Prime Minister, David Cameron, is adamant that he wishes to challenge intolerant views about Muslims but which will require a sea change in cultural attitudes that has institutionalised extremism with Islam.
“I’ll take any chance to champion the massive contribution that British Muslims make in our country. I see it every day,” Cameron said in praising the community’s achievements at the Twelfth The Muslim News Awards for Excellence.
“But we should be absolutely clear; the job has not been done. There are still glass ceilings and walls we need to break down in our country so that talented Asians from every community in every part of our community can make it to the top.”
“Really tackling Islamophobia means making absolutely sure that no person is held back from living their life or reaching their goals simply because of the faith they follow,” he insisted. It was “all part of this Government’s overriding aim to remove the barriers that stop people playing their part in society and give everyone, whatever their background, the opportunities they need to get on in life.”
The Prime Minister said that while events like the annual awards did challenge the narrow, intolerant view about Muslims and about Islam, “we need to keep on challenging the intolerant view of Muslims that exists in some parts of our country.” It was “the intolerance that blights people’s lives – let’s stamp it out once and for all.”
Questioned further about how the negative culture that often perversely equates Muslims with radicalism and terrorism can be changed, Cameron repeated the need to do more to highlight the positive contribution that British Muslims make to our country.
“We need to celebrate the contribution in every way,” he told The Muslim News Editor, Ahmed J Versi. But he went on to add that at the same time he also saw his role “to work with and help Muslim communities who want to make sure the very small number of extremists that there are probably dealt with because they are not good Muslims they are not following Islam.”
When challenged again about the likes of politicians who focus on talking about extremism, he insisted that it was “right to deal with the issue of extremism which we should deal with when it appears anywhere in our country.”