Rupert Murdoch took to twitter to comment on the outgoing chief rabbis' interview in The Times newspaper (£) on Monday tweeting "societies have to integrate. Muslims find it hardest."
In his last interview before leaving his post as chief rabbi after 22 years, Sacks told The Times newspaper that multiculturalism had "had its day" and "the real danger in a multicultural society is that every ethnic group and religious group becomes a pressure group, putting our people's interest instead of the national interest".
Lord Sacks also offered advice to Muslims on how best to integrate by learning from the Jewish example, saying,
"The lessons are - number one, you don't try to impose your views on the majority population. Number two, you have to be what I call bilingual, you know you are Jewish and you're English… because it forces you to realize that actually society and life is complicated. It mustn't and can't be simplified. Number three, there are times when it's uncomfortable, when you realize there is such a thing as anti-Semitism. [Being] a minority isn't always fun."
Commenting on Lords Sacks' reflections, Murdoch tweeted, "Good for UK Chief Rabbi Sacks! 'Let's put multiculturalism behind us'. Societies have to integrate. Muslims find it hardest."
Murdoch's views are not surprising given stories that have been published in titles owned by News International which perpetuate the myth that Muslims are poorly integrated in Britain.
In the Gallup Coexist Index 2009, which analysed Muslim integration in Britain, France and Germany, British Muslims' loyalty to national identity and trust in national public institutions were found to score higher than the rest of the population and contrasted sharply with images often presented of Muslims as separatist and disloyal.
The Executive Director and Senior Analyst of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, Dalia Mogahed, in an article for the Guardian Comment is Free wrote at the time:
"While Muslims in three European countries are indeed highly religious and socially conservative, this neither leads to a sympathy for terrorist acts, a desire to isolate nor a lack of national loyalty."
She added: "...while the discourse continues to obsess over the moral conservatism of Muslim communities, British Muslims strongly identify with their nation and are eager to contribute to the national good."
These findings are reinforced up by a 2011 study by Manchester University which analysed the data from almost 25,000 respondents from the 2005 and 2007 Citizenship Surveys run by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The results showed that "multiculturalism is associated with strengthening the ties between different ethnic groups."
Dr Laia Bécares, who led the research team, said the results revealed that "neighbourhoods with higher ethnic diversity are associated with higher rates of social cohesion, respect for ethnic differences, and neighbours of different backgrounds getting on well together."
More recent analysis includes the YouGov poll for Demos which revealed that 83% of Muslims agreed with the statement, 'I am proud to be a British citizen' compared to 79% among the general populace. And in analysis of the Census 2011 data by the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity at Manchester University, researchers concluded that "Muslims are more likely to identify with a British only national identity than Christians and Jews, the latter two more likely to identify with an English only identity."
The myth that British Muslims are not trying or are unsuccessful at integrating was dispelled by the former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, who said in 2011 that British Muslims were "doing their damnedest to integrate".
He said, "Muslim communities in this country are doing their damnedest to try to come to terms with their neighbours to try to integrate and they're doing their best to try to develop an idea of Islam that is compatible with living in a modern liberal democracy."