Belfast Telegraph

Cameron's fallacy on integration

By Mohammed Samaana

The Prime Minister is the man with the plan to kill two birds with one stone: tackling extremism and promoting integration by threatening mass deportation of Muslim women. So, while Donald Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering the US, David Cameron wants to deport them.

I agree there is a need to learn English, but it is not Muslims' problem only. The World Literacy Foundation says 20% of the UK population are functionally illiterate, costing the UK £81bn a year.

That's twice the rate of Germany and three times that of France. Both countries have a bigger Muslim population than the UK. Furthermore, in Europe only Italy and Ireland are worse than the UK at reading and writing.

Looking at the real reasons behind radicalisation, besides UK foreign policy, the available evidence suggests that socio-economic deprivation caused by alienation and marginalisation of Muslims is another factor.

Additionally, irrational counter-terrorism policies play into the hands of the extremists. For example, because childminders and teachers are required to spy on Muslim children, a three-year-old Muslim girl was quizzed as she didn't want to play with boys, while the police visited Muslim parents whose sons wore trousers above the ankles to school.

Moreover, research shows that Muslim women wearing the veil are more likely to be denied jobs.

Unfortunately, for a vulnerable minority of them, Isis territory might become their dreamland. These women require protection - not demonisation.

Promoting integration is the responsibility of everyone. I have been told by many Muslims that they do make the effort to fit in, but they feel that preconceptions, stigma and stereotypes are barriers to integration.

David Cameron's comments also imply that Muslim men are misogynists who keep their wives at home. Misogyny is an issue for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, but it is interesting that these allegations came from a man who famously told Angela Eagle MP "calm down, dear".

Tackling extremism requires tackling inequalities at home and an ethical foreign policy abroad.

  • Mohammed Samaana is a writer based in Belfast

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