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Skills Rethink director Shagufta Nasreen claims David Cameron is stigmatising decent Muslim women

PUBLISHED: 10:58 27 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:58 27 January 2016

Archant

David Cameron, once again, targeted Muslim women, by attacking their lack of English speaking skills.

We Muslim women have become used to being pounced at by right wing politicians every now and then, especially when they need to avert public attention from the real issues, such as austerity, the NHS and so on.

It looks to me as if Mr Cameron wants us to fit into his perceived way of life and not the one we want to live, otherwise we are all considered unfit for British society.

Diversity and British values are just a slogan for him, the real message he is sending to Muslims is, if you are different from what I want you to be you are not accepted here. Whatever happened to British values?

Let me explain why David Cameron is so wrong in suggesting that if Muslim women do not speak English it will, somehow, contribute to extremism in their children.

As a person who delivers English classes to the BAME community in Newham, I meet hundreds of women routinely, including Muslim women, who have very basic or no English language skills, but their children are doctors, engineers, teacher and accountants, not to mention politicians too, with their mothers’ guidance.

He is completely out of touch with the reality.

English speaking is a skill like any other and not a merit of someone’s intelligence or eligibility to progress in life. Muslim women are very intelligent and more than capable of running their families and businesses successfully. They love to socialise and to progress in life. English is not the way to do it, it is just another way to do it.

I, of course love to see more ESOL classes to enhance their English speaking skills, to improve their quality of life in Britain, but I have no doubt that Muslim women have contributed to the British society a lot already.

I wish that they were not negatively singled out by David Cameron. His consistent drop of anti Muslim comments is very unhelpful for people who seek to unify our diverse communities into one British identity, especially when one community is feeling picked at every day.

It would have been a welcome decision if Mr Cameron had said that all immigrants, (as many of my eastern European and non- Muslim students also don’t speak English) should be encouraged to learn English, but sadly he has only pointed out Muslim women to stigmatise them further.

In turn he has paved the way for fascist minds to prey on them. More from Shagufta

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