When In Rome… Do Whatever The Hell You Like

The nine men convicted of the organised criminal abuse of girls in the North West of England has again raised discussions about the part played by the perpetrators’ race in the crimes.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Edwards of West Mercia police has called for an end to the ‘damaging taboo’ connecting on-street grooming with race.

“These girls are being passed around and used as meat. To stop this type of crime you need to start everyone talking about it but everyone’s been too scared to address the ethnicity factor.”

More generally, authorities have gone out of their way to deny that race has had anything to do with the crimes, and they are right to do so. What nobody appears to be asking is whether culture has any role to play.

Mohammed Shafiq of the Manchester-based moderate Muslim youth group, The Ramadhan Foundation, said of the trial,

“There is a significant problem for the British Pakistani community… There should be no silence in addressing the issue of race as this is central to the actions of these criminals… They think that white teenage girls are worthless and can be abused without a second thought.”

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Northwest England spoke of ‘imported cultural baggage’ and said of the perpetrators, ‘they think that women are some lesser being’.

Ann Cryer, former Labour MP the constituency in which I was raised, in Keighley, West Yorkshire, has spoken openly about problems arising from multiculturalism for several years now, and consistently warned that police, under the cloud of being branded racist, have been extremely reluctant to get involved in any cases which may upset ‘community relations’. Cryer’s views can not be easily dismissed. She is privy to knowledge from individuals over years in her political surgeries and has better insight into these matters than most.

Even Will Self on This Week was of the opinion (backed by former Labour Home Secretary, Alan Johnson and former Lib Dem leader, Charles Kennedy) that there is clearly a problem with some men within the Pakistani community who have a mysognistic attitude towards women. Interestingly, Louise Mensch, Conservative MP for Corby, did the usual thing of not accepting this viewpoint and insisting that Self’s comments were tarring a whole community with the same brush, when he had expressed abundantly clearly that it was a part of that community. In short, in a crass attempt to appear politically correct, she illustrated brilliantly what many mainstream policians have done for so long, and denied flatly that the perpetrators’ cultural background had an bearing on their crime.

Clearly, the colour of someone’s skin has absolutely no bearing on that person’s propensity for behaving in ways which are illegal. The only bearing race may have on anyone is how they are perceived by others, their susceptibility for certain illness prevelant or unique to that race, and, potentially, differences in physique (and a quick look across a world-class running track would quickly put white supremacists in their place as to which race is superior in this regard). The far right still doesn’t seem to grasp these things. Physiologically, people of all races share the same fundamental biology.

What does have a bearing on someone’s propensity to commit crime is the culture in which they have been raised, the core beliefs and values of the society, and/or the section of the society in which they originate. And when I use the word ‘crime’, I do of course mean a crime as it is understood under British law, because the very first thing one must consider is that what is considered a criminal act here is not necessarily so in other cultures, and vice-versa, and some people with other cultural values do not acknowledge British law as having dominion over them; they apparently have a ‘higher’ moral authority.

The first thing the defenders of multiculturalism must do is to understand what that term actually means in reality: not just in their own imagination.

A culture encompasses many things. To some proponents of multiculturalism, it simply means that we get to enjoy a bit of fantastic cuisine, art, and music from other cultures, which is of course no bad thing at all. But culture covers more than just the arts and cuisine; it includes values, manners, and behavioural norms.

I have lived, worked and studied abroad for around two years in total, in Switzerland, Germany, and France; not the most exotic destinations, but long enough to understand cultural differences between even seemingly similar European neighbours; for example, Germans rarely say ‘please’, but always say ‘you’re welcome’, or almost always say ‘enjoy your meal’ before eating; Germans also have a tendency to speak plainly. These are subtle differences which can lead to misunderstandings or appear rude to British sensitivities. However, once you settle into a culture, you find it fairly easy to adapt, if you make the effort, and accept that it is beholden on you to adjust to your host culture and not the other way around.

But these are just pleasantries, which lead at most to awkward situations or misunderstandings.

Things become more challenging when we consider cultures who have entirely different cultural views from ours. What I find astonishing is that those who speak out in favour of multiculturalism seem to be under the strange, and rather naive, misapprehension that everybody in the world, regardless of their background, shares their own world view, and that those of us who oppose multiculturalism do so because we harbour racist views.

Well, they’re wrong.

Believing that everybody around the world shares the same world outlook is demonstrable nonsense. One need be only slightly travelled, world-aware, or even to have watched or read a few travelogues, or just the odd bit of news to realise that this is the case. I suspect that those who hold this opinion have seen little of the world.

Whether it’s urinating or defacating openly in the street (habits which Gandhi himself tried in vain to change in India), attitudes to women, lying, attitudes to foreigners (even tourists), those of other religions, alcohol, food, general hygiene, belching, farting, spitting, littering, sanitation, begging, or a multitude of other things, there can be big differences in attitudes even between different regions, social strata, or religious communities within a country. Once outside westernised nations, the differences can be astounding. Anyone who has spent a prolonged period of time in such places and has left the safe confines of their hotel or accommodation will confirm this to be the case.

So what makes certain people believe that those from societies with different cultural norms can coexist normally in our country without adapting to our cultural norms?

I have spent a great part of my life living in or near areas with large ethnic minority populations, in Bradford, Coventry, and Nuneaton. My wife and daughter had the unpleasant experience of seeing a man of indeterminate ethnic origin urinating in broad daylight on a busy town street in such an area recently. Now you may find the fact that someone would behave in such a way revolting, but if you do embrace multi-culturalism, you have to accept behaviour like that or you’re not being ‘culturally sensitive’. Sure, we in western societies may have established in the 19th century that proper treatment of human waste is crucial to people’s health, but far be it for us to be arrogant enough to take a position on this – that’s going too far; oh, and likewise with women’s rights too!

Believe it or not, I’m quite sympathetic to those new arrivals who are ignorant of what is socially acceptable in this country, but I expect them to make an effort to learn the societal norms of this country before they even set foot on British soil, and there is certainly no excuse for those, like those convicted in the recent trial, who were raised in this country.

Moreover, those from other cultures do not have the monopoly on anti-social behaviour. Many of them view large swaithes of the indigenous population here as completely lacking in morals, and it’s easy to see why, based on the behaviour of those members of the indigenous population who themselves do not conform to our societal norms (and do not have the excuse of ignorance for not doing so).

The news from Lancashire is particularly disturbing, because the perpetrators were not recent immigrants, but members of the British Pakstani community. But why should this surprise us? In a recent University of London study, out of 52 recent cases of group grooming activities, 83% of the perpetrators originated from this precise community.

Why that group of Muslims in particular? Well, if we were a little objective about this and listened to the more reasonable and objective members of that community and other communities who have intimate knowledge of that community and its cultural values, we would discover that there are those within the community who completely reject and flout our cultural values and norms. Many of them are even quite happy to state such publicly. The more integrated community members inform us that there is a deliberate sub-culture of those who separate themselves entirely from our society.

Some members of that community in particular do not recognise our values, sneer at our institutions, see their own legal systems as applicable, rather than the law of our land, treat their own women and non-Muslims, or kuffar, as second-class citizens. We do not enjoy the same status and protection as they do in the eyes of their religion (which is above any man-made law) and on that basis are fair game for all manner of abuse and lies. You delude yourself if you believe it is mere coincidence that the victims in the current case in Lancashire were all white. This is pure ‘culturalism’, not racism, on the part of the perpetrators.

Unfortunately, and even with the perpetrators’ own admission of these views, the whole subject of pointing out these observations is taboo. Those who do so are instantly shouted down with jibes of ‘racist’. When those who genuinely don’t hold racist views are met with this kind of barrage, something is very badly wrong. Branding somebody racist for pointing out the obvious discredits nobody but the accuser, although it satisfies the ‘right-on’ mob’s self-congratulatory need to be seen to be backing handed-down and politically-correct opinions. God forbid people should think for themselves and draw their own conclusions based on their own experiences, observations, and research, rather than newspapers, be they the Daily Mail on the one hand or the Guardian on the other.

Those who uphold the values of multiculturalism either unwittingly or willingly encourage the development of ghettos, apartheid, segregated schooling, emphasis of religious divides, community tensions and breakdown, racism, and ultimately conflict. We have our own experience of this in Northern Ireland. When people are not encouraged to abide by their host country’s social and legal norms, when they stay within their own culture and community rather than mix with their host community, and are left to hold values we long since shunned (and are occasionally illegal), it should be no surprise to the wider community that they exercise these behaviours in society at large.

Having gone to school with people of all backgrounds and races, and having my own children in such a position now, I grew up knowing that all children can get along just fine when they aren’t raised in different cultures within one society.

Naturally, one should not tar all Muslims with the same brush. Most are moderate and integrated, and are brave enough to speak out against other less moderate and integrated Muslims. Equally, there are indigenous (white) converts to Islam who adapt a hard-core stance (usually sad, lonely, attention-seeking individuals, who blame society for their own failings or buy into too many conspiracy theories) – further proof if any were needed that this is not a matter of race, but cultural choice.

But these groups who have cut themselves off from societal norms are not really the ones to blame. The ones who are squarely responsible are those who, out of ‘cultural sensitivity’ or fear of being labelled ‘racist’ have allowed this state of affairs to arise – the ones who repeat the nonsense mantra about the various forms of full-face veil being an important religious symbol when it is nothing more than a Wahhabi means of oppressing women, only relatively recently adopted to stick a metaphorical two fingers up at our society.

Ancient Rome was probably the most cosmopolitan state the world has ever known, comprising residents who originated across the whole Roman empire, from the Scottish borders to Africa. Romans did not judge people on their skin colour, but how well they integrated into Roman society.

The phrase ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, attributed to St Ambrose is, translated from the original full form, ‘if you were in Rome, live in the Roman way; if you are elsewhere, live as they do there’.

What have the Romans ever done for us? Shown us that people from different races and cultures can co-exist, so long as they live by the cultural norms of the nation in which they reside.