I thought the avocado looked good, and a better price than Tesco so I went into a Muslim owned Green Grocers in the Cowley Road. Inside the dark interior I stood at the counter behind an old Muslim man with a long beard who was having trouble with a credit card machine. I waited patiently puzzling over the shelves of exotic veg some of them covered in dust apparently mouldering away.
The young male shop keeper decided to go ahead and serve me, as I was paying with cash but then a young man came in and stood in the queue behind me. He immediately moved to serve that man while I became invisible.
‘Excuse me,’ I said in my proper English voice and he reluctantly turned back to me, but after I’d paid he didn’t hand me the fruit which went on sitting by the till. I had to ask him to hand it to me. He held it up on the tips of his fingers passing it to me in a silly rather contemptuous way.
I left the shop feeling the bewildered dismay that comes to anyone who knows they have just suffered discrimination. It was that kind of low-level hostility which encouraged me to move away from my former home in Acton, West London. Living there all the local shops were owned by Muslims, the tills manned by youths mostly talking into their mobiles. There is a lot more choice of shops locally in Oxford, but the Cowley Road is a Muslim enclave, part of the ever moving Caliphate.
We are constantly told that Muslims are good citizens and feel hurt and alienated because they are not regarded as British. The BBC tells us, repeatedly, that there is no prejudice against women in the Koran. However it is written, unfortunately that is not the reality for most Muslims.
Years ago when I worked for a national newspaper I used a cab company owned by a Cockney family. They would tell me stories about their staff, our staff and other passengers. One driver told me they’d got a lot of trouble with one of their Muslim drivers. He not only had to pray four times a day but had left an elderly lady on the pavement with all her bags, refusing to help her take them to her door as they always did, because he’d got a call to go to the airport to pick up a male client.
‘But a man always goes before a woman,’ he explained.
He kept his job because the British are pathologically tolerant.