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Discussion:

Parallel Lives: mixing with Muslims

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Message 1 - posted by manc-host2, Nov 23, 2006

Do you mix with your Muslim neighbours? Or are we all leading separate lives? After Jack Straw's comments about the veil and his warning about divided communities, we're debating the issue and we want to hear your experiences - good or bad. Are White and Muslims communities integrated or segregated? Is your town changing? Whether it's at work or school, down the shops or on the football field: tell us your experiences of Muslim integration in Manchester.
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Message 2 - posted by *RebelBadger*, Nov 23, 2006

I am a 23 year old white english woman. I live in the city centre of Manchester just on the edge of Salford. I have no asian or muslim neighbours whatsoever. I very rarely notice anybody asian or in typical muslim dress walking around near where I live. However there are areas of Manchester that seem to be majority asian or muslim. Areas of Trafford and of course in Rusholme I notice it most. I don't feel at all intergrated, I feel intimidtated. There is no way I would walk around Rusholme after dark by myself or with friends. I have friends who have been racially abused walking around that part of town. I feel bad saying this and someone will probably call me a racist but it makes me feel uncomfortable when I sit on a bus in Manchester and I am a white person in the minority, with conversations in other languages happening all around me and some people wearing veils so I can't see their faces. So no I don't think there is much intergration at all, although there are a few asians and muslims who I have met that have intergrated fully.
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Message 3 - posted by maxpathan, Nov 24, 2006

I am a Muslim, born in Lancs. I have studied and worked in many parts of Britain. I am a practising Muslim and am fed up with the constatnt focus on Muslims and integration. What does it mean to be British? No one has defined that. Is a Black person a full brit? Is a larger lout a brit? IS NICK GRIFFIN and the BNP British? If Nick does not hold "British" values then why have they never been asked to integrate ??
This all leads me to believe that there is campaign by the labour govt and certain sections of the right-winf media to demonise Muslims to delect blame from the Iraq/Afghan fiasco!
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Message 4 - posted by onebluecity, Nov 24, 2006

Why are we so insistent on this idea of integration, especially when it comes to Muslims. It is human nature to socialise, and live amongst people of their own kind, who share the same beliefs and traditions. Do we have debates on the intergration of the Chinese community or the Jewish community or the Irish? No, but we are constantly hearing in the media, Muslim voices usually complaining about soemthing or other that has offended them.
Is this intergration?
Somebody asks 'What does it mean to be British?' The answer is nobody knows any more, even our flag the George cross is a contentious symbol to some.
To integrate is also to tolerate, and to tolerate is to accept the views, opinions, cultures of other people. Are Muslims tolerant of 'British' culture, sadly no, I don't think so. When I say this I am thinking of the riots over a couple of cartoons (compare this to programmes like Father Ted which openly make fun of the Catholic church), I am thinking about ridiculous stories about hot cross buns being banned, christmas decorations in shopping malls in danger of being phased out, newsreaders not allowed to wear a small crucifix around the neck, etc, etc.
The issue of wearing the veil is a false argument, It is not a religous requirement to wear the veil. In British society, to cover ones face is an act of supreme rudeness, and that needs to be respected.
Muslims demonised themselves when 9/11 happened in the name of Islam. Suicide bombers in London were young Muslims. And yet followers of this contradictory religion would have you believe it is the British gov't are running a campaign to demonise Muslims!
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Message 5 - posted by Happiness Stan is not Brunhilde E Dorsch, Nov 25, 2006

Seems we live not too far apart Loulabelle. Hello from Trinity.

I had two neighbours from the UAE for two years up until about 3 years ago. Both were young women studying post graduate degrees at Salford uni. They were both strict adherents to their religion, which dictated covering their hair with scarves when in the company of men, observing prayer times and so on. My girlfriend and I used to wonder why it was that we could hear alarm clocks going off at ridiculous o'clock in the morning. It was so that they could ablute before prayer.

Did we mix? Yes. Very well thanks. They'd cook for us, we'd cook for them. We'd be in each others flats quite a bit. They were good friends and neighbours. They were both really warm, friendly, hospitable people, and realy good company.

I bumped in to one of them one afternoon towards the end of their stay. She had a pair of black eyes and a broken nose. Turns out a couple of scallies from Islington took against her as she walked across Bexley Square. Right outside the Magistrate's court, she was pushed to the ground by three lads, one of whom kicked her in the face. You know what? She said that she fel sorry for them. How humbling is that?

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Message 6 - posted by Urban_Manc, Nov 25, 2006

Problems arise when you have large numbers ( legal and illegal ) of immigrants moving into the country, without a controlled limited number entering over many years.

Manchester ( and the rest of the country ) is split into ghetto's, clearly cultures and religions feel safer when they have like-minded people to share their community.

Once the people have settled into their 'ghetto', they donít feel the need to integrate ( like the 2million British chavs that have invaded Spain ), therefore perpetuating the distrust, if there had been a very slow and controlled number of immigrants that wouldn't have happened.

There's far too many foreigners that are here to take from the system and that hate the British culture and are religious zealots , I donít want to integrate with people like that.
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Message 7 - posted by maxpathan, Nov 27, 2006

I believe the tensions that exists are largely based on the misinformation. For example, muslims did not create the ghettos they live in. They occurred when the "English" did not want to live with them. The same took place in the schools.

There is more intollerance amongst the natives then there is amongst the british whose ancestry is from other countries. This has been borne out in recent studies. Please read the recent report from the Rowntree Trust.

The intolreance by a tiny minority has been blow out of all proportions to demonise the whole muslim community.

Also its important to remmeber that when Blair tried to ban HIzb ut-Tahrir, the advise did not come from the police or the home office but from the foreign office. This means the policies in Britan are being dictated to by corporate interest in the wider world. We demonise Muslims here, but embrace tyrants/dictators like Musharraf, Karimov and the Kazak ruler (whose name escapes me) who torture and boil political opponets . We should be more outraged about this than want the jingoistic media tells us about the Muslims here. Dont forget Blair, who calls for the rule of law, finances the torture of others with out tax money. Those tyrants are the cause of global instability, and Bliar is their ally

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Message 8 - posted by Dwaine Benzie, Nov 27, 2006

Do we have debates on the integration of the Chinese community or the Jewish community or the Irish?

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The difference is these 3 cultures are friendly and inviting. The Islam faith seems unwelcoming, power-mad and carries a massive chip on its shoulder...

P.s. Loulabelle62, you sound far too overly paranoid to me. I'm white and live in Rusholme, and Iíve never experienced any direct racial abuse.
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Message 9 - posted by *RebelBadger*, Nov 27, 2006

My friends have experienced racial abuse in Rusholme. Not when they've been with me but it has happened to them.

Generally I admit I am a bit of a scaredy cat and since I heard this had happened to my white female friends I've not been to Rusholme since. How do you find it living there Dwaine?

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Message 10 - posted by Dwaine Benzie, Nov 27, 2006

My friends have experienced racial abuse in Rusholme. Not when they've been with me but it has happened to them.

Generally I admit I am a bit of a scaredy cat and since I heard this had happened to my white female friends I've not been to Rusholme since. How do you find it living there Dwaine?


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To be fair I can understand how Rusnolme seems a little intimidating to someone who isn't familiar with the area.

I live at the back of Rusholme (known as Victoria Park) where there is a mix of Asian families and students (especially international students). I've never come across racism towards me probably because I don't expect any. If anyone thinks anything racist towards me well that's their problem. The main problem with Rusholme is the crime (which is committed by people of all race no doubt). Thatís the reason why I will be moving out of the area come new year.

Loulabelle, what district do you live in?
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Message 11 - posted by *RebelBadger*, Nov 27, 2006

I live in the trinity area of Salford right next to the city centre. I was at Uni in Manchester though so I have lived in Fallowfield, Withington and Didsbury too so Rusholme used to be very familiar to me but I only used to ride the bus through it. Victoria Park doesn't really intimidate me, I have friends who live there, it's just that I wouldn't walk along Oxford road through Rusholme by myself. That's where my friends have experienced the problems. But then again I realise my area has problems too with hoodies and the such, but I'm alot less intimidated by them than if I was in Rusholme. Do you reckon I should become a bit more familiar with Rusholme? Face my fear?
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Message 12 - posted by FarkaryTwarx, Nov 27, 2006

Some people may disagree, but I think Britain is still extremely racist. Walking around Manchester I regularly hear various racist & homophobic remarks, always from the usual suspects... i.e inbred, white knuckleheads who hate everyone who isn't a straight, white, heavily tatooed neandathal.
If we could deport these people, preferably to Neptune or somewhere, Britain would be a much better place.


I am a Muslim, born in Lancs. I have studied and worked in many parts of Britain. I am a practising Muslim and am fed up with the constatnt focus on Muslims and integration. What does it mean to be British? No one has defined that. Is a Black person a full brit? Is a larger lout a brit? IS NICK GRIFFIN and the BNP British? If Nick does not hold "British" values then why have they never been asked to integrate ??
This all leads me to believe that there is campaign by the labour govt and certain sections of the right-winf media to demonise Muslims to delect blame from the Iraq/Afghan fiasco!

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Message 13 - posted by FarkaryTwarx, Nov 27, 2006

Funny, I don't find Rusholme to be intimidating in the slightest. I've been going down the Curry Mile for years and not once experienced any problems.
Salford however is terrifying. I'd sooner walk through downtown Beirut than step foot in places like Langworthy. Everywhere you go in Salford you see hoardes of chavs looking for random people to attack. Horrible.

I live in the trinity area of Salford right next to the city centre. I was at Uni in Manchester though so I have lived in Fallowfield, Withington and Didsbury too so Rusholme used to be very familiar to me but I only used to ride the bus through it. Victoria Park doesn't really intimidate me, I have friends who live there, it's just that I wouldn't walk along Oxford road through Rusholme by myself. That's where my friends have experienced the problems. But then again I realise my area has problems too with hoodies and the such, but I'm alot less intimidated by them than if I was in Rusholme. Do you reckon I should become a bit more familiar with Rusholme? Face my fear?

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Message 14 - posted by coldecember, Nov 27, 2006

I used to live in Longsight, i felt safe walking around in the middle of the night, maybe this was down to me knowing a lot of people there.I would feel scared walking around rusholme or victoria park in the day never mind in the night,so maybe it is just familiarity.
make of that what you wish.
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Message 15 - posted by FarkaryTwarx, Nov 27, 2006

I really cannot understand what is intimidating about Rusholme? Are you frightened that you'll get mugged by a gang of woman in burqas? Or attacked by a rampaging Geography Student?
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Message 16 - posted by coldecember, Nov 27, 2006

No FT,i just feel uncomfortable, like i said, it is familiarity, i`d feel the same anywhere,and why do you mention women in burqas, why should they scare me?
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Message 17 - posted by *RebelBadger*, Nov 27, 2006

Actually the area of Salford that I live in is not too rough, there are worse areas like Lower Broughton that I would not walk around alone at night, it's just common sense. I find Rusholme intimidating because I have a couple of white female friends that have been racially abused whilst walking through there by groups of young asian men. I think racial abuse (being called a white slag, white bitch etc which were the terms used)is more intimidating than a group of young hoodies in the park on their bikes. I feel less intimidated walking past them, the most they usually do is ask if my dog's a poodle then ask for a cigarette. I don't think racial abuse is caused purely from white people also FarkaryTwarx, nor would I be scared by a gang of women in burqas or geography students. You taking the mickey out of me?
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Message 18 - posted by FarkaryTwarx, Nov 27, 2006

Of course sexual abuse is utterly appalling. However I do think that certain groups (chavs usually) take enormous pleasure in causing trouble in Rusholme, as they do on Canal Street.
That's why people may take offence at large groups of 'towny' people in 'their neighbourhood'. I walk through Asian areas all the time and never encounter any trouble, perhaps it's because I don't look like a typical racist? Maybe if I decked a shellsuit and baseball cap I'd get a different reaction.
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Message 19 - posted by Dwaine Benzie, Nov 27, 2006

Do you reckon I should become a bit more familiar with Rusholme? Face my fear?

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Unless you fancy a curry, there's not much point! There have been rapes, assaults and many muggings in my area in the last 12 months. Whether this is to do with racial segregation I do not know. All I know is that the area has some big problems. Anyone who say's they feel safe walking around backstreet Rusholme or Longsight at night is either Tony Jaa, or lying.
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Message 20 - posted by MancMan, Nov 27, 2006

Anyone who says they feel safe walking around backstreet Rusholme or Longsight at night is either Tony Jaa, or lying.

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<laugh><laugh><laugh><laugh><laugh>

Seriously though, I've lived most of my life within 5 miles of the city centre, and there are good and bad areas. A lot of places close to the centre aren't the kind of places people should wander around on their own if they've got any sense.
I'm white but grew up knowing whites, blacks, Asians, Irish, Jews and have never felt particularly threatened by any group. At times there were dodgy people knocking about, but that wasn't because of their race, that was because they were shady and were troublemakers.
I currently live in Salford (close to the Quays where I work), but to be perfectly honest I don't see anything to suggest that the area is really that much worse than most other central areas.
But I've got say, I don't see gangs of white chavs waiting to attack anyone passing by.....although saying that, good old Nigel Pivaro got arrested for allegedly having guns recently and he doesn't live that far away from me! <yikes>



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