Non-whites outnumber Whites in London schools
British Home Secretary David Blunkett wants Islamic preachers in the country to learn English to help combat the ?clash of cultures? suffered by young British Muslims.
He said that this would be in the interest of race relations, because teachers and community leaders shape youngsters? minds and help them identify with the country of their adoption.
He praised the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh communities in Britain, who have supported local schemes but he regretted that in France, 60 per cent of the Muslim preachers could not speak that country'slanguage. He desired that Britain should not ?go down the same road.?
During the annual Heslington Lecture at York University on Religion'sPlace in Modern Society, he said: ?It is a worrying trend that young, second-generation British Muslims are more likely than their parents to feel that they have to choose between feeling a part of the UK and of their faith, when, in fact, they should feel a part of the wider, overlapping communities.
?The issue here is identity?whether people identify with the actual world in which they live, or with another world they are taught about, which offers the absolute certainties that day-to-day interaction can never do.?
Blunkett said that religious leaders who were in a position to shape the worldview of young people were in a position to help them relate to the world in which they live, rather than turning them away from it.
?This is absolutely central not only for development of the Muslim community itself and for the life chances of young Muslims, but also has a wider impact on social cohesion and race relations,? he added.
Blunkett insisted that he was not calling on faith groups to become involved in politics. ?I simply want all of us to recognise that in an increasingly complex, connected world we all share the challenge to find solutions to our common problems.?
It'sofficial?Non-white children will soon constitute the majority in London'sschools as the population shifts transform the composition of Britain'scapital.
Official figures show that the proportion of Whites living in London fell by almost 8 per cent during the 1990s because of an influx of new residents.
In a decade of unprecedented demographical change, a large number of Africans, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans arrived in this fastest-growing city of Western Europe.
The city'soverall population rose from 282,000 to 7.17 million in 2001, thereby straining public services and the transport network.
The number of people from ethnic minorities rose from 1.3 million to more than two million, or 28.8 per cent.
Over the same period, the trend of ?White flight? appeared to gather pace, with the White population dropping by 390,000.
In Newham and Brent, ethnic minority groups outnumber the Whites, who compose 90 per cent or more of the population in four of London's33 boroughs?Havering, Bromley, Bexley and Richmond.
The demographic shift is most pronounced in the younger age groups, with 47 per cent of the children in London schools coming from ethnic minorities.
Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, said that the city'sdiversity was a source of economic and cultural dynamism. ?London'sprosperity is totally dependent upon the international flow of goods, services and people. That is why its population is increasingly diverse.
?Our polls show that nearly eight out of 10 Londoners consider the city'scultural diversity as one of its most attractive features,? he said.
The trend indicates that black Africans will shortly outnumber the Indians (437,000) as the largest ethnic group in the city.
Over the period, the number of Bangladeshis has risen by nearly three-quarters and Pakistanis by more than half, while the much smaller South American community has trebled.
A total of 58 per cent of Londoners describe themselves as Christians, 8.5 per cent (607,000) as Muslims, 4 per cent (292,000) as Hindus, 2.1 per cent (150,000) as Jewish and 1.5 per cent (104,000) as Sikhs.
Till the early 1980s, the capital'spopulation had begun to decline somewhat as the Londoners had taken to swapping the city life for the suburbs.
Liverpool, Leeds and Bristol are the only large cities with an ethnic minority below the English average of 9 per cent. Slough, Leicester, Birmingham and Luton have more than three times the average.