Tens of thousands of Muslim women unable to speak English are to be given the chance to learn the language in a new British Government drive to build community integration and counter extremism.
Launching a £20 million language fund, David Cameron called for an end to the “passive tolerance” of separate communities which left many Muslim women facing discrimination and social isolation.
Writing in The Times, the Prime Minister said he would not avoid telling the ’hard truths’ required to confront the minority of Muslim men whose “backward attitudes” led them to exert “damaging control” over women in their families.
“All too often, because of what I would call ’passive tolerance’, people subscribe to the flawed idea of separate development,” he wrote.
“It is time to change our approach. We will never truly build One Nation unless we are more assertive about our liberal values, more clear about the expectations we place on those who come to live here and build our country together and more creative and generous in the work we do to break down barriers.”
The Government estimates that there are 190,000 Muslim women in England who speak little or no English.
The new English language scheme will be aimed at reaching the most isolated women and will be targeted to specific communities based on the ongoing review into segregation being carried out by Louise Casey, the head of the Government’s Troubled Families unit.
Classes will be held in homes, schools and community centres with travel and childcare costs provided to encourage the maximum participation.
Mr Cameron said that all public services – including, nurseries, schools, health visitors and job centres – needed to play a party in tacking “prejudice and bigotry” and building integration.