Whether or not David Cameron, who has been doing his best impression of a Chimera, was thinking of "Muslim ghettoes" in his recent conference speech when he mentioned 'cohesion', this is what London's Evening Standard has picked up on. This is what they ran with, both as a headline on their front page (to your left) and in their reporting (the headline also appeared on the front of the free recycling paper they give out across London marked Standard Lite):
"David Cameron today vowed to break up Muslim ghettos in Britain's cities [...] The Tory leader said Islamic schools should in future admit a quarter of their pupils from other faiths. And he said that housing estates should be planned to avoid creating isolated communities."
I've had a read through the speech. Here is the relevant part (parapgraphs collapsed):
"The Cantle Report into the riots in our northern cities in 2001 talked about many communities living "parallel lives." Communities where people from different ethnic origins never meet, never talk, never go into each others' homes. Ultimately, it is an emotional connection that binds a country together. Sympathy for people you don't even know, and who may be very different to you. It is by contact that we overcome our differences - and realise that though our origins and our cultures may vary, we all share common values. The most basic contact comes from talking to each other. So we must make sure that new immigrants learn to speak English. And one of the most important ways we make connections with people is at school. So let me face head-on the question of faith schools. I know that people feel strongly about this issue.So do I. I support faith schools. Many parents want to send their children to them, and trust their judgment. All faiths want them. And let us say, clearly, that Islam is one of the great religions of the world, and that British Muslims make a fantastic contribution to our country. Today, a new generation of Muslim schools is emerging. If these schools are to be British state schools, they must be part of our society, not separate from it. The Cantle Report recommended that faith schools admit a proportion of pupils from other faiths. Only this week the Church of England said it would implement this recommendation in all new church schools it creates admitting a quarter of pupils from non-Anglican backgrounds. That is a great example of what I mean by social responsibility. The Church deciding to take responsibility for community cohesion. Society - not the state. I believe the time has come for other faith groups to show similar social responsibility. And if we are to bring our society together, then schools - all schools must teach children that wherever they come from, if they are British citizens, they are inheritors of a British birthright."
Cameron doesn't mention "Muslim ghettoes", but does talk about the Cantle Report into the riots in the summer of 2001, between gangs of Asian and white youths, and the police. Maybe he was thinking about (only?) Muslims when he talked about "parallel lives"? (Osama Saeed does not have a high opinion of him when it comes to his views on Muslims.) It is not clear from his words that he was thinking this, and all he seems to have done is repeat what the Cantle Report concluded, couched in the usually Conservative rhetoric about responsibility and society. Of more concern is the patronising, almost hypocritical, tone he adopts with regards to 'community integration'. Afterall, I doubt he'll be asking suburbanites to decamp from their middle class, leafy, ghettoes and let their children play with kids from council estates. And I doubt he's going to tell private schools to take on a certain percentage of children from deprived areas and so aid 'community cohesion' (not that I disagree with asking all state-funded schools to open their doors a little wider). And I wonder how many friends from lower down the class ladder a blue-blooded Old Etonian has? In any case, I do not see any animosity expressed by Cameron towards Muslims, per se. His speech was standard party conference verbal ornamentation.
What is of more concern is the Evening Standard's spin and coverage when it comes to any story involving the word 'Muslim'. They've obviously extrapolated something about "Muslim ghettoes" from Cameron's words. But we shouldn't be surprised. Don't forget this is the same rag that tried to smear a perfectly respectable west London bookshop run by Muslims, claiming it sold literature encouraging terrorism. The Standard published a picture of their shop together with their telephone number; after which the shop owners began receiving abusive calls and personal threats. Alas, no Champions of Free Speech came to their rescue or stood for their right to say what they want (even if they never actually said what they were accused of). The snivelling cowards at the Standard also engaged in a cheap hatchet job on Tariq Ramadan. The animosity towards Muslims of the current editorial staff at the Evening Standard is clear enough.
Incidentally, I'm sure David Cameron will be making an appearance on the Dhummies website for calling Islam a "great religion".