Poor English language skills make women ‘more susceptible’ to Isis, claims Esol-slashing Cameron
A “LAZY, misguided and sloppy” David Cameron threatened yesterday to deport Muslim women who don’t improve their English, claiming they were easy prey for Islamic State (Isis) extremism.
The Prime Minister limply stated there was no “causal connection” between language and terrorism before warning that the 40,000 women in Britain who do not speak English — and 190,000 whose English is very poor — are “more susceptible” to the group’s message.
Women arriving in Britain on spousal visas are expected to have English skills at A1 level, equivalent to a native speaker starting primary school, but would need to reach A2 level within two-and-a-half years under his proposals.
Those who fail “can’t guarantee [they] will be able to stay.”
He announced a new £20 million fund in England to boost Muslim women’s language skills — less than six months after slashing £45m from the Esol (English for speakers of other languages) budget.
The cuts have ended the very classes that are designed to help people improve their English, the University and College Union (UCU) said.
Esol has already had its funding for non-apprenticeship courses cut by 40 per cent since 2009.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “The Prime Minister’s strong words on the importance of learning English simply do not fit with his actions.
“His government has repeatedly cut funding to help foreign language speakers learn English and this money, although welcome, does not go far enough.
“Politicians need to back that rhetoric up with proper funding.”
Mr Cameron visited a project for Bangladeshi women in Leeds to promote his new plans — but reporters were banned from speaking to them, complaining the PM had set up a “propaganda” trip.
Mr Cameron also faced backlash from Islamic groups and former Tory minister Baroness Warsi for singling out Muslim women.
Lady Warsi, the Tories first female Muslim cabinet minister, attacked her party leader for his “lazy, misguided, sloppy linking” of language skills and extremism.
She told BBC Radio 4 that his threats of deportation was “a very unusual way of empowering and emboldening women.”
Ramadhan Foundation head Mohammed Shafiq accused Mr Cameron of once again using British Muslims as “a political football to score cheap points to appear tough.”
And Muslim Council of Britain secretary-general Shuja Shafi said Mr Cameron’s aim for better integration “falls at the first hurdle” if he has to bully Muslim women to drive his ideology.
Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham said: “His clumsy and simplistic approach to challenging extremism is unfairly stigmatising a whole community.
“There is a real danger that it could end up driving further radicalisation rather than tackling it.”