Public exposés of hidden spaces where diasporic Muslims allegedly enunciate extreme anti-Western rhetoric or plot sedition highlight an ironic shift from a time, analyzed in my earlier work, when the Pakistani diasporic public sphere in Britain was invisible and local while nevertheless being regarded as relatively benign: a space of expressive rhetoric, ceremonial celebration and local power struggles. Suicide bombings on the London underground and revelations of aborted conspiracies have led to a national media debate in which Muslim “community ” leaders for the first time have come to be active participants. They respond to accusations by politicians and journalists that multicultural tolerance has “failed” in Britain, and that national Muslim organizations are the prime cause of this alleged failure. Addressing this “failure of multiculturalism” discourse, the chapter questions, first, whether talk of multiculturalism in the UK is really about “culture” at all. Second, it explores why Muslim integration into Britain—the so-called success or failure of multiculturalism—has come to be “tested” by Muslim national leaders’ willingness to attend Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations. The public dialogue reflecting on these issues in the mainstream and ethnic press, the chapter proposes, highlights a signal development in the history of the UK Muslim diasporic public sphere: from being hidden and local to being highly visible and national, responsive to British politicians, investigative journalists and the wider British public.
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