Ethnic enclaves a fertile ground for radicalisation

It is not hard to see how someone could be radicalised.

In the past, immigrants to Britain chose to integrate.

We heard accounts of people changing their surnames to hide their German, Jewish or Polish roots, and adopting Anglicised names and western dress.

Some removed their turbans and cut their hair so as to find work. Muslim immigrants became vegetarian, as there was no halal food.

They learnt English and worked hard to feed their families.

When multiculturalism became more prevalent in the late 1990s, two things happened.

Residents in some areas moved en masse to other neighbourhoods to avoid being swamped by people of a "wrong" ethnicity.

This led to a vacuum, which was filled by new immigrants, resulting in monocultural ethnic and linguistic enclaves.

Women, in particular, did not learn to speak or read English, and instead became dependent on their husbands and community leaders in matters of marriage and politics, including their right to vote (by post).

Children did not have a chance to interact with families outside of their ethnic group because the schools were monocultural.

How, then, are they to learn "British ways"?

The isolation brought about by living in ethnic enclaves could provide fertile ground for radicalisation.

Lee Siew Peng (Dr)

London, UK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2017, with the headline 'Ethnic enclaves a fertile ground for radicalisation'. Print Edition | Subscribe