Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Thursday 30 June |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Gennaro Maria Sarnelli
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

British PM Cameron Lays Out Vision for Fighting Islamic Extremism In Heavily Muslim Birmingham



John Burger - published on 07/21/15 - updated on 06/08/17

Some Christians are already feeling the heat in England

The problem of growing Islamic extremism in Great Britain that Prime Minister David Cameron addressed in a speech Monday is responsible not only for sending British recruits to ISIS, but also fueling persecution of Christians at home. Speaking in Birmingham, where there is a significant Muslim population, Cameron pledged to tackle extremist ideology and "the failures of integration" which he said has led to hundreds of Britons joining the Islamic State group, according to the BBC:

Among a number of proposals, the PM promised to allow parents to have their children’s passports cancelled if they feared they were at risk.

He also pledged to look at social housing to prevent further segregation. …

Cameron set out four major areas that needed attention: countering the "warped" extremist ideology, the process of radicalisation, the "drowning out" of moderate Muslim voices, and the "identity crisis" among some British-born Muslims.

One of the communities most affected by the home-grown Islamism is the immigrant Pakistani Christian community. In many cases, the victims are going through a second persecution.

Take Stephen Anjum. He left his native Pakistan in a hurry in 2009, along with his wife, Thomasena, who was shot by members of the Taliban. According to Anjum, she recovered "miraculously."

The couple and their children sought asylum in the UK, but according to an acount he gave in an interview with Aleteia, it has been an uphill battle, beginning with his asylumn application. Anjum said the official of the Home Office who interviewed him was accompanied by two Muslim women who were being trained by the Home Office and ended up objecting to Anjum’s claims.

The family finally did win asylum status, though, but life in Birmingham, where they were assigned a place to live, has been challenging, to say the least. Living among Birmingham’s immigrant, largely Islamic, community, the Anjums have had to defend themselves and their children at almost every step of the way.

The latest was just a fortnight ago, when Anjum, who is diabetic, stepped outside his office on his lunchbreak to eat a banana and was soon accosted by two Muslim youths who virulently accused him of breaking the Ramadan fast.

The incident might be humorous were it not so common. The Anjums have been accused of desecrating a local mosque by placing their trash in a receptacle near the house of worship. Their children have faced threats in the local public school because their Muslim classmates believe they converted from Islam to Christianity (in fact, both the mother’s and father’s families have been Catholic for several generations), 

"We complained because a group in the school was trying to teach him Islam," Anjum said. "A group of teenage girls were always giving him religious books about Islam. … The children are so radicalized they don’t tolerate any Christian child in their environment. They believe conversion is a sin, so they were always bullying him."

Anjum said there are areas of Birmingham that are now considered "no-go areas for white people. If they go they smash their car windows. They say, ‘Why do you come here? This is our area.’

"My wife and I used to go there to buy Asian foods," he said. "We were scared to go there because sometimes she wears trousers, and one day there were two Muslim clerics on the road who said, ‘Why are you not wearing a scarf? Where is your burqa?"

One person who has been in a position to see what is happening also represents an immigrant Christian community in the UK, Bishop Angaelos, general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom. He notes that such persecution tends to affect Christian immigrants from Pakistan much more than those from Egypt or other parts of the Near East.

  • 1
  • 2
Islamist MilitantsUnited Kingdom
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.