POLITICS

Baroness Warsi Attacks David Cameron For 'Lazy And Misguided' Policy Targeting Muslims

18/01/2016 14:29 GMT | Updated 18/01/2016 14:59 GMT
Dan Kitwood via Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Britain's Minister of State at the Foreign Office, Baroness Warsi arrives at 10 Downing Street on June 9, 2014 in London, England. The Education Secretary Michael Gove and and Home Secretary Theresa May were both called to attend a meeting at 10 Downing Street in London today with British Prime Minister David Cameron. The meeting was to discuss the alleged 'extremist takeovers' of schools in Birmingham, and was held on the same day that Ofsted released a report in to Schools at the centre of a 'Trojan Horse' plot. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

David Cameron's decision to link the English language skills of Muslim women to extremism is "lazy and sloppy", according to the former chair of the Conservative Party.

Baroness Warsi, who was Britain's first Muslim woman cabinet minister, said on Monday the prime minister had undermined proposals to invest money in language classes by resorting to "stereotypes".

Cameron told BBC Radio 4's Today programme today: "I'm not saying there is some sort of causal connection between not speaking English and becoming an extremist, of course not, that would be a ridiculous thing to say.

"But if you're not able to speak English, not able to integrate, you might find therefore, you have challenges understanding what your identity is and therefore you could be more susceptible to the extremist message from Daesh."

The prime minister announced immigrants would have to demonstrate they were improving their English language skills after being in the country for two-and-a-half years or face being deported.

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David Cameron speaks with women attending an English language class in Leeds

Warsi told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "I absolutely agree with the government’s announcement that it’s important for more money to be put into English language teaching, because a shared language of course is a must for strong, integrated communities, what raised concerns for me was the way in which a very good announcement would be linked to extremism and terrorism.

"And this lazy and misguided linking and what I saw once again was stereotyping of British Muslim communities. I felt took away from what was a positive announcement."

The former Tory cabinet minister, who quit the government in 2014 over the UK's "morally indefensible" Middle East policy, said Cameron should not single out Muslims.

"To singularly point out that British Muslim women don’t speak English and that therefore leads to radicalisation and therefore only they should be taught English is a very odd way of pursuing an integrated approach to community cohesion," she said.

"But I think to threaten women and say to them that ‘unless you are of X standard we will send you back even if you have children in the United Kingdom who are British and your spouse is British’, it’s for me a very unusual way of empowering and emboldening women."

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