The Corner

British Muslims

Spent this afternoon with my favorite aunt & uncle. They live in the Witton

district of Birmingham (large city in the English Midlands). This district

is pretty solidly Muslim — Pakistani & some Bangladeshis, plus 2nd & 3rd

generations.

My aunt speaks well of the local Muslims. There is one old fellow she

particularly likes. He disappeared for a few weeks. When she next saw him,

she asked if he’d been back to Pakistan for a visit. No, he said, he’d been

to Mecca to do the haj (= pilgrimage, a duty of every pious Muslim). My

aunt asked him what the experience was like. The old fellow frowned and

shook his head. “There was a lot of trouble.” Trouble? What kind of

trouble? “The young men. They made so much trouble. Spoiled it for the

rest of us…”

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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