“The real question I would ask the prime minister is this: how comfortable is he with accepting the genuine choices of women, educated and literate, when they don’t fit with his world view?”
Prime Minister Comes Under Fire From Birmingham MP Shabana Mahmood
The Prime Minister is facing strong criticism from a Birmingham MP for claiming that individuals who failed to learn English would be “more susceptible” to being terrorist supporters.
Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP, said that no evidence existed to link people’s inability to speak English to the increased likelihood of them becoming extremists.
Unveiling the Government’s plans to encourage migrants coming to the UK on a spouse’s visa to learn English, David Cameron made the seemingly illogical decision to focus his publicity material on Muslim women though the scheme applies to all men and women who move to the UK as a husband or wife of a British citizen.
The Prime Minister also warned that individuals who failed to take heed “can’t be guaranteed” the opportunity to remain in the country.
Representative for Ladywood, Shabana Mahmood raised her concerns whilst voicing support for any plans to make learning English easier for immigrants.
Shabana said, “The first point where his logic departs is his leap from a lack of English to higher susceptibility to radicalisation.”
She added: “There is no evidence for it. In the 1960s many of the women who came to Birmingham from Kashmir could not speak English but levels of terrorism did not increase.
“In any case it’s far from clear why the lack of English speaking by the mum of the family is so problematic in relation to radicalisation and extremism.
She accused the Prime Minister of failing to understand that “Muslim women are making choices for themselves.”
Shabana Mahmood expressed similar apprehensions in an for The Times, writing: “The majority of the examples I see of Muslim women who dress with a full veil or who socialise in a segregated setting are educated professional women – just making a different choice to the one Cameron wants them to.
She added: “I don’t agree with either … – but I have always respected the freely made choices of my fellow human beings, even when they are inexplicable to me. “
“So the real question I would ask the prime minister is this: how comfortable is he with accepting the genuine choices of women, educated and literate, when they don’t fit with his world view?”
The Prime Minister’s suggestions that young men are more vulnerable to radicalisation, due the ‘traditional submissiveness of Muslim women,’ not surprisingly sparked fury with Muslim women, who took to social media to express outrage over the generalising remarks, sparking Twitter hash tag #TotallySubmissive.
#TotallySubmissive became the digital rallying call for the often misrepresented demographic. Strong, independent Muslim women proudly displayed their achievements on Twitter subverting the societal constraints so often associated with the veiled Muslim woman.
David Cameron’s lewd comments regarding the integration of non-English speaking Muslim women followed his request to Director General of the Government’s Troubled Families unit, Louise Casey to instigate a “a comprehensive review into boosting opportunity and integration to bring Britain together as one nation”.
The review will be put in place to ensure people from ethnic minority backgrounds feel they have a place in British society, as well as investigating the familial role in tacking radicalisation.