Echoing comments made by his German counterpart (as well as his Labour predecessor), British PM David Cameron spoke out strongly against multiculturalism at the Munich Security Conference, demanding “muscular liberalism” rather than “passive tolerance.” The New York Times reports:
Faced with growing alarm about Islamic militants who have made Britain one of Europe’s most active bases for terrorist plots, Prime Minister David Cameron has mounted an attack on the country’s decades-old policy of “multiculturalism,” saying it has encouraged “segregated communities” where Islamic extremism can thrive.
Speaking at a security conference in Munich on Saturday, Mr. Cameron condemned what he called the “hands-off tolerance” in Britain and other European nations that had encouraged Muslims and other immigrant groups “to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.”
He said that the policy had allowed Islamic militants leeway to radicalize young Muslims, some of whom went on to “the next level” by becoming terrorists, and that Europe could not defeat terrorism “simply by the actions we take outside our borders,” with military actions like the war in Afghanistan.
“Europe needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries,” he said. “We have to get to the root of the problem.”
Madeleine Bunting wrote a riposte for Comment is Free, criticizing Cameron’s speech as “muddled,” “dangerous” and “self-aggrandising,” and suggesting that he wants to align himself with the toxic debate in Germany surrounding Thilo Sarrazin’s alarmist bestseller. The Independent notes: “Muslim groups, anti-racism campaigners and opposition politicians also questioned the timing of the high-profile speech, just hours before around 3,000 members of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) marched through Luton.”