Having just spent some time reading a white supremacist site in the USA (see http://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/www.stormfront.org#1) I moved across the Atlantic to England and across some political and intellectual divides to visit spittoon.org, a vulgar name for a more than usually intellectual social democratic political blog, currently tackling the issues of Islamic extremism and relationships between the muslim world and the UK.
Visiting readers from elsewhere may not recognize the names of major political players, and may be coming fresh to British multicultural tensions and political manoeuvrings, but it doesn't take long to get a feel for what the blog writers represent and how these issues are playing out.
I was prompted to write about this one by a comment made to me today over a coffee with an American who, although very widely traveled in the world, had never made it to England. His imagination of a country that didn't experience politicized racial and religious extremism was well wide of the mark, as most Americans seem to be when the subject of western Europe in general comes around, and I think this would be as good a place as any to point him to, to correct the misconception.
Take the time to read around a few of the major categories here, and you'll come away feeling like you've been in a war zone. An intellectual one, to be sure, no blood spilled, but the tensions are no less real for that. It's a narrow and highly focused viewpoint too, so you might want to seek a more balanced opinion elsewhere. But the conclusion that England faces turbulent times in its urban communities is inevitable, and the participants are already choosing sides. Those who don't, like the politician who cited the right to free speech as a reason to avoid taking any position at all, are going to run the risk of being swept away.