Emmerson’s misstep an opportunity for self delusion.
By his inaccuracy, distortions, and exaggerations, however, Steven Emerson has provided a convenient and enjoyable distraction for his critics, an excuse for them to indulge in displacement activity, like mice that lick their paws when faced by a cat. It is easier to mock him than to suggest the correct way to deal with the threat of Islamism. It is easier and more fun for the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, to sue Fox News (for what, exactly?) than to improve life in the largely Muslim banlieue of Clichy-sous-Bois. Here is a resident’s testimonial to that suburb of Hidalgo’s city: “A piece of advice: come armed! What I like about Clichy-sous-Bois? No need to look for public toilets. They are under the sky, in the buildings. What don’t I like about Clichy-sous-Bois? What can I say . . . No, it would take too long. I’m going to vomit.”
Looking Away from Europe’s Muslim Problem
Steven Emerson, the expert on terrorism, has caused a sigh of relief among the bien pensantsof the Western world. By making inaccurate and false claims on Fox News, he has enabled them to pour righteous scorn on him and thereby avoid thinking about uncomfortable social realities.
Emerson claimed that Birmingham, the second-largest city in Britain, was “totally” Muslim. In the last census, in 2011, 21.8 percent of the city’s inhabitants said that they were Muslim. This percentage is likely to rise because of higher birth rates among Muslims, immigration, and the departure of white Christians. Residents of Birmingham who identified themselves as “white British” declined by 11 percent between 2001 and 2011, while the “white Irish” declined by 33 percent. The proportion of Christians would have decreased further had it not been for the arrival of Eastern Europeans. Meanwhile, the Muslim Pakistani and Bangladeshi populations increased over those ten years by 40 and 50 percent, respectively, and the Arab population rose to 1 percent from zero percent. Whether this matters, whether it fills you with joy or apprehension, or leaves you indifferent, depends upon your political outlook—and perhaps on where you live.
Since ethnic and religious groups are not scattered evenly throughout Birmingham, moreover, the population in some areas is overwhelmingly Muslim. Emerson referred to some of these areas as “no-go zones.” White women report being verbally abused there, as sluts ex officio as it were, though it would not be true to say that any of the areas are truly “no-go.” One, for example, is notable for its profusion of small, cheap, and good restaurants, patronized by the rest of the population. No part of Birmingham is as cut off from the rest of the city as are some of the banlieues of Paris. Physical (if not social) mixing of populations is evident.
In Britain, Muslim populations like those in Birmingham have relatively poor educational attainment and high rates of youth unemployment, crime, and imprisonment. This is not likely the result of discrimination, because Hindus and Sikhs, present also in large numbers, have lower rates of youth unemployment than whites and much lower levels of crime than whites. The Sikhs have the second-highest average household wealth when such wealth is broken down by religious affiliation. Sikh households are richer than Christian ones; Muslim households are much poorer. The causes of this disparity are a matter of speculation, and of course, group characteristics don’t apply to every individual.