Today the long awaited review on integration by Dame Louise Casey has been published. Though the review has already been championed by those who pursue a divisive agenda and a hostile attitude towards Muslims, the Muslim Council of Britain will carefully consider the details of Dame Louise’s findings and offer a substantive response.
In the meantime, Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain offered his initial response:
“Any initiative that facilitates better integration of all Britons should be welcomed, and we certainly endorse the few, fair and supportable suggestions proposed by the Casey Review. This includes the promotion of the English language, sharing of best practice across the nation and a range of measures to tackle exclusion, inequality and segregation in school placements. And while we agree that forced marriages, FGM, honour based killings and other practices have no place in modern Britain, we would argue that our faith tradition can be deployed to tackle what are essentially cultural practices.”
“I hope we can facilitate robust and active conversations in British Muslim communities where we are frank about the challenges facing us and creative enough to meet them head on.”
“Sadly, however, I fear that this report could be a missed opportunity. We need to improve integration, and it needs to involve the active participation of all Britons, not just Muslims. As former Prime Minister David Cameron has stated, ‘integration is a two-way street’. The report has little discussion on white flight, and could have delved deeper into the economic structural barriers to integration.”
“In our submission to the Casey Review, the Muslim Council of Britain highlighted the ‘culture of fear is emerging which is a big driver in preventing a more united and cohesive society.’
We said: ‘We must recognise that our public discourse and conversation has a part to play in furthering integration. Integration is fostered when the media reports on stories that speak of achievement of minorities, of people coming together and where national moments are shared by all.’
We also said “for too long Muslims have had to endure a media echo chamber which amplifies the misconception that Muslims and their faith are incompatible with life in Britain. We dispute these notions. It assumes that Muslims are not equal, and not civilised enough to be part and parcel of British society. It leads to discrimination against Muslims, alienation amongst Muslims where the national conversation dictates that they are not part and parcel of society, and, at worst, violent attacks against Muslims.”
We hope this Review does not feed into that narrative.