Why David Cameron’s new policy about Muslim women should be rescinded
UK Prime Minister, David Cameron last week stated that Muslim women who fail to learn the English language to a standard considered high enough would face deportation. His statement was directed particularly to spouses who came to Britain to live with their partners. Immigration laws in Britain already mandate that these spouses must at least be able to speak English before they come to live in the UK. However, now it seems the prime minister wants to raise the standard, in an attempt to discourage them from extremism. Cameron claims that their inability to speak English makes them “more susceptible” to messages of extremism.
This announcement has been met with backlash from rival groups in the UK. UK’s liberal democrat leader Tim Farron said the PM’s linking of Muslim women’s struggle to learn the English language with terrorism would “isolate the very people Cameron says he’s trying to help.” Tim Farron seems to be right, considering ISIS’s “Grey zone” rhetoric.
ISIS defines the grey zone as part of Europe that has a high population of Muslims, and its aim is to push these “moderate” Muslims who haven’t chosen a “side” to do so. ISIS attacks therefore are aimed at accomplishing this objective.
Cameron’s statement rested on stereotypes, especially when he states “some of these people have come from quite patriarchal societies and perhaps the menfolk haven’t wanted them to speak English.“22% of Muslim women in the U.K do not speak English, and are susceptible to extremism. However, does Cameron’s new policy suggest that the remaining 78% who speak English are not susceptible to extremism? This question brings to mind the number of Muslim female teenagers and adults who were educated in the UK and speak perfect English and still travelled to Syria to join ISIS. The British Nigerian mother of “Jihadi Junior”, Grace Dare (now Khadijah) and Samantha Lethwaite, also called the ‘White Widow’, are examples of British Muslim women who can speak perfect English and still found their way to extremist groups.
Analysts have called Cameron’s new policy an attempt “to portray himself as tough to appeal to Islamophobic elements in the media and in his own party.” However, his policy could backfire, especially if Muslim extremist leaders see it as an opportunity to tell Muslim mothers and sisters they are being discriminated against and marginalized by the West. Cameron’s new policy is politically incorrect at best – especially when there are other groups of women who can’t speak English well in the UK. Encouraging immigrant groups in the UK to speak English is not the problem, but linking those who struggle to pick up the language with terrorism and threatening them with deportation, might actually yield the opposite of Cameron’s goal.
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