As a result of the “color revolutions” initiated in a number of African and Arab countries by the United States, as well as the military intervention in Libya, Iraq and Syria, in the last decade there has been a significant increase in the flow of illegal migration to Europe from the African and Middle East countries. Most of these migrants have been trying to enter the territory of the United Kingdom.
For instance, only in the last few days about two thousand migrants have tried to break into the tunnel under the English Channel from the French side and cross over to the UK illegally. Now, on the whole, some 10 thousand people have settled close to the tunnel wishing to move to the United Kingdom. However, for the British Prime Minister David Cameron, the desperate migrants are not more than “crowds” in search of benefits.
Fleeing in panic from the massacres and armed conflicts at home, these migrants count on protection and a life of dignity in the British Kingdom that has been promoting “the advantages of its democracy” all over the world.
But what actually awaits these migrants in the UK and how does it hold itself out in relations with other religions, races, including citizens of African descent and ethnic minorities?
According to the British newspaper, The Telegraph, over the 12-month period in 2014, the UK faced a 43% increase in the number of registered immigrants alone, whose number has reached 260,000 people. Even today, immigrants in this country account for about 10% of population, including a large number from Africa as well as Muslims. Under these circumstances, the issue of relations with people of other races and religions has become a matter of special significance for the UK.
Research conducted by a variety of British institutions and organizations also confirmed strong changes that have been in process in recent years, in the representation of various ethnic minorities and races in the national society of the Kingdom. Thus, according to the forecasts of the UK College of Policing, by 2026, 16% of the population of England and Wales will be representatives of ethnic minorities, which puts forward the task for the next 10 years to recruit 17,000 persons of African descent and other ethnic minorities in the police force to achieve proportional representation in the police of this population living in the UK.
This becomes especially important, given the recent statement made, in the course of filming a documentary for the BBC TV channel, by the head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, that the current Scotland Yard is a racist organization. This assessment is confirmed in the report published by the British Institute of Race Relations, which emphasizes that during the last two decades, more than 500 people of African descent and other ethnic minorities in the UK have died under suspicious circumstances after detention by the police. For instance, since 1991, 348 of the 509 deaths of people of African descent and other ethnic minorities occurred in prison, 137 cases – in police stations and 24 –during the detention of illegal migrants. As the authors of the study note, not a single official of the kingdom has been brought to justice for the deaths of these people, but in the cases of many deaths, the police usually did not even initiate criminal cases.
After publications appeared in the kingdom’s independent media, on xenophobia in the law enforcement agencies of the country, the Metropolitan Police conducted an investigation into the use of a secret online police forum spreading racist views about ethnic groups. Justifying themselves before the population of the country, the spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said that in April this year, Scotland Yard’s Directorate of Professional Standards had been interested in the commentary published in one of the groups on Facebook. In June this year, following complaints of representatives of the Traveller Movement (which is a nomadic group of people of Irish origin living in Ireland, the UK and the US and leading a gypsy lifestyle), an internal investigation was conducted that confirmed the involvement of British policemen in openly racist comments.
After the high-profile terrorist attacks in Paris, Sydney and Copenhagen last year, as well as an attack on Charlie Hebdo’s Editors Office in Paris, the number of attacks against Muslims in Britain has quadrupled. Thus, according to a study of the Teesside University, not only the UK adults, but even children from the age of 10 are increasingly committing racist antics against Muslims. According to Tell Mama organization’s information previously announced by Interior Minister, Theresa May, from March 2014 to February 2015, 548 cases of racist behavior against Muslims were reported, including threats on the Internet, proliferation of anti-Islamic literature, street assaults and beatings. Victims of the attacks for the reasons of hatred towards Muslims are especially often women dressed in traditional Muslim clothing.
In general, as revealed during a survey conducted by YouGov public opinion firm on request of Islamic Relief charity organization, many Britons directly associate Islam with terrorism. The researchers also noted an increase in the discontent due to the number of refugees arriving in the country, while 42% of respondents said that Britain should not accept foreign nationals fleeing war or persecution. 47% of respondents said that the religion of refugees from Syria and other countries in the Middle East is the defining factor in shaping a negative attitude towards them. As the representative of Islamic Relief organization Jehangir Malik said: “The results of this survey are very disturbing as they suggest that the public attitude towards Muslims is extremely negative, and the attitude towards refugees is very severe.”
However, racial intolerance in British society that has not been curtailed by the current conservative government of the country expresses itself not only in the growth of xenophobia against migrants from Africa and the Muslims. According to Community Security Trust charity organization, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK has grown by more than 50% compared to the previous year. 44 of 473 cases reported from January to June this year were violent attacks and two incidents were particularly brutal. Commenting on the statistics of cases of anti-Semitism, the Interior Minister Theresa May confirmed that she knew that “many Jews in this country are concerned about safety in their community.”
Valery Kulikov, political analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.