David Cameron writes (as he frequently does) for ‘The Guardian on Sunday’ this morning – The Observer. The choice of The Guardian/ The Observer is all part of his BBC strategy.
The Conservative leader reflects on his two days with a Muslim family in Birmingham. His top conclusion is that we need to be more careful about our choice of language when discussing the nature of the current terrorist threat:
"By using the word ‘Islamist’ to describe the threat, we actually help do the terrorist ideologues’ work for them, confirming to many impressionable young Muslim men that to be a ‘good Muslim’, you have to support their evil campaign."
Mr Cameron does not suggest an alternative way of describing a terrorist worldview that is deeply, if perversely, connected with the Muslim faith.
Mr Cameron also defends faith schools in his article as a positive force for integration.
At the end of the Conservative leader’s thoughtful article he makes what is, for me, the most important of points about integration. Why would Muslim and other minority communities want to integrate with British society when, despite all its strengths, it is increasingly decadent? David Cameron:
"’To make men love their country,’ said Edmund Burke, ‘their country ought to be lovable.’ Integration has to be about more than immigrant communities, ‘their’ responsibilities and ‘their’ duties. It has to be about ‘us’ too – the quality of life that we offer, our society and our values. Here the picture is bleak: family breakdown, drugs, crime and incivility are part of the normal experience of modern Britain. Many British Asians see a society that hardly inspires them to integrate. Indeed, they see aspects of modern Britain which are a threat to the values they hold dear – values which we should all hold dear. Asian families and communities are incredibly strong and cohesive, and have a sense of civic responsibility which puts the rest of us to shame. Not for the first time, I found myself thinking that it is mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the British Asian way of life, not the other way around."
There are, of course, aspects of the Islamic faith that many of us find deeply objectionable but the debate about integration cannot be isolated from questions about the fragmenting and coarsening nature of too much of British society.
Related link: David Cameron stays with British Muslims in Birmingham
12.45pm: Cranmer’s take can be read here.
1.15pm: 18DoughtyStreet.com’s Donal Blaney gave his thoughts on this topic on Friday: