Socialist Worker

Muslim women speak out - Cameron's language test plan is Tory racism

Hypocrite Cameron’s proposals are ‘patronising’ and ‘offensive’, Muslim women told Tomáš Tengely-Evans

Issue No. 2487

Muslim women have spoken out against David Camerons racism

Muslim women have spoken out against David Cameron's racism (Pic: Guy Smallman)

David Cameron said Britain needs to be “more assertive about our liberal values”—by threatening to deport migrants on a spouse visa unless they pass an English test.

He singled out Muslim women.Writing in The Times newspaper Cameron claimed that “some of these people come from quite patriarchal societies where the menfolk haven’t wanted them to learn English”.

Muserat from Leeds told Socialist Worker, “David Cameron is one of the most patronising people I’ve heard. He always says Muslim women ‘need to be emancipated.’

“But it’s deeply offensive when he says we’re segregated or need to be ‘freed’.”

The Tories are opportunistically using sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany, earlier this month to paint their Islamophobic assault as standing up for women’s rights.

But sexism is not rooted in a particular culture—and racism will only reinforce oppression.

Research by the Islamophobia watchdog Tell Mama shows that 60 percent of recent Islamophobic attacks have been on women.

Muserat said, “When Britain raids another country such as Afghanistan to Syria, it’s difficult for them to give their reasons.

“They give a spin that it’s about women’s oppression.”

They are spearheading this assault with the Prevent strategy. It legally forces public sector workers to spy on people for signs of “radicalisation”.

Tayyabah organised a 100-strong meeting against Prevent in Waltham Forest, east London, in December.


She said, “Cameron’s attacks are all part of pushing the same agenda. He’s using phrases such as counter terrorism and extremism”.

Imam Suliman Gani from south London argued, “Prevent affects all Muslims—everyone is under scrutiny and anything can be seen as a sign of radicalisation. There’s no definition of what ‘radicalisation’ or ‘extremism’ are.

“If someone grew a beard that could be a sign of radicalisation.”

He added, “We want to live in a country where we’re free to practise our religious beliefs without being targeted.

“It’s our democratic right to have an opinion on something.”

These attacks are fuelling resistance, but there’s also a debate among Muslims about how to deal with Prevent.

Suliman explained that some mosques are going along with Prevent. He said, “They argue that we need to be proactive in showing we’re not extremist.

“That way you still get funding from the local authority. But they don’t look at the broader picture.”

“Mosques need to work together and build alliances with organisations such as Stand Up to Racism.”

Tayyabah said, “When you have organisations such as the NUT and NUS unions also campaigning against it there has to be a legitimate reason.

“It’s important that we challenge these policies.”


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