The vicar’s understanding of the tragic world of Muslim girls living in British slums, caught between two cultures and belonging fully to neither, possessing little power to determine their own fates, seems to me to be equally accurate. Indeed, he explores this world with considerable subtlety as well as sympathy.
The girls are vastly superior, morally and intellectually, to their white counterparts. Their problem is precisely the opposite of that of the white youths: far from nihilism, it is the belief in a code of ethics and conduct so rigid that it makes no allowances for the fact that the girls have grown up and must live in a country with a very different culture from that of the country in which their parents grew up. In the eyes of their parents, the girls are easily infected with, or corrupted by, the dream of personal freedom, and since the only result of such personal freedom that the parents see around them is the utter disintegration of the white working class into fecklessness and slovenly criminality, where every child is a bastard and families are kaleidoscopic in their swiftly changing composition, they become even more rigidly conservative than they might otherwise have been. They cling to what they know, as to a plank in a storm at sea.