Cameron 'livid' after multiculturalism speech comes under fire

 

David Cameron was forced yesterday to defend his controversial claim that multiculturalism can foster Islamic extremism, after attacks from Muslim groups and Labour MPs. The shadow Justice secretary Sadiq Khan accused Mr Cameron of "writing propaganda for the English Defence League", while Muslim groups said he was attempting to "rip communities apart".

In an interview the Prime Minister – said by a Downing Street source to be "livid" about the attacks on his speech – stood by his philosophy. "You have to confront the extremism itself," he said."You have to say to the people in Birmingham Central Mosque, or wherever, who are saying 9/11 is a Jewish conspiracy, that that is not an acceptable attitude to have.

"We don't tolerate racism in our society carried out by white people; we shouldn't tolerate extremism carried out by other people.

"It certainly means changing the practice, changing the groups you fund, the people you engage . . .the people you let into the country. It needs a whole new way of thinking."

Mr Camero's comments were made on the same day as the anti-Muslim EDL held a big demonstration in Luton, prompting accusations that he was playing into the hands of the far-right. Stephen Lennon, the EDL leader, reportedly said of Mr Cameron: "He's now saying what we're saying. He knows his base."

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim youth group, accused the Prime Minister of trying to "score cheap political points" in a way that would "rip communities apart". He said: "Singling out Muslims as he has done feeds the hysteria and paranoia about Islam and Muslims. Multi-culturalism is about understanding each others' faiths and cultures whil.rbeing proud of our British citizenship.

"It would help if politicians stopped pandering to the agenda of the BNP and the fascist EDL."

William Hague , the Foreign Secretary, rejected suggestions that Mr Cameron's speech was ill-timed. "This is a Prime Minister giving a speech about the future of our country – that doesn't have to be rescheduled because some people have chosen to walk down a street that particular day," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show. "This is a speech that will endure over the months and years, long after people have forgotten what was going on on that particular Saturday afternoon."

Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, said Mr Cameron "may have made life a bit more difficult for himself" by combining the issues of terrorism and integration in one speech.

But he added the Prime Minister was right to say it was not the role of Government to tell people to embrace multiculturalism. "People don't choose not to integrate mostly. . .if they don't mix, it's because they don't have the choice," he said. Discrimination and economic cuts could also isolate communities.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk