Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cameron says British multiculturalism has failed

British Prime Minister DavidCameron believes his country''s policy of multiculturalism has"failed" to prevent the radicalisation of Muslims by hinderingtheir integration into the British society.

In his first speech on radicalism and causes ofterrorism, the Prime Minister said a "hands-off tolerance" ofthose who reject Western values had failed to prevent the riseof Islamic extremism in Britain.

He said Britain has "even tolerated these segregatedcommunities behaving in ways that run counter to our values",a policy that needs to be revised.

Addressing a security conference in Germany, Cameronargued in favour of developing a stronger national and"muscular liberalism".

Decrying the long-standing policy of multiculturalism,Cameron also suggested that there should be greater scrutinyof Islamic groups that get public money but do little totackle extremism.

"Let''s properly judge these organisations: Do theybelieve in universal human rights - including for women andpeople of other faiths? Do they believe in democracy and theright of people to elect their own government? Do theyencourage integration or separatism?" he said.

Cameron said what is needed is the strengthening ofnational identity and allowing people to say "I am a Muslim, Iam a Hindu, I am a Christian, but I am a Londoner... too".

"Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive toleranceof recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism,"the prime minister said.

The comments did not go down well with Muslim groups,some of whom said the community had been singled out as partof the problem.

Reacting to the speech, Muslim Council of Britain''sassistant secretary general Faisal Hanjra said the stance wasa disappointment and signalled no positive change in the newgovernment''s approach to tackling the problem of extremism.

"We were hoping that with a new government, with a newcoalition that there''d be a change in emphasis in terms ofcounter-terrorism and dealing with the problem," he said.

"Again it just seems the Muslim community is very muchin the spotlight, being treated as part of the problem asopposed to part of the solution," he was quoted as saying.

Calling for tough measures against groups that areseen as promoting extremism, Cameron said ministers shouldrefuse to engage with such groups, they should be deniedaccess to public funds and barred from spreading their messagein universities and prisons.

He said under "doctrine of state multiculturalism,"different cultures have been encouraged to live separate livesand "we have failed to provide a vision of society to whichthey feel they want to belong".

Britain is scrambling for ways to handle the problemof home-grown extremists, a phenomenon that is worrying thecountry for some years now.

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