome here.»

It surprises no one, he says, knowingly, that a recently built massive police station, complete with a 30ft wall and a communications tower, now dominates upper Oak Lane.

In the nearby town of Dewsbury, which was once, like Bradford, a thriving mill area, similar enclaves exist. Local people were outraged recently to read that busy nurses at their local hospital had to allocate time to turning the beds of Muslim patients towards Mecca five times a day so that they could pray.

And last year, the discovery of an al-Qaeda propaganda DVD, which was handed out at the local mosque, increased tensions and further encouraged segregation among the communities. That, in turn, was capitalised on by the British National Party, which gained its highest numbers of voters in the city.

Patrick Sookhdeo mener at «overtakelsen» av områder og homogeniseringen har noe med muslimers forhold til territorium og sosialt rom å gjøre. Derfor glir også sharia umerkelig inn i familiepolitikken.

But, as Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, points out, the notion of space and territory is vital to Muslims.

During the 1979 European Islamic Conference, a policy of integrating as communities, not as individuals, was advocated.

«Once those communities become the majority,» he says, «they can control education, the economy and so on. And that is what has happened.»
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Another problem, he believes, is that, in the name of multiculturalism, the Labour Government has allowed a dual system of law to exist.

«Sharia law now exists in almost all Islamic communities in the UK,» he says. «Not at a penal level, but at a family level. It rules among the Muslim community in marriage and divorce, often at the expense of the vulnerable. To solve this, the Government must say no to Sharia law being practised. There should be no separate legal system in this country.»

‘I feel like an alien in my home town’

– Slutt å si at det flerkulturelle er positivt