In a post below where I allude to a religious riot on the part of Sikhs in the UK, a commenter observes:
I am in no way excusing the Sikhs here for what happened, especially in regards to the damage to the center but British Sikhs as a group in the UK have delinquency and crime levels on par with the white British last I checked so it’s not like British Sikhs as a whole are disproportionately criminal.
This brings up the “problem of minorities,” and how we need to disaggregate the issues. Consider the British Pakistanis and British Afro-Carribean communities. Both of these communities have problems correlated with lower socioeconomic status. But the two communities exhibit very different “threats” to the British order, at least potentially. The Afro-Carribean community intermarries a great deal with the majority population, while the Pakistani community less so. To a great extent the difficulties of the Afro-Carribean community can be attributed to racial issues as well as the general problems of the British lower middle class as it transitions to a knowledge-based global economy. The problem with Pakistanis is similar, but there are also different dimensions.
To my knowledge black nationalism among Afro-Carribeans is very weak in the UK, as reflected in the extremely high intermarriage rates. There are problems with the community in terms of social pathologies like crime and destabilized family units, but these are acknowledged to be problems which must be overcome. The difference with British Muslims is that some of them present a different positive vision of the Good Society, at variance with of the majority of Britons.
Some of the same is evident among the Sikhs of Britain. They may not be explicitly oppositional to the British majority by and large as a minority of British Muslims are, but many of them espouse values which are very alien to the modern British mainstream. Here is a quote from about 5 years back:
The sold-out run of Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s play, drama Behzti, or Dishonour, which depicts murder and rape scenes taking place in a Sikh temple, has been cancelled after violent protests by Sikhs in Birmingham, England. The play will not be shown again. Welcoming the decision, a representative from a local Sikh temple, Mohan Singh, chastised the theatre for not heeding the warnings of Sikh leaders. He contended that free speech was not at issue. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham is quoted as saying, “Such a deliberate, even if fictional, violation of the sacred place of the Sikh religion demeans the sacred places of every religion.”
Mohan Singh, from the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in south Birmingham, also welcomed the decision, but said it had come a week too late.
“Free speech can go so far. Maybe 5,000 people would have seen this play over the run,” he said.
“Are you going to upset 600,000 thousands Sikhs in Britain and maybe 20 million outside the UK for that?”
There are plenty of similar quotes in regards to free speech which came out of that episode. Singh’s argument is totally coherent, and is a “good fit” with the norms in much of the world in regards to religious sensitivity in speech. But, it is somewhat out of step with contemporary Western norms, though not earlier Western norms. A violent communal response to speech which offends religious sensibility is an Islamic and South Asian norm. It is not viewed as deviant or criminal in these societies, but an appropriate communal response to offense.
This is a conflict of visions or values. The main problem I see in the modern West is that the ideology of multiculturalism has pushed back to the implicit background the values which characterize the Western world as it is today. Many non-Westerners, or those who identify with non-Western societies, have no such hang-ups. They are proud of African or Asian values, or wish to aim for an “Islamic society.” The most vocal champions of singular Western values are actually cultural conservatives, further discouraging liberal Westerners from espousing a positive moral vision of society (as opposed to a laundry list of social goods).