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Simon Newman

Racial antagonism seems a lot worse in the USA than in the UK. As far as assimilating immigrants goes, there's no evidence that Muslim immigrants are better integrated in the USA, certainly if you control for social status, and there are the same problems of religious extremism as in UK.
I think America's big advantage though is the message it sends to all would-be (legal) immigrants that America is a land of opportunity, but you have to work hard for it.


Simon Newman, why control for social status? It's precisely because our Muslims have a better social status (through better integration) that we have fewer problems.

Mary Fernandez

Actually, a recent Pew Poll found American Muslims very assimilated compared to their British counterparts:.

Finding Include:

1. Overall, Muslim Americans have a generally positive view of the larger society. Most say their communities are excellent or good places to live.
A large majority of Muslim Americans believe that hard work pays off in this society. Fully 71% agree that most people who want to get ahead in the United States can make it if they are willing to work hard.

2. The survey shows that although many Muslims are relative newcomers to the U.S., they are highly assimilated into American society. On balance, they believe that Muslims coming to the U.S. should try and adopt American customs, rather than trying to remain distinct from the larger society. And by nearly two-to-one (63%-32%) Muslim Americans do not see a conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.

3. Roughly two-thirds (65%) of adult Muslims in the U.S. were born elsewhere. A relatively large proportion of Muslim immigrants are from Arab countries, but many also come from Pakistan and other South Asian countries. Among native-born Muslims, roughly half are African American (20% of U.S. Muslims overall), many of whom are converts to Islam.

4. Based on data from this survey, along with available Census Bureau data on immigrants' nativity and nationality, the Pew Research Center estimates the total population of Muslims in the United States at 2.35 million.

5. Muslim Americans reject Islamic extremism by larger margins than do Muslim minorities in Western European countries. Absolute levels of support for Islamic extremism among Muslim Americans are quite low, especially when compared with Muslims around the world.


John Coles

Anything but face reaility. Unchecked immigration fractures society and undermines the values and social assumptions that once held us together.

Mary Fernandez

As for David Cameron, after his speech on 9/11 wherein he basically pissed on the graves of 3000 murdered, I keep waiting for him to find the distance from America he says he wants.


Mary, I second that. I don't see how David Cameron can ever be as good a friend to the US as Tony Blair has been. For that matter, I don't see how David Cameron can even be good for the British people (weak on crime, weak on education, weak on government spending.. weak on conservatism).

Mary Fernandez

Cameron's basically an empty suit.

Poor Britain, I fear, is suffering from years of the deliberate breakdown of its sovereignty in order to fit into the EU project. Borders make a nation.


Cameron's view of America is partially idealized. There's more symbolism than substance that meets the eye. You have to live here to know.

Simon's view America is idealized by what seems to me to be ego and prejudice. Its the BBC and Guardian mentality, skewed and with nationalism. Muslims are not the problem here as in the UK, they have accepted American ideals better. Better but not good enough, and we have to be very diligent to control the potential for their intolerance and hate. It is by and large the Muslim mentality that is the problem: they cannot readily accept and respect Democracy and freedom.

"Anything but face reaility. Unchecked immigration fractures society and undermines the values and social assumptions that once held us together." Agreed John.

I don't blame the UK for its Muslim problem with the exception of an attitude as if its the fault of the non-Muslim British for not 'reaching out' enough. This PC self-criticism is destructive and causes Muslims to further separate and exert their self-centered 'rights' be Muslim at the expense of not having to respect the culture and values of a nation they chose to live in.


JF 07.53 PM - " .....weak on crime, weak on education, weak on government spending.." - Tony Bliar's legacy.

Mary F 07.46 PM - I think you have a very bitter and twisted outlook.


Perdix, no doubt about it, Blair has been a disaster in terms of domestic policy. But Cameron will be at least as bad, and he'll alienate the United States in addition. Will the UK replace France as the American object of scorn in the next decade? Hopefully not, but we'll see how the Tories perform once in office. Let's hope that the speech given by DC on September 11 was a one-time event.

Mary Fernandez

JF, (I don't know if your an American, if you, are you might relate to this), I haven't said the pledge of allegiance since first grade in 1975 and Mt. Rushmore might be a nice place to visit (I haven't been there), but I don't associate it with reverence. I associate it with a Hitchcock/Gary Grant movie. The Statue of Liberty, Lincoln Memorial, yes; Mt. Rushmore, no. I think the BBC portrays Americans doing the Pledge of Allegiance like Nazis doing 'Heil Hitler'.

Christopher Meyer in his book 'D.C. Confidential' went on about Brits who could speak 'American' and those that can't. Mo Mowlan (fmr. No. Ireland Secretary) could. (She apparently replied, "Up yours, King" to Congressman Peter King and endeared herself to the entire Congressional delegation thereafter). Peter Mandleson couldn't. I suspect that Tony Blair can instinctively communicate to Americans. Dave Cameron, I don't think 'gets' America. I don't know about Brown (except that socialist bunk he's selling won't go down well here).

Mary Fernandez

Perdix - Thanks!


Mary, I am indeed American, and I can certainly relate to your lack of identification with many of our national symbols. That said, I still feel a sense of awe every time I read the introduction and preamble of the Declaration of Independence, and I feel a sense of pride when I see our flag flying (and I'm not even southern).

I agree that our patriotism has been grossly exaggerated abroad. We haven't gone as far down the path of multiculturalism that Europe has, which is probably one reason why we're viewed as less sophisticated. At the same time, some of the horror stories related by The Brussels Journal about the extremes of multiculturalism make me shudder. If the British want to see naked nationalism, they should visit South Korea; I don't know of a more self-centered and chauvinistic people. I think we strike a good balance.

As far as "speaking American," it probably goes both ways. President Clinton seemed able to find favor in the eyes of the Europeans with his rhetoric, and Blair has been able to do the reverse in the US. I agree that DC and Brown don't have the flair for it, but then, DC is the worst kind of upper class elitist who thinks he knows what's best for everyone, and Brown is a Scot (enough said).

Our elections next year will certainly decide how the relationship will evolve over the next decade or so; I hope Great Britain is prepared for the possibility of another Republican president.

Mary Fernandez

JF - Just to clarify, I don't have a lack of identification with the national symbols (I'm an Army Captain), but I just don't see Mt. Rushmore high amongst them. I'd put the Alamo, Ft. Sumnter, Gettysburg or the Grand Canyon higher than Mt. Rushmore.

I agree with you that Cameron's view of America is a bit idealized (Sort of like an outsider reading a Lonely Planet guide about America rather than having an instinctive feel for the place.)

I'm predicting a Republican winner next year. The Democrats have painted themselves so far left, I can't see them winning a general election. The polls keep showing the top three Repubicans beating any combination of Democrats. [And mild mannered George Bush must be a dream to work with next to cranky John McCain!]


Every Every time I watch the Alamo with John Wayne I do get goose bumps - historically correct or not :-)

I can see the Democrats steeling the election.


Mary, agreed on all points, apologies for the misunderstanding. That said, from what I've read, DC has been having some trouble of late even in relating to his own constituency, so perhaps his stance on the US isn't personal. He's starting to look almost like the British John McCain: alienate the base, blur the lines between parties, and court the press. So far it's working, but it is a long road until elections.

I'm very proud of our GOP lineup and have high hopes for next year. McCain would be a great commander in chief, and his performance in the most recent debate rekindled my hope that he will turn things around, but I hope he comes to see the light on immigration before it sinks him. Otherwise, I'm satisfied that any of our front runners would make a good president.

And let me say, G-d bless you for your service.

Mary Fernandez

Steevo - Speaking of John Wayne, watch "Why I love America"

Scroll down and click the red box "America".

A bit over the top for our British friends, but it always brings tears to my eyes.

JF - Thank you for the acknowledgement, but I always defer to the lower enlisted, who take the greatest risks, suffer the highest casualties and have the most to lose. They are real heroes.


One of the things that really struck me when I moved to Britain from the States in the late 80's was that, unlike the common American folks I knew, the common, every day British person I got to know didn't have any pride in their country.

This was the difference: when presented with an opportunity to comment on or demonstrate how they feel about their country, the "default" position of Americans is positive while the "default" position of the Britons was decidedly negative.

In either case the "default" position could be overcome given personal opinion on any given issue or persuasion, but that knee-jerk first impression was there.

What was worse, was that the average Britons I got to know seemingly never passed up a chance to pass along a cynical remark about their country.

I really got the impression by the time I returned to Los Angeles that I was leaving a place too deeply soaked in old world cynicism to pull itself out. I'm very afraid that diagnosis may, in fact, have been correct.

Americans can be disturbingly optimistic and postive, and I can certainly see how all the fake-cheery "have a nice day" crap can wear on a person with British sensibilities.

But any people who have no pride in who they are collectively are going the way of the T. Rex.


The USA is the world's third most populous country, Britain is just one of several medium-sized European staelets in the EU. If NAFTA became a Government of the Americas with a capital in Caracas and the US Congress implemented North American legislation on working hours, immigration, and said it had a mind to intervene in University Education - I wonder how Harvard would be happy to have commonality with Universities in Sao Paulo.

The attack on British identity has come from the Frankfurt School Left, the EU, the former imperial subjects in Africa and Pakistan who have a very generous financial settlement in England but a very poor outlook.

Britain has focused on importing people of low skill, low education, and strong in village and peasant culture and then giving away the industries they worked in to the kind of countries they came from just as Spain needs Moroccan wetbacks to stop its citrus production migrating to Morocco.

Cheap workers imported to prop up dying textiles now have no jobs as textiles have gone to Turkey and Asia. Their children have attended unstructured schools modelled on US High Schools and Britain now has the same inner city problems of race and crime.

The difference is the USA is not as urbanised as Britain - New York does not border Boston or DC as Leeds abuts Bradford or Sheffield.....this country is highly urbanised as is the ethnic population and these urban centres are dying like a giant Cleveland OH


I strongly agree with Mary F's contention that borders make a nation and that the European project has weakened Britain's idea of itself and its true identity. Reading Andrew Roberts' 'History of the English Speaking peoples Since 1900', recently published I am reminded that geographical location does not make for national identity. Rather culture, language and constitution are clearer pointers to affinity. In this case Britain is not European at all and should have continued to develop its traditional links with the English speaking world - US, Canada, Australia etc.

As a Naval Officer I am well aware that our gretaest achievements during my career such as winning the cold war, the Falklands, Gulf war 1 etc were against a background of close bilateral co operation or through Atlantic institutions such as NATO. The EU had nothing to do with it. Until the UK recognises taht its true friends and family are unlikely to be found in Europe our decline is likely to continue.


TomTom, I'm afraid your conclusion is not quite correct. 79% of the US population lives in urban areas and 80% of the UK population lives in urban areas.

All of our inner cities are essentially crime-infested dead areas as well, at least compared to the suburbs. We also have an immigration problem, especially with low skilled illegal immigrants, and like the UK, our immigration problem can be attributed mostly to a single ethnic bloc (Hispanics in our case), the members of which have no desire to assimilate. The southwestern United States is commonly referred to as "Mexifornia" these days as a result, and one of our presidential candidates has referred to Miami as a third world country.

In other words, there's not as much difference between us as you think. Our leftists are working just as hard to destroy our sovereignty (through unrestrained, low-skilled immigration) as your leftists!

Simon Newman

"Simon Newman, why control for social status? It's precisely because our Muslims have a better social status (through better integration) that we have fewer problems."

I meant: if you statistically control for the higher median status (income/education/class) of Muslim American immigrants, they are arguably no better integrated than in UK. Although the main problem is arguably not with the immigrants per se but with the largely Saudi-funded radicalisation of the mosques in both UK and USA over the past 15 years, I saw an estimate that at least 80% of US mosques are now radicalised.

Simon Newman

"Simon's view America is idealized by what seems to me to be ego and prejudice. Its the BBC and Guardian mentality, skewed and with nationalism."

No, I love America, I'm married to an American from Tennessee, I've travelled a lot across the South and Southwest USA, and I hate (or at least strongly dislike) the BBC & Guardian!
But I think it would be foolish of anyone to deny that the USA has a serious problem of racial hostility, especially black-white hostility, made worse by the disastrous affirmative action policies since the 1960s. The attitudes of many US whites to the Katrina disaster was genuinely shocking to many Brits, and black hostility to whites also seems much higher than in the UK.

Of course this is not an immigration problem; the USA does now have an immigration problem with non-assimilating Hispanic immigrants but this is recent, dating from the 1986 amnesty and subsequent flood of illegal immigrants.


Simon, I'm not sure what you're getting at with your controls, exactly (if you control for socioeconomic status, I would guess that in general, our poor/uneducated engage in crime as much as your poor/uneducated), but I agree that Saudi interference is alarming.

I think the major problem with Britain (and the continent) is this idea of setting up government-sponsored central Muslim councils in the hope of influencing the Muslims and creating a European form of Islam. The American way, as with many other things, has been to encourage individualism and local solutions, which I believe are more helpful than a single central authority ruling from on high, which only plays to the Wahhabi model. It also essentially forces Muslims to conform to that single authority, which creates peer pressure. However, if each locale has its own interpretation, then competition will come into play; some radicals will of course gravitate to the most orthodox form of Islam, but I think many would prefer a more mild and permissive (and modern, if I may say) form. It is when the radicals bully the silent majority of moderates that these integration issues arise, and that cycle must be broken.

It's been said that Islam needs its own Reformation, and the undiplomatic conclusion by that analogy is that Islam is too much like the old Catholicism. When Muslims are given more freedom to make their religion personal, rather than listen to their imams' various fatwas and restrictions, that will have a moderating influence.

Simon Newman

"I think the major problem with Britain (and the continent) is this idea of setting up government-sponsored central Muslim councils in the hope of influencing the Muslims and creating a European form of Islam"

I certainly agree this is a problem, the (Wahhabist-Salafist) Muslim Brotherhood and other radicals are excellent at infiltrating at infiltrating and gaining control of such organisations, presenting a 'moderate' face to the government while working to radicalise the European Muslim populations (I think the British government finally noticed this re the Muslim Council of Britain a few months back).

I don't think the US is immune to this tendency though, qv the respect given to the Saudi-backed CAIR organisation.

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