Dear David Cameron – This Muslim girl can. Because of her mum

Dear David Cameron,

Yesterday you linked the lack of english speaking skills to terrorism and specifically honed in on Muslim women stating that there is a section of society susceptible to being swept away and lured in by ISIS.  I was left a bit baffled by that.  But then I increasingly am these days whenever you say something.  My eyes hurt more and more from all the eye rolling.  Your confidently made statement was so flawed but you’ve promised £20 million to start fixing the problem.  I just don’t get it.  Personally I think you should spend that on the Northern floods but that’s by the by. Let me explain. 

You did have a valid point about integration and about how everyone should speak the English language better.  That’s not a just a Muslim woman issue though.  It’s a hang up that is part and parcel of migration and affects all cultures.    You will find pockets of these communities all over the world.  Ex-pats living in a country where some will easily integrate into society and some will live amongst like minded people.  With that you get places like China town, the curry mile, the amazing bagel places.  It’s not a problem unique to England and most definitely not down to Muslim women not learning the language.

You stated Muslim women with poor English language skills need to improve them and then went on to link it to combating terrorism.   From what I’ve seen over the last few years, 100% of those home made videoes from ISIS recruits have all been made by young lads with rude boy accents who “talk like dat, you get me”.   I’ve never once seen an army of Muslim women talking about killing non-believers, gesturing wildly as their English skills are so bad.  I could be wrong, I’ve stopped watching the news too much these days.  Maybe it’s because you talk about ISIS so much that everything is starting to look the same now?  

A massive chunk of those with poor English skills are migrants that came over to England between the 50s and 70s.  There was a huge drive for labourers at the time, to fill up the mills, to rebuild the country after the war.   Those migrants are now 50 and above and you won’t catch them flocking to terrorism.  You’ll find them looking after their grand kids during the week days and sat about at family parties at weekends complaining about how their joints ache, their diabetes is out of control, how their little terror of a grandchild is running them ragged but how they wouldn’t change it for the world.

The majority of those migrants with poor English speaking skills settled here decades ago and raised their kids without their own family around for support, pushing their little ones hard through education so that they would have an amazing future.  My mum was one of those, an Indian migrating to England from Kenya.  She gets by politely with her English.  Her kids improved it a lot through the years and her grandkids continue to do so day after day.   Because of her (and her husband, my dad), her kids speak 4 languages each, got degrees and now work in good jobs.  They give back to society by paying their taxes, paying it forward to charities and trying to raise their own kids right.  Because of her, this Muslim girl can and did.   

Some of my closest and oldest Muslim friends come from a similar background. Between us there are doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, accountants, orthoptists, care workers, teachers, IT workers. I could go on all day.  90% of their parents possess limited English speaking skills.  It didn’t lead them or any of their kids to terrorism.  Their work ethic, thirst for education and hard work led their kids to having a better future.  I’m not special, this isn’t just unique to my circle.  You’ll find this in the majority of communities and cultures; people striving to do their best.

And I bet you, if you asked each one of these individuals they would say this Muslim did. Because of their mum (and dad!). 

27 thoughts on “Dear David Cameron – This Muslim girl can. Because of her mum”

  1. Madam. You have nailed it! Great post.

    I’m not sure where he gets his idiotic knee-jerk ideas from, but I’m pretty sure they was to encourage integration and reduce extremism ISN’T to send their mothers “back where they came from”.

    Idiot man. I can hardly think of a family I know which isn’t blended in some way with immigrants, wherever they came from. I’m pretty sure there are at least a thousand better ways to spend money on the issue of extremism than this. Good work.

  2. Such a great post Tas…you are spot on! I just cannot listen to the rubbish spouted by him, like you say that money could be used for something much better than this supposed ‘threat’ he has in his head. Very well said!

  3. Great post! I do the eye rolling thing a lot whenever DC talks too…I usually get it prepped before he even opens his mouth as I’m bound to need to use it. What’s really sad is that he always responds so quickly with knee jerk statements that seem SO poorly thought out but that are bound to appeal to people who sit grumbling about immigrants “taking our jobs”. He doesn’t seem to care about making sure he understands what he is talking about and that it’s even fair. And yet alienating sections of society (even more) SHOULD be his biggest worry! It’s really sad and frustrating.

    Your mum sounds fab. x

  4. Fabulous post! I think it’s the common belief that people who don’t speak English are stupid. Growing up in a large Portuguese community in the US I met many women who didn’t speak English well. They never needed to as they worked as seamstresses in textile mills surrounded by other Portuguese women. I’m not saying this was the best thing to do but it just was. They worked hard and pushed their children harder to be and do better than they did. They left everything the knew to start over in a country where they didn’t know the language and the culture- strong doesn’t do them justice. I don’t think people understand the steel that run through people who decide to leave the country of their birth.

    The idea that not speaking English is what is driving young people to radicalisation is missing the point and more than that it’s dangerous and lazy.

  5. Tas a brilliant post, it’s so tough as I get the fact that people have to start looking at the parents, but this is not just extremism, it is theft, violent crime, murder, fraud, drugs alcoholism all the things that make our society so wrong. So many parents get it so right, teach their kids right from wrong, and society has shining examples of great parenting in all walks of life. But trust me, as a teacher so many parents get it so wrong, let their kids rule the roost, have no boundaries, lead bad examples, turn a bling eye. This is not a Muslim problem, and it is not a Mum problem, it affects all races it is a society problem across the board. I hate that respectable families such as yours feel that have to justify themselves because others cast judgment. You are amongst friends lovely lady and never let statements like this make you forget that x
    Sarah Christie recently posted…From Tween To TeenMy Profile

  6. People are so critical of Asian and other ghettos – and they are an issue. But by far the worst at integrating to new cultures and learning local languages are the British expats!

  7. Ah fab post! I can hand on heart say that when I teach more often than not the parents that are pushing their kids are the Muslim ones. When their Mums turn up on parents they come with Aunts and Sisters and they all want to work together to ensure that their daughter or niece is working to her full potential. They are are happy to point out to their child if they want to work harder and the (very small) percentage that can’t speak English ensure there is someone on hand to help them. Fab post xxx
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  8. I love this, and I’m glad you’ve had such a positive reaction to this post. People need to see every side of the story, not just the narrow-minded one voiced by our Prime Minister.
    I really hope more people like you speak out.

  9. Absolutely agree! My mums English isn’t great but she gets by and is still learning and picking from us and our kids in her late 50s! And all her children got degrees and decent jobs and make their contributions to society and the world. All these new policies only go about isolating the Muslim community and focus on our differences rather then our similarities.

  10. I LOVE THIS POST.
    I LOVE IT.
    So absolutely on the money and just what needs saying. I have so many issues with the incredible and naive generalizations which are all over the news at the moment- I often wonder about blogging my response but then DC says something else ridiculous and I can’t respond to them all!!

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