Do We Have an Integration Problem?

Public Responds to David Cameron’s Speech

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In a keynote speech, Prime Minister David Cameron set out a five-year government plan to tackle radicalisation and extremist ideology. Speaking in Birmingham, Mr Cameron said the issue had become a “struggle for a generation.”

Tackling the issue of home-grown radicalisation, the Prime Minister set out his agenda to tackle the growing problem of young people travelling abroad to join terrorist groups. He also wanted to tackle conspiracy theories associated with the issue.

“When they say that these are wronged Muslims getting revenge on their western wrongdoers, let’s remind them: from Kosovo to Somalia, countries like Britain have stepped in to save Muslim people from massacres. It’s groups like [Islamic State], al-Qaida and Boko Haram that are the ones murdering Muslims.”

“I am not saying these issues aren’t important. But let’s not delude ourselves. We could deal with all these issues – and some people in our country and elsewhere would still be drawn to Islamist extremism.”

The Prime Minister set out what he sees as the four main reasons that people become radicalised:
Extremism can seem exciting, especially to young people.
People can be drawn from non-violent extremism to violent extremism.
Extremists are overpowering other voices within Muslim debate.
Failures of integration allow extremist ideas to gain traction.

“For all our successes as multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, we have to confront a tragic truth that there are people born and raised in this country who don’t really identify with Britain.”

We set out across the British community to ask what they thought about the Prime Minister’s speech and whether there really is a problem with integration within this country.

luke-hollandLuke Holland
Proud Brummie and Labour Activist

I sat in Ninestiles Academy Hall for half an hour shaking my head and pretty much disagreeing with what David Cameron had said about Extremism. I repeatedly heard the phrase “British Values” thrown about the room, what are these values?!

I class myself as British, are British Values….Going abroad to Magaluf and puking all over the street causing misery to locals? Queuing at the reduced section in ASDA because you don’t have a secure job because you’re on a zero hour contract or is it a value to just blame every issue on the EU, Muslims or Immigrants?  Yeah I’m proper proud to be British…

I wanted to ask Cameron a question so bad… I was desperate but MI5 were there right next to me and they were scary. Dave kept saying “ISIS (The Daesh mate) is not the real Islam”. Completely agree but then he went onto say that Muslims should speak out against them… um no. We have just stated that the Daesh are not a state and are not Islamic so why should Muslims speak out against a tiny minority. Will Mr Cameron ask Christians to speak out against the “KKK”?

I think not. It was an attack on Muslims. He said that many communities had not “integrated”. Just like the Eton boys in Parliament not integrating with the real word I suppose? Birmingham is my city, a city full of amazing people from all over the world and has every walk of life in it and you know what, it works! How dare Mr Cameron come to Birmingham and say that communities segregate themselves and don’t integrate. A disgusting statement and proves he does not know anything about Birmingham nor diversity.

Let’s not pick on Muslims or alienate certain communities, like suffering daily abusive Islamophobic attacks was not hard enough.

mohammed-shafiqMohammed Shafiq
Chief Executive, Ramadhan Foundation

I am concerned that yet again Cameron is conflating the issue of extremism and terrorism with those of cohesion and integration. He says that Muslims are not doing enough to integrate and that risks fostering extremism – but just what is enough and how do you measure it?

There is also a contradiction between Mr Cameron extolling British values such as free speech and then suggesting that Muslims who object to gay equality are somehow extremist and their views should not be tolerated.

Everyone in this country, Muslims included, must have a right to express their views, no matter how intolerant they are. On the positive side I think a lot of Muslim families will welcome being able to get children’s passports confiscated if they’re worried about them being radicalised without the risk of them being criminalised.

shaista-gohirShaista Gohir
Chair, Muslim Women’s Network UK

We welcome the acknowledgement that most Muslims contribute to our country and that the extremist acts of a minority do not represent Islam. We also agree that to defeat extremism, we must all work together including Muslim communities, government, police, schools, universities and social media.

The Prime Minister also stated in his speech that we must promote British values such as fairness, justice, tolerating difference, religious freedom, being equal before the law and freedom of speech. However, such discourse must apply to everyone. For example, if Muslim hate preachers are regarded as extremists, then those who preach hate against Muslims cannot be regarded exercising freedom of speech.  The government must also make a commitment to tackling discrimination and Islamophobia faced by Muslims in their daily life.

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