Don’t make Muslims solely responsible for integration in the UK
The government needs to rethink its approach if there is to be any hope of a successful strategy for Muslim communities
More than 10 years ago, David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, declared that integration was “a two-way street”. As head of a detoxified Conservative party, he affirmed that we could aspire to be a more united country if we recognised our diversity.
Within the space of a decade, that attitude dissipated. It reflected the success of a core group of ideologues keen to unleash a phoney culture war that scapegoated Muslims and cast doubt on this country’s diversity. Once in office, Cameron declared that multiculturalism allowed people to lead separate lives, and therefore led to extremism.
Just before he left office, the former prime minister charged Dame Louise Casey with investigating the state of integration in our country. For those looking to attack Muslims and “failed multiculturalism”, she did not fail to deliver. Casey put a “moral onus on ethnic minorities for the supposed failures of integration”, proclaimed integration was “not a two-way street” and publicly used her platform to wrongly conflate criminal acts with sharia law. This all builds up a dangerous narrative in the public mind.
Muslims across the country received “Punish a Muslim Day” letters, and four Muslim MPs received suspicious packages, the government response was extremely poor. Victoria Atkins, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for the home department, ignored questions asked by MPs and cited the security fund to protect places of worship – a fund that is currently closed.
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