Multiculturalism a failure - Cameron

2011-02-05 14:32

Munich - Prime Minister David Cameron condemned Britain's long-standing policy of multiculturalism as a failure on Saturday, calling for better integration of young Muslims to combat homegrown extremism.

In a speech to the Munich Security Conference, Cameron signalled a marked change in policy toward Britain's ethnic and religious minorities, saying the "hands-off tolerance" of those who reject Western values has failed.

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.

"If we are to defeat this threat, I believe it's time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past," he told the conference during a panel discussion attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

His speech echoed controversial remarks made by Merkel in 2010, when she also called multiculturalism a failure, saying Germany had not devoted enough attention to the integration of immigrants.

Major concern

"What I mean to say is that for years, for decades, the approach was that integration was not something that needed to be addressed, that people would live side-by-side and that it would sort itself out," Merkel said in November.

"This turned out to be false."

It was Cameron's first major speech on Islamist extremism, an issue of major concern for British governments ever since four homegrown suicide bombers attacked the London transport system in 2005, killing 52 people.

The prime minister, who took power in May 2010, argued that "under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream".

He said this had resulted in a lack of national identity in Britain which had made some young Muslims turn to extremist ideology.

"Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism," Cameron said.

"A passively tolerant society says to its citizens: As long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values.

"A genuinely liberal country does much more. It believes in certain values and actively promotes them... It says to its citizens: This is what defines us as a society."

Cameron clearly distinguished between Islam the religion and the political ideology of Islamist extremism, saying they "are not the same thing".

But he argued that non-violent organisations which present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community but are ambiguous on Western values should no longer receive state funding, and should be banned from university campuses.

  • Templar - 2011-02-05 14:53

    would like to see how far this goes before the politically correct lunatic fringe jumps onboard...

  • Hungwe - 2011-02-05 15:24

    At last some realistic thinking - but for how long before the limp wristed light footed brigade say Cameron's speech isn't PC.

  • GP - 2011-02-05 16:06

    Interesting outlook on this because the same could be said about all western/ people who live in South Africa but still frown upon african culture, language(complain when more african names are introduced. Wonderboy says he would like to see real french people when in not and not some peeps from Africa. The same French person can also say they would like to see real african people when they come to SA and not some peeps who name a south african city "East London".

  • Ross - 2011-02-05 16:06

    A friend of mine was nearly kicked out of a coffee shop in England. He ordered a cup of black coffee and was promptly told that he is a racist. They advised him to order coffee without milk the next time. These people are pathetic.

  • Epicurius - 2011-02-05 16:43

    Heaven help those british muslims who are on every benefits program known to man, now they are onto them, they might have to actually work for a living instead of sitting at the mosque hanging on every word of the latest and greatest radical cleric. The average born and bred brit on the dole/benefits is not much better, however, the difference is, the average brit doesn't secretly think 9/11 was totally and utterly cool, whereas the average british muslim does.

      Heibrin - 2011-02-05 18:54

      HeySeus: Are you sure you're reading the same forums? Read the comments on any article that involves an middle eastern country, especially Israel. Having lived and worked amongst the British muslims, as Epicurius calls them, I totally agree with him, they are the epitome of dole-exploiters. Finally the Brits are waking up to that as well.

      Heibrin - 2011-02-05 18:57

      And as an aside: Prove to me that it was the Yanks that killed their own people?? You see, all I need to do is point you at Bin Laden's confession on their released video's....

  • Mpho R - 2011-02-05 20:59

    The same can be said about RSA. The races that are non-indigenous to Africa are also living separate lives to the Africans. This is what apartheid promoted and was largely built on.

      honky - 2011-02-06 08:47

      OK Mpho, so how could we ono-indigenous people improve our integration? Please make concrete suggestions. I can only thionk of one thing: learn an indigenous language. However, this does not mean cultural integration. It does not necessarily include ancestor worship, slaughtering cows in the back yard, paying lobola. I really think that cultural integration does not mean taking over African belief systems and customs. Yet I would like to solicit your constructive comments as to hwat you think should be done to promote African integration.

      EyesOpen - 2011-02-06 10:06

      Lets integrate. Lets become real Africans. We will start by going to to where it started and remove all medical knowledge, remove the Western based education and language, remove that Roman invention called roads, remove brick, mortar and steel buildings and those other Western blights like computers, phones and electricity. While we are at it remember to ruin the water works.... oh wait, some of this is already being done. Good, we have a head start. Once we have done that we can burn our clothes and shoes to walk barefoot in the dark in our beautiful animal skins. Remeber not to use the wheel either. No evidance it was used in SA before the evil Westerners got here. Why would you on pathways anyway? Wake up! There is a huge differance in migrating somewhere and bringind something to the party than going somewhere well established and to slowly institute that very thing that was probably the core of what made you run anyway. Spend one day in Europe and you will know SA is not anything like Europe...

  • Nico - 2011-02-06 15:02

    Mr. Prime Minister, it was high time that the threat to Britain's (and the entire Western World) culture be addressed. You just failed to call it by its real name, Mr. Cameron, it's conservatism, not muscle liberalism, whatever that is. Muscle and liberalism are a contradiction in terms. Liberalism is a fancy name for cowardice and citing "muscle" and "liberalism" together, like you did, is like slapping mayonnaise on carrion hoping it will become a delicacy. However, it's pushing in the right direction regardless what you call it. You'll probably get your butt whipped when you get home.

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