EU Referendum

Immigration: the "brightest and the best"?


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I had intended to change the subject tonight, but I think I need to post a link to this and widen the subject. Lord Ahmed does take us a little further, in pointing to a failure of British mosques to exercise credible leadership, sufficient to attract and influence young Moslems, and assist in socialising them.

A Bradford contact of mine remarked on the relevance of my previous piece to this. The crucial issue, I said, is that weak tribal leadership in Pakistan has been transposed with the immigrant community, where it has failed in the UK to develop any community cohesion.

But that has been paralleled by what amounts to a collapse of Kashmiri religious institutions since immigration to the UK has taken off. We see low-grade, poorly-educated imams, with poor language skills and almost no knowledge of modern Britain. And it is they who are cast in the role of religious leaders, in an already dysfunctional community system.

From Lord Ahmed via the Mail, we get the view that many mosques have no idea how to lead or guide young men struggling to come to terms with being a Muslim in a modern country.

These men, we are told, need help with issues such as sex education, teenage pregnancy, drink and drugs – all the things other young people have to cope with. But they are taboo in most mosques. If a British-Pakistani boy tried to talk to an imam about it, he would look at him blankly.

Says Ahmed, many mosques are dangerously cut off from the rest of society, rooted in the ancient world, not the modern one. This approach is reflected by the way imams behave. Many rarely mix with other faiths, they are inward-looking and devote much of their energies to attacking rival sects.

What Ahmed doesn't tell us is something just a relevant – the extremely narrow "recruitment" base of British Pakistani immigrants, some 75 percent of which are from the Mirpur-speaking area of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, mostly the Pothwari. Ahmed himself is a Pothwari, so is Sayeeda Warsi, and also Anwar Pervez, founder and Chairman of Bestway Group.

The Mirpur area is mainly rural, poor, and many of the inhabitants are poorly educated. They follow the religious practices of the Punjabi Pothwari.

From here, we learn that the dominant structure amongst the Mirpur people is the family, to which the first priority is always given, right or wrong. It is a custom of people in Mirpur to marry their children within their families and if there is no one suitable, marriage is to be done in biradari or "within the clan".

This, we are told, is a very strict custom and people follow it. These are largely arranged marriages, and they are engaged at a very small age. It is forbidden strictly to marry their daughters with someone outside their family. Although sometimes the male members marry girls outside the family, it is avoided if possible. As a result, studies have shown that 55 percent of Pakistanis are married to first cousins – and in Bradford, this rises to 75 percent.

When it comes to female education, in Mirpur the girls are mainly kept at home. Many are not educated at all and are taught only how to do domestic chores.

Within the community, nepotism is rife: jobs are mostly given on the basis of family relation rather than abilities, skills and education. An poorly educated boy can always get a good job in a bank if he has an uncle at high post. This is not only practiced in the government but also in private and multinational companies.

All of this makes a stark contrast to the fantasy world inhabited by politicians. As pointed out by Anthony Scholefield, the Conservative manifesto for the 2010 election stated: "Immigration has enriched our nation over the years and we want to attract the brightest and the best people who can make a real difference to our economic growth".

Of the issue, David Cameron says: "It is right that we should attract the brightest and the best to Britain. Ed Milliband, in his speech to the IPPR think tank on 22nd June 2012 said, "Our economy has gained from being open to talent from across the world". Theresa May told the Conservative Party Conference on 5th October 2010, "Of course, Britain has benefited from immigration … We want to make sure the best and brightest can still come".

But what is astonishing about immigrants is that, with their Mirpur background, so many of them are dregs: inbred, backward, poorly-educated, bigoted, misogynist, and corrupt. Predominantly originating from the nomadic Dhangar tribe, even today it is regarded as a politically highly disorganised community that is socially, educationally, economically and politically backward.

Their driving political ethos is the biradari code, which has become the driving force in Anglo-PAK politics, carried over into the UK to become an integral part of the immigrant communities' approach to political representation and conduct - and totally alien to British values.

With this inward-looking, selfish code, the reason that these people often that they behave like the dregs is because they are the dregs. In many cases, even other Pakistanis are ashamed of them, in which context Islam is the very least of our problems.

You put these backward people into our own dysfunctional society - their dregs mixing with our dregs - where the police and the local authorities have gone AWOL and central government sits on its hands, and is it any surprise that we have such a mess? As Complete Bastard remarks, the problem starts with us and our broken system of government.