Anger in Britain after PM slams multiculturalism

5th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Muslim groups and opposition politicians voiced anger Saturday at Prime Minister David Cameron after he condemned the country's policy of multiculturalism as a failure.

In a speech to the Munich Security Conference, Cameron called for better integration of young Muslims to combat home-grown extremism.

He urged a "more active, muscular liberalism" where equal rights, the rule of law, freedom of speech and democracy are actively promoted to create a stronger national identity.

But Inayat Bunglawala, from anti-extremist group Muslims4Uk, told the BBC that Cameron had "fired a shot at the wrong target" and displayed a "very patronising attitude towards UK Muslims."

The Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella body for some 500 organisations across the county, said it was disappointed at the prime minister's speech.

The council's assistant secretary general Faisal Hanjra said the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition did not appear to be taking a different approach to the issue of terrorism from the previous Labour administration.

"Again, it seems very much that the Muslim community is in the spotlight and being treated as part of the problem rather than part of the solution," he told BBC radio.

And Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of Muslim welfare group The Ramadhan Foundation, added: "Singling out Muslims as he has done feeds the hysteria and paranoia about Islam and Muslims."

Former Labour interior minister Jack Straw criticised Cameron's speech and said most Muslims in Britain had an "abhorrence of terrorism."

"The overwhelming majority of British citizens of the Muslim faith want the same for their families as everyone else, and subscribe to the same values, including an abhorrence of terrorism," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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