SHAFAQNA – This January 18, the Daily Mail in the UK published a rather disturbing news report where it essentially presented British PM David Cameron’s next “Muslim” policy – this time tackling the threat of radicalization through people’s linguistic proficiency.
I’m personally really glad to hear that one’s inability to express oneself in the tongue of Shakespeare could potentially lead to one’s Wahhabization … especially in light of the fact that most Wahhabi wannabe mercenaries happen to be Western recruits … But anyway, English we are being told is what stand in between someone’s sanity and Wahhabi indoctrination.
“Muslim women who fail to improve their English language skills could be deported as part of a drive to build community integration and counter extremism,” David Cameron stressed.
So breaking up families and ostracizing communities further by criminalizing their language skills is meant as a good thing?? I’m really confused here … I thought that tolerance, empathy and acceptance of people’s traditions were conducive to social cohesion. I suppose neocons see the world according to very different standards those days.
It gets worse …
The Prime Minister warned that not speaking the language adequately could make people “more susceptible” to the recruitment messages of groups like Daesh aka ISIL.
How and why we are not told!
He then added that it was “not acceptable” that women in parts of the UK were not allowed to leave their homes without a male relative and faced sex-segregated school governors meetings.
Again, confusion, confusion, confusion. How is criminalizing women, Muslim women in this instance since the PM is assuming that Muslim women are prisoners in their home home will help with counter-terrorism?
Other than further paint Muslims as those “others” to be feared, Cameron’s policy will unlikely do anything by way of integration.
Of course integration is important … well actually no, not integration but social collaboration. Why can’t we accept that people and communities sharing very different lifestyle and belief systems are incapable of living peacefully together?
Why is it that Mr Cameron feel the need to sell his WAY, his LIFESTYLE and impose it on everyone else? Aren’t we living in a free society where pluralism is celebrated?
Is Mr Cameron planning to send police officers to make sure that Muslim women are walking the streets of London on their own for example? The prejudice and latent racism hiding behind PM Cameron’s words are so blatantly obvious it is actually painful to hear and read.
A £20 million language fund is being set up to help end what he called the “passive tolerance” of separate communities which left many Muslim women facing discrimination and social isolation.
I would argue that linguistic has nothing to do with anything; rather it is discriminatory message such as this of Mr Cameron which have led to flare up in Islamophobia in the UK.
Women who come to the UK to join husbands will face tests after two and a half years – with failure meaning “they can’t guarantee they will be able to stay” even if they have children, Mr Cameron told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
“You have to be able to speak a basic level of English now to come into the country as a husband or a wife.We have made that change already and we are now going to toughen that up so halfway through the five-year spousal settlement programme, there will be another opportunity to make sure your English is improving.You can’t guarantee you will be able to stay if you are not improving your language.It is tough. But in the end it is not enough just to say the Government is going to spend more money and it is our responsibility. People coming to our country, they have responsibilities too. I am not blaming the people who can’t speak English. Some of these people have come to our country from quite patriarchal societies where perhaps the menfolk haven’t wanted them to learn English, haven’t wanted them to integrate.Where there is segregation, it is holding people back, it is not in tune with British values and it needs to go. We need to be more assertive,” stressed PM Cameron.
He added, “I think there is a connection with combating extremism and it is this: if you have people growing up in a house where no-one speaks English, they are less able to talk to the school, less able to communicate with a local GP. I am not saying there is some sort of causal connection between not speaking English and becoming an extremist, of course not. That would be a ridiculous thing to say. But if you are not able to speak English, not able to integrate, you may find therefore you have challenges understanding what your identity is and therefore you could be more susceptible to the extremist message.”
Ludicrous, absolutely ludicrous! Radicalism is rooted in Wahhabism, a dogma which is preached by Saudi Arabia – cutting those ties, and those funding would have a greater effect on stemming radicalization than a linguistic programme.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said: “David Cameron and his Conservative Government are once again using British Muslims as a political football to score cheap points to appear tough.There are three million Muslims in this country and the Prime Minister chooses to focus on a very small minority of extremists when clearly the majority of British Muslims reject extremism. The Ramadhan Foundation has been clear for many years that we face an increased risk from terrorism and an ideology of hatred. The best way to confront it is to build support within Muslims and support the work done across the country, and not lashing out and denigrating Muslims. The irony of the Prime Minister calling for more resources to help migrants learn English when his Government cut the funding for English classes in 2011 has not been lost on many people.This was a right-wing, neo-con Prime Minister delivering more of the same disgraceful stereotyping of British Muslims. Rather than focusing on the positive contribution of our faith and community, he focuses on the extreme minority of issues which clearly is not representative.
While education should of course be promoted throughout society as a whole there is no need for such aggressive policies, which aim is to further alienate and ostracize Muslims.
Islam it needs to be said promotes education as both a divine right and obligation. Great Muslim organizations such as the Khoei Foundation for example have thrived to do just that, while at the same time focusing on the promotion of social cohesion and respect of others’ differences.
PM Cameron might want to follow in those footsteps rather than fuel bias and hate.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna