Entering the debate on national identity and religious tolerance, the Prime Minister declared an end to “passive tolerance” of divided communities, and say that members of all faiths must integrate into wider society and accept core values.
To be British is to believe in freedom of speech and religion, democracy and equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality, he will say. Proclaiming a doctrine of “muscular liberalism”, he said that everyone, from ministers to ordinary voters, should actively confront those who hold extremist views.
He warned that groups that fail to promote British values will no longer receive public money or be able to engage with the state. [They've said that before. Or at least New Labour has said that many times before.]
His speech, to an international security conference in Munich, comes after The Daily Telegraph disclosed the extent to which the British intelligence community fears the “unique threat” of terrorist attacks by radicalised British Muslims.
Mr Cameron promised a new willingness to argue against and “defeat” extremist ideologies that lead some to engage in terrorism.
That means abandoning the notion that different communities should be able to live according to their own values and traditions as long as they stay within the law. “Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream,” Mr Cameron said. “We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.”
All Britons should believe in basic values of freedom and equality, and actively promote them, he said. That means ensuring that immigrants learn to speak English and that all schools teach “elements of a common culture and curriculum”.
The Prime Minister accepted that multiculturalism has left some members of the white community feeling unfairly treated. Racism and intolerance are “rightly” condemned, he said. “But when equally unacceptable views or practices have come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious, frankly too fearful, to stand up to them.”
The speech comes after Baroness Warsi, the Conservative Party chairman, caused controversy by claiming that prejudice against Muslims was widespread and socially acceptable.
Mr Cameron will drew a clear distinction between “Islamist extremism” as a political ideology, and the Islamic faith itself. “We need to be clear: Islamic extremism and Islam are not the same thing,” he said.
The Government is reviewing its entire strategy for counter-terrorism and community cohesion amid concern that the state is working too closely with Muslim groups that do not fully endorse liberal values. Mr Cameron said that community groups will be scrutinised in future to see if they promote democracy, equality and integration. Those that fail the “tests” will be cut off. “No public money, no sharing of platforms with ministers,” he said..