‘Sharia law will undermine British society,’ warns Cameron in attack on multiculturalism
Last updated at 21:50pm on 26th February 2008
Britain is ignoring religious extremism for fear of causing offence to minorities, David Cameron claimed yesterday.
In an impassioned attack on the “disastrous” doctrine of multiculturalism, the Tory leader said it meant forced marriage and other unacceptable practices were not being addressed.
Instead, he said, ministers, teachers, social services and the police responded with a “hapless shrug of the shoulders” and the phrase: “It’s their culture, isn’t it?”
He added: “For too long, we’ve come to ignore differences – even if they fly in the face of human rights, notions of equality and child protection.”
In parts of Britain, schoolgirls from ethnic minorities had “simply disappeared” from schools, he said.
But he added that there was often little investigation of such cases for fear of causing offence or being branded a racist.
The Tory leader also complained that organisations which explicitly promote separatism and extremism are being handed Government funding.
And he warned that multiculturalism – the idea that different cultures should be respected to the point of
encouraging them to live separately – had dangerously undermined Britain’s sense of identity and brought about “cultural apartheid”.
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He said: “I believe multiculturalism is a wrong-headed doctrine that has disastrous results.”
The Tory leader warned that the ultimate outcome of multiculturalism could be the recognition of Sharia law.
Mr Cameron told a debate organised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission: “The reality is that the introduction of Sharia law for Muslims is actually the logical endpoint of the now discredited doctrine of state multiculturalism – instituting, quite literally, a legal apartheid to entrench what is the cultural apartheid in too many parts of our country.
“This wouldn’t strengthen society – it would undermine it.”
He said the Conservatives would unveil detailed proposals in the coming months to ensure that all immigrants learn to speak English.
He added that the party would also promote women’s rights and introduce school exchanges so that children from different backgrounds could meet each other.
Mr Cameron also suggested that a Tory government would crack down on private faith schools which “could be breeding some of the separatism”.