DOREEN WACHMANN COLUMN
Segregation keeps us from a culture of sex and booze

PRIME Minister David Cameron ended his speech last week on tackling Muslim extremism with a reference to his visit to Birmingham's King David School.

He praised the fact that a majority of the pupils are from faith backgrounds.

In fact, a majority of the pupils in the Midlands' only Jewish school are not Jewish but Muslim.

This fact must certainly have heartened the PM, part of whose theme in his hard-hitting speech was to try to eliminate segregation.

The situation in Birmingham is mirrored in Liverpool and Glasgow where King David and Calderwood Lodge schools have had to admit non-Jewish pupils in order to keep them going in their dwindling communities.

It certainly works well for race relations as Muslim pupils wave Israeli flags and celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut in exchange for the privilege of gaining the schools' high academic education and kosher/halal meals.

But it is not how the schools were intended to be.

Cameron has been praised by the Jewish community for his speech because of its accent on fighting antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

But the government's fight against segregation could have negative repercussions on the Jewish community.

The PM said: "It cannot be right that people can grow up and go to school and hardly ever come into meaningful contact with people from other backgrounds and other faiths."

Such is the situation in many Jewish areas of London, Manchester and Gateshead.

But Orthodox Jews don't become suicide bombers.

Jews in this country have tried assimilation, only to see our numbers haemorrhaging away in the first half of the 20th century until the growth of charedi Judaism began to reverse the trend.

A certain amount of segregation is necessary in order to maintain our identity so that we do not become lost in the sex and drink-mad British culture.

Cameron said that British values are so great that he could "impose" them on everyone.

Many British values like fair play, courtesy and respect for law and order are wonderful and are enshrined in law.

But there are other aspects of contemporary British life, like the drunken scenes in city centres any night of the week, which are less exemplary.

The swing to the right in both Muslim and Orthodox Jewish societies is partly a reaction against the total lack of sexual morality of British opinion-makers.

But let's make it abundantly clear, extremism in areas of sexual morality and preservation of one's religious values do not automatically equal political extremism which wants to murder everyone who does not share one's beliefs.

Orthodox Jews want to preserve their heritage and feel that the best way they can do that is by living in a totally Jewish atmosphere.

Although they may live in their own little - but currently rapidly expanding - bubbles, they mean no harm to the rest of the world with whom they maintain cordial relations.

We are not a missionary religion. We do not aim at world domination, although we hope that the way we live our lives will set an example to be a light unto the nations.

In combating all forms of extremism - social and political - the government, even with the best of intentions, is in danger of eroding faith communities by seeking to break down social segregation.

People naturally want to live with those from similar backgrounds, whose religion and customs they share.

They want to feel they belong to small communities rather than to be lost in a lonely crowd.

They want to live near their synagogues and mosques, kosher and halal shops.

They also want schools which will inculcate their religious values to the next generation.

Since the Birmingham Trojan Horse scandal, Jewish schools have been negatively affected by surprise Ofsted inspections which have uniformly targeted all faith schools, regardless of whether they espouse political extremism or the more benign segregationist variety.

Chief Rabbi of Moscow Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmit warned last week that the threat to European freedoms in Europe could be worse even than terrorist extremism.

He said: "As many across Europe are becoming increasingly sceptical of religious extremism they have reacted with a broadside attack against religion, with wave after wave of attack on our religious freedoms."

Let us hope that the government's laudatory steps to combat terrorist extremism do not make it harder for Jewish communities in this country to maintain their own identities, even if they be, as they predominantly are, in segregated areas.pupils in the Midlands' only Jewish school are not Jewish but Muslim.

This fact must certainly have heartened the PM, part of whose theme in his hard-hitting speech was to try to eliminate segregation.

The situation in Birmingham is mirrored in Liverpool and Glasgow where King David and Calderwood Lodge schools have had to admit non-Jewish pupils in order to keep them going in their dwindling communities.

It certainly works well for race relations as Muslim pupils wave Israeli flags and celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut in exchange for the privilege of gaining the schools' high academic education and kosher/halal meals.

But it is not how the schools were intended to be.

Cameron has been praised by the Jewish community for his speech because of its accent on fighting antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

But the government's fight against segregation could have negative repercussions on the Jewish community.

The PM said: "It cannot be right that people can grow up and go to school and hardly ever come into meaningful contact with people from other backgrounds and other faiths."

Such is the situation in many Jewish areas of London, Manchester and Gateshead.

But Orthodox Jews don't become suicide bombers.

Jews in this country have tried assimilation, only to see our numbers haemorrhaging away in the first half of the 20th century until the growth of charedi Judaism began to reverse the trend.

A certain amount of segregation is necessary in order to maintain our identity so that we do not become lost in the sex and drink-mad British culture.

Cameron said that British values are so great that he could "impose" them on everyone.

Many British values like fair play, courtesy and respect for law and order are wonderful and are enshrined in law.

But there are other aspects of contemporary British life, like the drunken scenes in city centres any night of the week, which are less exemplary.

The swing to the right in both Muslim and Orthodox Jewish societies is partly a reaction against the total lack of sexual morality of British opinion-makers.

But let's make it abundantly clear, extremism in areas of sexual morality and preservation of one's religious values do not automatically equal political extremism which wants to murder everyone who does not share one's beliefs.

Orthodox Jews want to preserve their heritage and feel that the best way they can do that is by living in a totally Jewish atmosphere.

Although they may live in their own little - but currently rapidly expanding - bubbles, they mean no harm to the rest of the world with whom they maintain cordial relations.

We are not a missionary religion. We do not aim at world domination, although we hope that the way we live our lives will set an example to be a light unto the nations.

In combating all forms of extremism - social and political - the government, even with the best of intentions, is in danger of eroding faith communities by seeking to break down social segregation.

People naturally want to live with those from similar backgrounds, whose religion and customs they share.

They want to feel they belong to small communities rather than to be lost in a lonely crowd.

They want to live near their synagogues and mosques, kosher and halal shops.

They also want schools which will inculcate their religious values to the next generation.

Since the Birmingham Trojan Horse scandal, Jewish schools have been negatively affected by surprise Ofsted inspections which have uniformly targeted all faith schools, regardless of whether they espouse political extremism or the more benign segregationist variety.

Chief Rabbi of Moscow Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt warned last week that the threat to European freedoms in Europe could be worse even than terrorist extremism.

He said: "As many across Europe are becoming increasingly sceptical of religious extremism they have reacted with a broadside attack against religion, with wave after wave of attack on our religious freedoms."

Let us hope that the government's laudatory steps to combat terrorist extremism do not make it harder for Jewish communities in this country to maintain their own identities, even if they be, as they predominantly are, in segregated areas.

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