Islamic London: “Run, Hide, Tell”

The Muslim presence is implicit in the intense, pervasive, and depressing security measures installed against jihadi threats of violence.
The Muslim presence is implicit in the intense, pervasive, and depressing security measures installed against jihadi threats of violence.

To understand the development of Islam in Western countries, I make a habit of visiting Muslim-majority areas such as Lakemba in Australia, Lodi in California, and Lunel in France. But London, England, is unique in the extent of its Islamic impress.

Muslim-majority areas typically consist of poor, unattractive housing projects, remote from the city center, which long ago were abandoned by their original indigenous, working-class populations. They often feature men sitting around cafes and women cooped up at home. They suffer from a range of social pathologies, including unemployment, criminal gangs, and drug-trafficking.

London too has such areas, and they are very large; but what makes the English capital unique is the intense Muslim presence in the very most central and expensive parts of the city, where Muslims do not constitute a majority. This presence takes two main forms.

First, there’s the posh Muslim element. According to a CBRE study, Middle Easterners invested over $4.2 billion in London commercial real estate in 2015 (the most recent full year with statistics); this money tends to go into high-profile properties such as the Shard, the city’s tallest building; Harrods, its most glamorous department store; Claridge’s, its most luxurious hotel; and purchasing the former U.S. embassy building.

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See Also:

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(2) May at Bay, Part II

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