Dear David Cameron,
Yesterday you linked the lack of english speaking skills to terrorism and specifically honed in on Muslim women stating that there is a section of society susceptible to being swept away and lured in by ISIS. I was left a bit baffled by that. But then I increasingly am these days whenever you say something. My eyes hurt more and more from all the eye rolling. Your confidently made statement was so flawed but you’ve promised £20 million to start fixing the problem. I just don’t get it. Personally I think you should spend that on the Northern floods but that’s by the by. Let me explain.
You did have a valid point about integration and about how everyone should speak the English language better. That’s not a just a Muslim woman issue though. It’s a hang up that is part and parcel of migration and affects all cultures. You will find pockets of these communities all over the world. Ex-pats living in a country where some will easily integrate into society and some will live amongst like minded people. With that you get places like China town, the curry mile, the amazing bagel places. It’s not a problem unique to England and most definitely not down to Muslim women not learning the language.
You stated Muslim women with poor English language skills need to improve them and then went on to link it to combating terrorism. From what I’ve seen over the last few years, 100% of those home made videoes from ISIS recruits have all been made by young lads with rude boy accents who “talk like dat, you get me”. I’ve never once seen an army of Muslim women talking about killing non-believers, gesturing wildly as their English skills are so bad. I could be wrong, I’ve stopped watching the news too much these days. Maybe it’s because you talk about ISIS so much that everything is starting to look the same now?
A massive chunk of those with poor English skills are migrants that came over to England between the 50s and 70s. There was a huge drive for labourers at the time, to fill up the mills, to rebuild the country after the war. Those migrants are now 50 and above and you won’t catch them flocking to terrorism. You’ll find them looking after their grand kids during the week days and sat about at family parties at weekends complaining about how their joints ache, their diabetes is out of control, how their little terror of a grandchild is running them ragged but how they wouldn’t change it for the world.
The majority of those migrants with poor English speaking skills settled here decades ago and raised their kids without their own family around for support, pushing their little ones hard through education so that they would have an amazing future. My mum was one of those, an Indian migrating to England from Kenya. She gets by politely with her English. Her kids improved it a lot through the years and her grandkids continue to do so day after day. Because of her (and her husband, my dad), her kids speak 4 languages each, got degrees and now work in good jobs. They give back to society by paying their taxes, paying it forward to charities and trying to raise their own kids right. Because of her, this Muslim girl can and did.
Some of my closest and oldest Muslim friends come from a similar background. Between us there are doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, accountants, orthoptists, care workers, teachers, IT workers. I could go on all day. 90% of their parents possess limited English speaking skills. It didn’t lead them or any of their kids to terrorism. Their work ethic, thirst for education and hard work led their kids to having a better future. I’m not special, this isn’t just unique to my circle. You’ll find this in the majority of communities and cultures; people striving to do their best.
And I bet you, if you asked each one of these individuals they would say this Muslim did. Because of their mum (and dad!).