UK funds English language campaign for Muslim refugee women

British Prime Minister David Cameron launches English language campaign for Muslim refugee women and says failed refugees might face deportation

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (C) speaks with imam Qari Asim (R), and Shabana Muneer, a member of the mosque's women's group, as he visits the Makkah Masjid Mosque in Leeds, Britain January 18, 2016.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced an English language teaching campaign for Muslim refugee women on Monday, saying that the ones who cannot pass an English test within 2-1/2 years might face deportation.

Cameron said in an article he wrote for The Times that Britain had responsibilities to refugees, but refugees had responsibilities as well.

"This will help make it clear to those men who stop their partners from integrating that there are consequences," he wrote, adding that dramatic improvements in the way Britain provides English language services for women will be funded under a new £20 million programme.

According to the British government’s plan, every woman from "isolated" communities with no English will have access to classes through community groups or FE (Further Education) colleges.

Cameron stated that there was no direct casual link between "poor English language skills and extremism" but he came under fire after saying  "those who were not able to integrate into British society were at risk of being more susceptible to extremist ideologies."

The Muslim Women’s Council accused government statements of further demonising and marginalising the Muslim community and being counter-productive.

"Whilst we welcome the additional funding pledged today by the Prime Minister for English language support for Muslim women, we do not agree with the assertion that there is a link between a lack of English and extremism," the group said in a statement.

Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said Cameron's efforts will "fall at the first hurdle" if he were to link language skills and better integration to security, and to single out Muslim women.

"Muslims are only one third of the minority population. Reports suggest a significant proportion of immigrants from Eastern Europe struggle with English," Shafi said in a statement.

TRTWorld and agencies