UK deportation threat for Muslim women: Is David Cameron going the Donald Trump way?

Cameron announced on Monday that Britain in future could deport Muslim women who fail to learn English to a certain level.

UK deportation threat for Muslim women: Is David Cameron going the Donald Trump way?
British PM David Cameron and US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

London: After Donald Trump, it seems British Prime Minister David Cameron has joined the anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Cameron announced on Monday that Britain in future could deport Muslim women who fail to learn English to a certain level.

Cameron said poor English skills make people "more susceptible" to the messages of groups like the Islamic State.

The UK PM's remarks came as his centre-right Conservatives set up a 20 million pounds ($28.5 million, 26 million euro) language fund for women in isolated communities. The fund, the party claims, is aimed at building community integration.

 

The remarks also came on a day when the British Parliament debated whether to ban Trupm, the Republican presidential candidate in the United States, from the Kingdom's shores for his anti-Muslim comments.

The 69-year-old has been accused on making a "hate speech" wherein he called for a travel ban on Muslims entering the United States.

Scottish freelance journalist and activist Suzanne Kelly had launched an online petition last month in response to Trump's remarks. The petition, which called for blocking the US businessman-turned-politician from British shores, received over 574,000 signatures and led to the debate in Parliament.

In Britain, immigration rules already force spouses to speak English before they come to the UK to live with their partners.

But Cameron said they would also face further tests after two and a half years in the country to make sure their language skills were improving.

"You can't guarantee you will be able to stay if you are not improving your language," he told BBC radio. "People coming to our country, they have responsibilities too."

Cameron's government estimates that around 190,000 Muslim women in England -- about 22 percent -- speak little or no English.

There are estimated to be around 2.7 million Muslims in England out of a total population of some 53 million.

 

Cameron said that a lack of language skills could make Muslims in Britain more vulnerable to the message of extremist groups.

"I am not saying there is some sort of causal connection between not speaking English and becoming an extremist, of course not," he told BBC radio.

"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."

Cameron's comments drew criticism from Muslim groups and opposition parties.

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, which campaigns for better community relations, accused Cameron of "disgraceful stereotyping".

"David Cameron and his Conservative government are once again using British Muslims as a political football to score cheap points to appear tough," he added.

And Andy Burnham, home affairs spokesman for the main opposition Labour party, accused Cameron of a "clumsy and simplistic approach" which was "unfairly stigmatising a whole community."

(With AFP inputs)

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