reply to post by MrXYZ
There is something in your argument. However, I think the truth is a little more convoluted than you've stated and the way you've presented it has
made it easier to dismiss.
Poor people don't necessarily make for criminals. This has been one of the flaws in a fairly old argument, which, over the last 10 years or so,
manifested itself with questions regarding 'chavs' and 'chav' behaviour. My first house (one bedroom terrace, no bathroom or indoor toilet) was
demolished in slum clearances in the early 70s. I grew up in a house of 7 people (3 adults, a teenager and 3 young children spread across 3 bedrooms)
have spent most of my adult life in a tower block on a 1960s sink estate in the north of England (I have an Oldham postcode). If poverty was the only
factor, I'd have been a 'chav' myself.
There is truth in the adage that poor people are easy to radicalise as, poor people are often (rightly) disgruntled and angry about their lot in life.
However, what skews this phenomena (a phenomena which has been seen world-wide and throughout history) is that the UK has reached a point where this
anger no longer has a real voice or a real focus. The 'poor' are no longer genuinely represented in the UK. There's no real political voice that
speaks for them and there's mass disenfranchisement. The 2000s are very different from the from the 1920s to the early 1980s. In this sense, we're
back before the Peasant's Revolt and the Black Death where a factor outside of a man-made, artificial, class/social hierarchy is yet to intervene.
This general disgruntlement is now inarticulate and is turning in on itself - which probably suits a political and financial elite. Compare all this
to the united political anger spreading across southern Europe.
Things are also very different in the Muslim community. For them, their culture is less political in party sense and more political in a religious and
cultural sense. Economics is as much a religious issue as it is political in the western sense. Take the Muslim stance on usury, for example. Interest
on lending rates is fundamental to Western economics. The UK has been propped-up by this for a long time. Whereas in Islam it's massively
frowned-upon, to say the least.
This means that Muslim poor, rather than having nothing to cling to like the disenfranchised UK (white) poor, can focus their discontent back into
religion. This creates a feedback loop where the the Muslim cultural influence is endlessly reinforcing itself. And, where faith is concerned (in
religions, generally), any failing associated with the religion and the religious culture is seen as being due to outside factors: here it's
anti-Islamic feeling, 'western' values being imposed &c.
This is brought into sharper focus because a lot of the men involved haven't grown-up alongside 'western' values. The bulk of men in the Rochdale
cases (and in Oldham &c) have come from the same areas in Northern Pakistan. They've moved en masse from (poor) small towns and villages in ostensibly
backwater Pakistan to poor areas in northern England and brought their cultural/religious/economic values with them.
I genuinely don't think these actions of these gangs reflect the thoughts and mores of all Muslims or even all Muslims from Rochdale, Oldham and so
on. Not all Muslims are the same, in the same way that not all white Christians are the same, for example. Yes, Islam has a lot of crap to say.
However, Christianity also has a lot of crap to say but, as a still ostensibly Christian culture, most of us manage to filter out the stuff about
stoning, cloven hooves, shellfish, the dangers of mixed fibres, tattoos and so on.
Blanket statements get us nowhere so we need to look at specifics and subgroups of people rather than look at wide-ranging demographics that tell us
nothing of any real worth and only confuse the issue.
edit on 17-11-2012 by Merriman Weir because: .