I was very struck by the moving testimonies this week from Jewish survivors of the Kindertransport which saved their lives as they were plucked from Germany in 1938. I’m a great admirer of the way that Jewish immigrants settled into this country, and they should be a model for all immigrant groups.
One of them, who became a successful businessman, John Silbermann, born Manfred, put it well when he said: “What worries me is that at the moment we have an element of immigrants who want to change the country: keep your religion by all means, keep your identity, but don’t try to make the country conform to your standards. We all accepted Britain as it was. We didn’t try to change it. Our duty was to become British.”
This is the right balance. People of Muslim faith are very welcome here. Their religious devotion can be inspiring and their values in many cases preferable to those of an increasingly chaotic secularised Britain. But they need to want to become British and accept our British way of life and our tolerant, easy-going outward-looking attitudes.