Having started with a dramatic heading, I'm now going to come out with something equally as extreme – to a lot of anti-Muslims out there, at least.
Most Muslims are decent, hard-working people. Yet, where in my opinion they have gone wrong in the last decade or so is that some of them – those who also seem to grab the main headlines and the limelight – have increasingly associated themselves with the more extreme elements of Islam. Ban the Cross! Death to the Danish and French cartoonists! Death to the Pope! America the great Satan! Destroy Israel!...etc. And now with the recent atrocities in Paris, an attack at the very heart of all the West stands for in terms of freedom and culture.
So that now, with all that shouting at the forefront and constantly grabbing newspaper headlines, that's all that many British people and others in Europe and the USA see.
But let's take the clock back fifteen years, shall we, before this new wave of jihadism gained strength in Britain (and beyond) – and before indeed some Islamic adherents started to see their own religion as so superior, and the morals of western women so loose and inferior in comparison, that grooming our young teen girls seemed a good idea.
The majority of Muslims in this country are from Pakistan, and they moulded well into the nation, worked hard, were very enterprising, opening corner shops and stores all over. Indeed, at that stage, the most common voice heard about them (and in part because some of the West Indian population were responsible for more muggings, and perhaps weren't so hard-working and enterprising in opening their own shops, etc)... was why can't the West-Indians here be a bit more like the Asians - in other words, just get their heads down and work a bit harder without getting involved in crime. Or, as the British like to put it, 'keep their noses a bit cleaner' or 'fit in more'. And hopefully I can say this without fear of a back-lash, not only because it's true, but because my wife is partly Afro-Caribbean, and over the years that community has also seen their fair share of prejudice here, from the BNP and similar.
Then comes this new jihadist wave, and everything changes. But I would argue that in fact things have not changed - still 97% of Muslims here are hard-working, 'keeping their noses clean', non-extremists. But the problem is that these extremists are grabbing all the headlines and as a result soiling the reputation of the rest - their own people, I might add.
But there is a perfect prior example of this - the Jews. Yes, that favourite kicking-horse and long-term sworn enemy of all extreme Muslims - the Jews. And I will tell you why.
When they first came to this country in their numbers in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, they opened up exactly the same type of businesses as the Pakistanis and Indians did years later: textile sweat shops in the East End of London - Brick Lane indeed was a predominantly Jewish community right up until the 1960s – and corner shops wherever they could. Similarly, they were hard-working and kept their noses clean. And similarly, for many years they were subject in this country to exactly the same sort of racism that Pakistanis and Indians were in later years.
They always say that when you have a problem with a particular race, try to look more to what you have in common than what divides you. And so I would say this to Muslims here: you in fact have far more in common with the Jews of this country than probably any other race here, for the simple reason that you have both shared very similar immigrant experiences, albeit years apart.
But then comes the divide, and it has come about most sharply with the rising jihad mentality of this past decade. Yes, apart from the most obvious deplorable acts of 7/7, 9/11 in the USA, the Madrid train bombing and now the mass killings in Paris - in the interim we've also had the Danish cartoons, the Pope, various film makers and Charlie Hebdo. But let us return for a second to the Cross in the heading.
The Jews too have their own extreme religious element. They're called Hassidic Jews and you can see them shuffling around in long black garments and with long beards in Hatton Garden and Golders Green. But have any of these men got out on the street preaching hate towards the West – or indeed perhaps towards Arab factions against Israel – No! Do any of them, or indeed any Rabbis preach hate from the pulpit here against their fellow countrymen or other Arabs?... No!
And now let's get to the Cross: the Christian Cross too is a symbol that many a Jew could choose to rail against. After all, it was Christ's death on the Cross, and blame attached to Jews – even though it was Rome who were responsible for that crucifixion, as with thousands of other Jews - that for two thousand years has seen them systematically killed and persecuted. And the last, I might remind the Muslim community here and beyond, was just 75 years ago in Germany – not some 900 years ago with the Crusades.
But do you ever hear of a Jew complaining about the Cross symbol as being offensive, or asking for its removal from places they might visit? No!
So, my Muslim friends, if you want to know how to act in this country so as not to get a rising surge of public opinion against you – then, as much is it might be a tough pill to swallow, take a leaf from the Jews who preceded you here – because they did know how to act here.
And to any others out there who wave the flag for that same jihadist mentality or terrorists – by doing so, you are in turn waving an anti-flag for your own people and letting them down; by tarring them with that same jihadist brush (and so inflaming more public opinion against them), when indeed I still maintain most Muslims in this country, 97%, are decent, hard-working people who have little interest in this jihad- mentality which is increasingly denigrating their good names.
So, to all jihadists, I say - stop it! It's a shot in the foot against your own people, whose good name you are harming and dragging down.