A reply to our Muslim Friend

I published a letter from the Harrow Times oentitled “Muslim Language Rights” on the 22nd December and have now had sight of the following edition of this newspaper.

Here are two letters, scanned in and unaltered for your consideration, once again without any comment – either way – from this blog.

Linguistic apartheid

In his letter on Muslim language rights (Harrow Times, December 16). Iftikhar Ahmad implies that he is in favour of “positive community cohesion” for all citizens.

But he then says that English could become the social and emotional language of Muslims only if they go to pubs, nightclubs and frequently change partners.

So, he despises English life as low and immoral and. by his own argument, if Muslims avoid these evils, English could not be their social language.

So much for “community cohesion”.

He objects that the British Government requires that imams from abroad to speak English.

This requirement seems not unreasonable since, otherwise, whenever an imam wishes to communicate with the authorities (doctors, hospitals, social security etc) he will need an interpreter.

It is better that imams be “burdened” with learning the language of the country in which they live than the taxpayer be burdened with the high cost of an interpreter at each occasion.

He believes that a foreign imam who speaks Urdu and Arabic is best for Muslims in this country so that they can feel at home in an alien British society.

I believe that the phrase “alien British society” sums up Mr Ahmad’s attitude to this country.

He wants an inward-looking Muslim society, set well apart from the despised British social life and led by imams who cannot speak English.

But, of course, he will require that the low-life British will support his Muslim schools from their taxes.

There are 46 countries where Muslims are in the majority.

Perhaps Mr Ahmad could tell us how many of these have set up schools to teach Christianity?

If they have not, would this constitute a “crime against humanity”?

William Garrett, Pinner View. North Harow

Tolerance is two-sided

Iftikhar Ahmad says he wants schools in the UK in which his languages and culture are taught exclusively, and that he does not see why Muslim clerics should have to learn Eng-lish (Harrow Times, December 16).

In the UK he is allowed freedom of speech and the freedom to worship in the way that he wishis and to dress in the way he feels his religion requires him to.

My Muslim friends tell me that nowhere in their holy book are rules on dress laid down, and that these codes have been laid down by their religious leaders.

In our schools, we teach our children about all religions so that they will understand them.

They are also taught that they must respect the cultures and beliefs of people from other countries and that, if they travel to other countries, they must respect the beliefs and culture of those countries and must not do things which will be offensive to the people of those lands.

When people come to our country we expect them to respect our language and culture, especially if they have come here seeking to become citizens.

Here, we hope, they will learn to be happy, enjoy the freedom to work, live, speak and fol-low their own religion and integrate into our society.

We do not demand that they change their way of life, only that they respect the way we live.

If their clerics have a good command of English they will be able to converse with all members of their flocks, regardless of their country of origin, as not all Muslims speak the same languge.

In days gone by, Christian clerics could use Latin to communicate with their flocks.

I rember my father trying to tell his opposite number in Czechslovakia (pre-1939) about how to do a piece of chemical research and having to enlist the help of the local Catholic priest to act as interpreter as my father’s Czech was not good enough.

My father spoke in Latin and the priest translated to the Czech colleague.

Today, English is the language of commerce and widely used in most countries as a common language.

If people choose to come here,’we hope they will respect our culture, language and religion, while knowing they are free to use ther own languages, free to worship as they wish and to practise their culture.

And they should know that what they give by your very differences is valued and respected by the majority of the citizens of this country. ‘

Patience Cutts (full address supplied)

Now it is time to move on as I won’t be able to have sight of this newspaper as my correspondent has gone back home to India.


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