Terrific piece from Ed Hussain in today's Times comment section about the state of mosques in Britain and how they are breeding extremism.
Almost all mosques are controlled by first-generation immigrant men, leaving most British Muslims - women and young people - out of the management structure.
By importing cheap imams from poor, intellectually deprived and theologically conservative places mosques put young Britons in the hands of men who do not have the linguistic or cultural backgrounds to deal with modern Britain. Little wonder, then, that many young Muslims turn to radical university Islamic societies, extremist websites, and Hamas-supporting groups in Britain for “religious guidance”.
Of the 27 or so Muslim seminaries or dar ul uloom in Britain, 25 come from the austere, Deobandi tradition - the preferred school of the Taleban. So while British soldiers risk their lives in Afghanistan, in British Muslim seminaries we allow the teaching of intolerance, unequal treatment of women, religious rigidity, the banning of music and theatre, and an end to free mixing of the sexes.
It's crazy that we're trying to defeat the Taliban in one country and happily allowing them to spread their message of intolerance and hatred in our own backyard, but given the cultural cringing created by the doctrine of multiculturalism it doesn't come as a surprise.
Hussain wonders how we are supposed to develop an "indigenous British Islam" under these circumstances and the only answer is that we can't. The longer we pursue this dangerous course of multiculturalism the harder it will be for British Moslems to develop their own brand of Islam which is more compatible with the ways of a liberal western democracy.
You can't reform something by repeatedly giving in to it - at some point you have to say "no more" and that point is now. If, rather than just allowing new mosques to be built or seminaries and madrassas to be set up we were to say that they have to be funded from British sources, they have to be built to fit in to the British landscape, they have to be managed by British born Moslems, they have to allow men and women to worship together and they have to employ British born and English speaking imams then we might start getting somewhere.
Until then we'll always have a breeding ground for extremism in our own backyard.
Read it all.