Misogyny, fears of being branded ‘racist’ and a lack of integration are just some of the “uncomfortable truths” the Casey Review has highlighted in British society today.
Monday’s publication of Dame Louise Casey’s study, commissioned by David Cameron last year, means we can “no longer duck difficult issues”, its author said.
Here are five “uncomfortable truths” from the major report.
1. Public institutions are scared of being branded ‘racist’
The Casey Review said that “harmful” cultural and religious practices have been allowed, and even condoned, by public bodies due to fears of racist accusations.
The report found: “Too many public institutions, national and local, state and non-state, have gone so far to accommodate diversity and freedom of expression that they have ignored or even condoned regressive, divisive and harmful cultural and religious practices, for fear of being branded racist or Islamophobic.”
The report continues: “This has not helped the communities which many well-intentioned people in those institutions have wanted to protect; more often it has played straight into the hands of extremists.
“As a nation we have lost sight of our expectations on integration and lacked confidence in promoting it or challenging behaviours that undermine it.”
2. It shouldn’t be racist to point out change
“It isn’t racist or anti-immigration to say that the pace of change from immigration in recent years has been too much for some communities such as Barking in East London or Boston in Lincolnshire,” Casey wrote in The Sun on Monday.
“People are understandably uncomfortable when the character of a town changes out of all recognition in five or ten years.”
3. Misogyny is being allowed to prevail in Muslim communities
The author of the report said she had visited communities where women who have lived in the UK for years are not allowed out of their house without a man’s permission.
Casey said: “At the end of the day it is not the women in those communities that I have a problem with it is the men in those communities.
“It is the misogyny and the patriarchy that has to come to an end.”
The report said: “Throughout our review we have encountered countless examples of abuse and unequal treatment of women enacted in the name of cultural or religious values, or as a reaction to those values.”
Concerns were also raised by the Muslim Women’s Network UK about women “being blocked by men from becoming councillors”.
The group called for an inquiry into what they called the “systematic misogyny” they had witnessed in local authority councillors, the report reads.
4. Lack of integration
Casey said pockets have been allowed to develop in the UK in places such as Oldham and Bradford where one ethnic group or religion is dominant.
“Social integration is about closing the gaps that exist between people and communities,” Casey said.
“To help bind Britain together and tackle some of the division in our society we need more opportunities for those from disadvantaged communities, particularly women, and more mixing between people from different backgrounds.
“We need more effort to be put into integration policies to help communities cope with the pace and scale of immigration and population change in recent years.
“But we also need more of a spirit of unity, compassion and kindness that brings people together under our common British values of tolerance, democracy, equality and respect.”
The Casey Review adds: “We recognise that this review raises some difficult issues which many would prefer to ignore.
“But we believe it is only by identifying and acknowledging the problems and harms that derive from a lack of integration that we can move on to solutions that will unite us.”
Concerns were also raised over poor language skills, particularly for some women, which could be holding them back from knowing their rights in the UK.
5. Muslims are being ‘pushed away’
Casey told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that, while in some areas Muslims are choosing to “pull away” from other British communities, in some instances they are being “pushed”.
She said: “We cannot hide away from an uncomfortable truth and one of those uncomfortable truths is that some religions.. are pulling away and I think in some ways we are pushing some people in the Muslim community away.”
Casey gave an example of when a terror attack is carried out by so-called Islamic State attention is focused on the Muslim community to denounce the atrocity.
Casey likened this attitude to her having to apologise for an attack carried out by the IRA.