"It was heartening to see the many different nationalities; Jamaican, Malaysian, Arab, Pakistani, English, Bengali and others at the gathering. This affirms a growing awareness of the need for a Muslim Community [i.e., ummah] devoid of ethnic, territorial, micro-religious or political divides."
–The Islamic Banner, July 1986
You might have noted that many non-Muslim commentators suggest (or hint) that it's a good thing that Muslims in the UK are less 'ethnic' than they used to be. Good for whom, exactly? Well, it's actually a bad thing for non-Muslims because it means that Muslims are more uniform and therefore more powerful and therefore politically dangerous. Indeed this is something that many younger Muslims, especially Islamists, stress.
The ummah is a dangerous thing. When you have Pakistani mosques and Bangladeshi mosques, or even Deobandi and Barelvi mosques, that is a good thing because there is disunity among Muslims. And that's precisely why Islamists, and other Muslims, stress the ummah. A larger and more uniform ummah will give Islamists more power. That is why they detest 'Muslim nationalism' and the 'un-Islamic' stress on Muslim ethnicity. (Though being politicians, Islamists, just like socialists/ communists historically, also sometimes use nationalism and ethnicity when they need to.)
Thus Islamists, and many young British Muslims, are like International Socialists ('progressives'/ communists/ Trotskyists) in that they downplay nationalism/ patriotism and the nation state itself. Islamists are hoping that an increase in the power of the ummah will increase the power of Islamism.
So non-Muslims shouldn't be at all impressed when Islamists and educated Western Muslims criticise what they call 'Bengali Islam' and call it 'superstitious'. It is of course younger Muslims who are less ethnic but more ummah-inspired. It is younger Muslims who are more likely to be Islamists than older ones. How, exactly, is that supposed to be a good thing for non-Muslims?
It is younger Muslims who are more likely to wear the niqab and burka than older ones. In fact hardly any older Bangladeshi or Pakistani Muslims, for example, wear the niqab and burka, though they do wear the hijab. The niqab and burka are effectively the uniforms of Islamism, not Islam. Far from burkas and niqabs being "traditional Islamic dress", they are quite new in origin. In fact, at least here in the UK, they only started to be worn on a frequent basis in the late 1990s or after.
To repeat: rather than the younger generation of Muslims being more moderate than the older generations, it would be easy to argue the opposite case. For example, the infamous East London Mosque, during Ramadan, was attracting between 4,000 and 5,000 people every day in 2009, many of them young. In other words, Islamist groups are doing their best to increase 'Islamic identity' amongst the young in Tower Hamlets and elsewhere. As I said, when the ethnic identity of Muslims was primary in the UK, the threat of Islamic extremism was much less. Now 'Islamist universalism' is a major tune for young Muslims, extremism is increasing and, inevitably, so too will violence and the threat of Islamic terrorism.
To put all this in basic terms: if you look around the word, wherever Islamists are strong and have large numbers, there is political violence, intimidation and threats towards gays, Christians, non-Muslim women, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews. The recent 'Muslim patrols' in London have just been the most obvious and media-focused aspect of the Islamisation of large parts of London and elsewhere. Other aspects of London's Islamisation have been the closing down of gay bars, 'white flight', the intimidation of drinkers, night-clubbers, women and so on.
And don't be fooled by the increase of Islamic 'peace' conferences either. Islamic peace is something very specific. It is brought about to the degree in which more people become Muslims and embrace sharia law. In other words, Islamic peace will come about when, for example, the whole of Tower Hamlets – and ultimately the entire world – 'submits to Allah'. That is the 'peace' Muslims are referring to.
Take this example: the Baitul Futuh ('House of Victories') Mosque in Morden once acted as the centre for what it called the "Loyalty, Freedom and Peace Campaign". Here again they are talking about Islamic loyalty, Islamic freedom and Islamic peace: not freedom and peace as they are usually understood in the non-Muslim West. In other words, a loyalty, freedom and peace which can only be brought about when an area – or state, or the entire world – embraces sharia law. The truth is that Islamic peace is "the peace of the grave", at least for non-Muslims.