Muslim communities are “unlike others in Britain” and “will not integrate in the same way”, Labour’s former head of Britain’s equalities watchdog has stated.
Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission under Tony Blair, argued that it was disrespectful to merely assume that Muslim communities would integrate like other groups.
Addressing a meeting at the Policy Exchange think tank in Westminster on Monday, he said that Muslims “see the world differently from the rest of us”, the Times reports.
He added: “Continuously pretending that a group is somehow eventually going to become like the rest of us is perhaps the deepest form of disrespect”.
“Because what you are essentially saying is the fact that they behave in a different way, some of which we may not like, is because they haven’t yet seen the light. It may be that they see the world differently from the rest of us”, he explained.
“Part of the integration process is for the rest of us to grasp that people aren’t going to change their views simply because we are constantly telling them that basically they should be like us.”
The intervention comes just a week after the David Cameron announced extra funds to teach Muslim women English – one in five of whom cant speak the language. The Prime Minister linked a lack of English with extremism and radicalisation.
Mr. Philips was born to recently immigrated Guiana parents in 1953. At university he rose up the ranks of student politics to become the National Union of Students (NUS) president, and eventually joined the Labour Party.
He served as chairman of the London Assembly until February 2003, before resigning his seat to take up his appointment at the Commission for Racial Equality.
During his time in the London Assembly he repeatedly clashed with the hard left Mayor Ken Livingstone, now a chief adviser to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, over the issue of multiculturalism.
Mr. Livingstone was an enthusiastic supporter. Mr. Philips, however, argued that the policy was outdated and that it legitimised “separateness” between communities. He instead authorities should “assert a core of Britishness”.
He has criticised Islam, too, defended the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which caused riots in 2005, insisting that people should be able to offend one another.
The Muslim Council of Britain hit back at recent comments, claiming that asking Muslims to integrate would encourage discrimination.
“It assumes that Muslims are not equal, and not civilised enough to be part and parcel of British society, which they most certainly are,” the Muslim Brotherhood-linked council said.
“For too long Muslims have had to endure a media echo chamber, which amplifies the misconception that Muslims and their faith are incompatible with life in Britain. We dispute that notion.”
Mr. Philips released a controversial but critically acclaimed Channel 4 documentary in March 2015, called, “Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True”.
In an accompanying article in the Times, he once again slammed multiculturalism, under which: “Self-styled community leaders bargained for control over local authority funds that would prop up their own status and authority. Far from encouraging integration, it had become in their interest to preserve the isolation of their ethnic groups.”