Muslim Sharia law would undermine society if it was introduced in Britain, Conservative leader David Cameron said today. Mr Cameron said it would in fact lead to a “legal apartheid”. He added that “state multiculturalism” was also the wrong way to tackle integration.
He said: “I don’t believe that by introducing Sharia law, we will make Muslims somehow feel more British – more content with life here and more happy to work for a common good.
“In my view the opposite is the case: I think it would be to head in the wrong direction. The reality is that the introduction of Sharia law for Muslims is actually the logical endpoint of the now discredited doctrine of state multiculturalism instituting, quite literally, a legal apartheid to entrench what is the cultural apartheid in too many parts of our country.
“This wouldn’t strengthen society – it would undermine it. It would alienate other communities who would resent this preferential treatment. It would provide succour to the separatists who want to isolate and divide communities from the mainstream. And it would – crucially – weaken, destabilise and demoralise those Muslims who embrace liberal values and desperately want to integrate fully in British society.”
Speaking alongside Trevor Phillips, the chairman of Equality and Human Rights Commission, Mr Cameron attacked the Government’s idea of multiculturalism. He said:
“I believe that state multiculturalism is a wrong-headed doctrine that has had disastrous results. It has fostered difference between communities. And it has stopped us from strengthening our collective identity. Indeed, it has deliberately weakened it. By concentrating on defining the various cultures that have come to call Britain home, we have forgotten to define the most important one: our own. So we now have a situation where the children of first-generation immigrants – children, let us remember, who have been born and raised here – feel more divorced from life in Britain than their parents.”
See also the Guardian, 26 February 2008
Full text of Cameron’s speech here