Source: The Guardian
BY Saadiyya Khan
What does integration mean? Does it mean contributing to society? Or assimilating into British culture?
If the former then I believe every Muslim woman I have ever met is integrated. They go to university, work, take their kids to school and chat with their teachers, take part in school fairs and bake for every bake sale and charity event. Even when they struggle to speak English they contribute to British society and their local communities. For a Muslim, service and contribution to one’s country is a part of faith.
Now we get to the crux of the matter: faith. Does one have to give up cultural and/or religious views in order to properly integrate? As a democratic and free society I should think not! Ahmadi Muslims have fled severe persecution in Pakistan to be able to practice their peaceful interpretation of Islam freely in Britain. Are they now being told that if they do they are not integrating into British society? The current narrative stemming from the Casey review seems to suggest so (Casey raises alarm over lack of social cohesion, 5 December). It seems highly contradictory for a democracy and a no-win situation for Muslim women especially, who are the most easily recognisable minority.
I’m a pensions professional working in the City at the head office of a large high street bank. Would you consider me integrated? I pay taxes, give to various charities and proudly buy several poppies every year. I wear a hijab, don’t drink or eat pork, don’t take part in football discussions (no interest or knowledge), don’t go to pubs or bars and am not always passive aggressive, diplomatic or polite. I do, however, always chat about the weather. Still consider me integrated?