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David Cameron on Multiculturalism

In February 2011, David Cameron made the following speech on multiculturalism at the Munich Security Conference.

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron

In his speech he criticised "state multiculturalism" claiming it had failed and arguing that the UK needed a stronger national identity to prevent people from turning to all kinds of extremism. The speech created a row and angered some Muslim groups, while others questioned its timing amid an English Defence League rally in the UK.

Listen to his speech below. A transcript of the speech can be found here.

Tasks and Activities

Comprehension

  1. What are Great Britain’s three aims when it comes to its defence against terrorism?
  2. David Cameron considers terrorism carried out by UK citizens the biggest threat to Great Britain’s security. How does he characterise these terrorists?
  3. What measures does David Cameron support to combat terrorism?
  4. How does he distinguish between Islamist extremism and Islam as a religion, in other words political ideology and religion?
  5. He accuses the “hard right” of fuelling Islamophobia. How?
  6. David Cameron states that the “soft left” does not distinguish between the ideology of extremism and Islam. What does he mean by this?
  7. What are some of David Cameron’s arguments against the “soft left”?
  8. What does he consider the root of terrorism?
  9. What are the main reasons why young Muslims are drawn to extremist ideology?
  10. Why does he blame multiculturalism for this?
  11. What does David Cameron suggest that governments around the world do to make it impossible for extremists to succeed?
  12. What practical things should governments do to promote local identity?

Discussion

  • Non-violent extremists are just as dangerous as violent ones.
  • Universities are bastions of freedom of speech and democracy; therefore, all ideologies no matter how extreme should be allowed to be taught.
  • Multiculturalism separates groups of people from each other, assimilation should be encouraged.

Research

Go online and check out the reactions to this speech. Note down some of the comments and who made them. What are some of the most compelling arguments? Write your own blog according to your convictions.

Suggested links:

Multiculturalism: What does it mean?

Cameron on multiculturalism: Blaming the victims

State multiculturalism has failed, says David Cameron

Row over David Cameron multiculturalism speech timing

Further Reading

Multicultural Britain

Multiculturalism - A Challenge?

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Current debates in the English-speaking world

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