David Cameron has told a security conference in Munich, Germany that multiculturalism in Britain has failed and that the government has been “too cautious frankly, even fearful” with dealing with the ‘non-white’ community.
Many have queried the timing of the speech as much as the content – given on the same day that an English Defence League (EDL) rally is taking place in the UK. The speech itself has also served to show how out of touch Cameron and the Tory party really are with modern, multicultural Britain.
“Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we’ve encouraged different cultures to live seperate lives apart from each other and apart from the mainstream. We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong,” the prime minister said.
Cameron blamed integration issues between ‘whites’ and ‘non-whites’ as a factor for the ‘rise in extremism’, it appeared.
“We’ve even tolerated these segregated comunities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values. So when a white person holds objectional views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practises come from someone that isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious frankly, even fearful, to stand up to them.
“This hands off tolerance only serves to reinforce the sense that not enough is shared, and this all leaves some young muslims feeling rootless, and the search for something to belong to and something to believe in can lead them to this extremist ideology.
“Now for sure they don’t turn into terrorists overnight, but what we see, and what we see in so many European countries, is a process of radicalisation.”
The speech angered some Muslim groups and clearly will only serve to alienate the Mulsim community further. Meanwhile ‘nationalist’ groups such as the EDL and the BNP will see the anti-multiculturalism, pro-nationalism speech as further support to their causes. Especially given the apt timing of the speech which runs in conjunction with the EDL rally held on the same day in the UK.
Inayat Bunglawala from Muslims4Uk has condemned Cameron’s speech, saying: “Well Mr. Cameron is evidently keen on taking a very patronising attitude towards UK muslims.
“He’s saying that Muslims must sign up to a whole list of values, and he says that because they haven’t been signing up… that is a primary reason [why] we’re seeing terrorism on our streets, now I think that is a quite deeply flawed analysis.
“Muslims have been in this country in very large numbers since the 1960s, we saw no terrorism from muslims in the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s. Mr. Cameron should reflect on what’s happened since 2001 – the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, which are really in the minds of all sensible commentators one of the primary reasons for the radicalisation we’ve seen of some muslim youth. That is the key issue we should be addressing, not integration.
“Most Muslims are happy to integrate and are appalled at the antics of a tiny group of extremists. Mr. Cameron has fired the shot at the wrong target.”
The Muslim Council of Britain’s assistant secretary general, Dr. Faisal Hanjra has also condemned Cameron’s speech which he views as “disappointing”. Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “We were hoping that with a new government, with a new coalition that there’d be a change in emphasis in terms of counter-terrorism and dealing with the problem at hand.
“Again it just seems the Muslim community is very much in the spotlight, being treated as part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution.”
Luton council and Bedfordshire police released a joint statement saying that a “tiny handful” of people from various backgrounds had a message of hate but the majority in Luton lived in harmony and were not “cut off” from each other.
The Islamic Society of Britain’s Ajmal Masroor also commented on Cameron’s viewpoints, stating that he did not appreciate the nature of the problem.
“I think he’s confusing a couple of issues: national identity and multiculturalism along with extremism are not connected. Extremism comes as a result of several other factors,” he told BBC Radio 5.
Perhaps the prime minster should should take into consideration Inayat Bunglawala’s comment that: “Mr. Cameron should reflect on what’s happened since 2001 – the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq,” rather than focusing the blame on ‘failed’ multiculturalism.
Even the controversial British National Party(BNP)has commentated on Cameron’s comments, delivered today in Munich. Nick Griffin, chairman of the BNP, slammed Cameron’s timing of the speech, given on the day of the planned EDL rally, as he tweeted: “Strange for him to pick day when Luton alread a tinder box. Debate is needed, but timing provocative.”
However, it is clear that is was only the timing of the message that Griffin found provocative, and instead felt that the speech was a further legitimisation of BNP politics in Parliament. Shortly after the speech was given by Cameron, an article was posted on the BNP website entitled: “Cameron’s ‘War on Multiculturalism’ Speech – Another Milestone in the ‘Griffinisation’ of British Politics”.
In the article, Griffin is described as taking the speech as “A further huge leap for our ideas into the political mainstream.”
“Now we have the Prime Minister admitting that the British National Party in our 30-year campaign against the unworkable folly of multiculturalism.”, Nick Grfiffin stated, describing how Cameron is stating an “obvious truth” in linking “the multi-cult theory” to racial and cultural divisions, in turn fueling “the flames of Islamic extremism and [contributing] to the growth of home-grown Muslim terrorism.”
So while the prime minster has been delivering his speech in Germany, over in his actual country of residence he has managed to provoke and stir quite a reaction from the people of Britain. In one speech alone, he has managed to ostracise the Muslim and ‘non-white’ community, has shown his support for both the BNP and the EDL (unwittingly), has somehow linked radical extremism with multiculturalism, and has once again shown how out of touch the Tories are with modern Britain.
As Inayat Bunglawala, from Muslims4Uk stated, “Muslims have been in this country in very large numbers since the 1960s, we saw no terrorism from muslims in the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s.
“Mr. Cameron should reflect on what’s happened since 2001 – the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, which are really in the minds of all sensibile commentators one of the primary reasons for the radicalisation we’ve seen of some muslim youth. That is the key issue we should be addressing, not integration.
“Most muslims are happy to integrate and are appalled at the antics of a tiny group of extremists. Mr. Cameron has fired the shot at the wrong target.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
- Why David Cameron is wrong about radicalisation and multiculturalism (newstatesman.com)
- Cameron: My war on multiculturalism (independent.co.uk)
- David Cameron tells Muslim Britain: stop tolerating extremists (guardian.co.uk)