Community service, a good condition for UK citizenship?

It seems that UK is becoming less and less welcoming of new immigrants . In the past, people used to come and settle just by having a passport. Now visa has become the major obstacle to get in, at least for tourism. The conditions for granting citizenship can put more obstacles for those aspiring for UK citizenship. Among these is language test. It seems like a high school graduate who has to take entry test in a college or university to have a seat in it. This can prove difficult to some, especially at an advanced age to acquire a new language. Not everyone has language aptitude. It also remains to know what level of language aspiring immigrants for citizenship should have: ABC, intermediate or advanced. The question that remains to ask if those granted citizenship on the basis of language will be stripped of it if found unable to speak it again!

Concerning community service, it can be laudable as it introduces immigrants to the ways of life in UK, mingling with its citizens. It remains to see what help those performing this service can get from their surrounding and if it actually helps for integration. An analogy can be made with someone learning to drive and ending by getting a driving license. Does this mean this person will abide by the driving rules every mile? Will the new citizens be stripped of their citizenship if found out to have forgotten English and not be able to speak a word of it?

Community service and language can be just a formality added to the already existing bureaucratic conditions for full citizenship. What matters is what will happen after getting it and the opportunity the immigrants can get after they have become full citizens. Will they abide by the rules and be good citizens or will the abuse their citizenship to become an embarrassment to British society?

What UK needs to work hard on is to find ways to integrate minorities, especially the Muslim one, instead of allowing it to be transformed into a ghetto breeding extremists because the country where they live appears to them as a strange land or just a ground for practicing their perception of jihad. When society is cleaned of its ails, new citizens will find it natural to integrate in its mainstream. Citizenship is a matter of heart and mind. Getting into the mind and heart of all citizens is what secures the identity, security and integration of a country.

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3 Comments

  1. Bunc said,

    March 2, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Hi Abdelilah,
    I live in the UK and I think that the responsibility for achieving harmonious integration lies on both sides – the state and immigrants – but probably more on the latter. I would expect to have to learn the language of a country if I moved there permanently. I would hope that the state and its people were welcoming but I would expect to have to make much effort myself to learn their language and culture.
    In Britain we are generally very tolerant people. Some of the tension has come from a minority of Muslims who appear to be demanding that the whole country changes its cultural practices to fit their beliefs. Some even suggest that in the future they want us to live under Sharia law.
    That would be like me coming to Morocco and demanding that every village must have a pub and that everyone must drink alcohol on a friday night! ( yes – its a bit like that where I live!)
    I am a strong believer that the internet has a useful role in allowing people from different cultures to express views to each other. Often what you find is that there is a much wider range of views within each culture than the media sometimes credits.

    Anyway – good blog.

  2. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    March 2, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Hi Bunc,
    Thanks for your comment. I agree with what you say. I think citizenship of a country should be a matter of the heart and mind. One should seek the citizenship of a country for the love of it and not just to better one’s living standards.
    I must admit your blog is richer than mire. It has very interesting topics.

  3. Bunc said,

    March 2, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    I sometimes think mine is too mixed up ( probably a bit like my brain) Yours has strength in focussing on a particular niche ( ie world have your say) and I really like that.


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