Press Release: Government’s proposed integration strategy alarms Muslims and equalities activists due to its overlap with counter-terror strategies.
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Thursday June 07 2018
Muslims and human rights activists have noted a worrying overlap between the “Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper; Building Stronger, More United Communities” and Sajid Javid’s updated Counter-Terror strategy which was published on Monday.
- The integration strategy repeatedly focusses on “fundamental British values” which effectively frames rights and responsibilities for citizens and new arrivals under the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) umbrella.
- Through its emphasis on “fundamental British values” and through overlapping educational goals and counter-terrorism strategies, the Green Paper risks further turning schools into locations of securitisation, with negative consequences for the educational attainment of children, their development and their perceptions of their place in society.
- The Green Paper’s call for a “clearer interpretation of Islam for life in the UK” is extremely worrying for the Muslim community and needs to be clarified. The concern is that a certain interpretation of “acceptable Islam” and “good Muslims” will be championed by consultation with Government selected individuals, whilst mainstream views will be marginalised as “extremist”.
It is imperative that strategies of community integration and of counter-terror do not overlap, as this can only result in the further stigmatisation and marginalisation of vulnerable communities, thereby increasing the barriers to inclusion in social, political, economic and civic life.
In overcoming the barriers to integration and inclusion facing Muslim communities, MEND is unequivocal in its belief that tackling Islamophobia and racial discrimination should be of the highest priority. Reinforcing processes of securitisation can only damage inter-community relations and are entirely counterproductive to these aims.
CEO of MED, Dr Shazad Amin, commented that “Once again, the Government has framed integration within issues of security, which will only serve to further fuel suspicion against the Muslim community, and harm inter-community relations. We believe that communities should be encouraged to integrate for positive reasons not simply as a means of making them ‘less dangerous’.”