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June 19, 2014


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I was in Germany in 1980 and saw halal fast food shops for the first time. I saw no such thing in London at that time though less that a decade later I lived in a homeless hostel in central London where some of the patrons were starting to demand halal sausages and there were the anti Rushdie protests in Parliament Sq too. By 1990 old buildings were being converted into mosques in east London where I lived. This change happened under Thatcher’s watch as you say. It was happening (like most change) long before people bothered to notice it. I presume the Iranian revolution and the Russians going into Afghanistan (both in 79) played a big part the rise of political islam in europe over the next decade? Interesting to hear of Thatcher proposing an Islamic school. Was it when she was Education Secretary in the early 70s? I remember being driven through Knightsbridge on a sunny day in July 74 and seeing many middle eastern men in full ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ dress. I suppose the Saudi oil money came over first and the religion came after.

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