By Tariq Ramadan {Rather than insisting on Muslims’ own duty to integrate, British society must reconcile itself with its self-professed values} Let us look closely at recent developments in government policy toward Muslims. The British Muslim reaction to the July 7 attacks was exemplary, as Ken Livingstone pointed out, and this was a proof that they were well integrated into society. A policy of constructive engagement would have spared no effort to make the best of these tragic events. Instead, the British government has adopted an attitude of double denial, at home and abroad. Obsession with the “terrorist threat” rapidly colonised debate and drove the government headlong into an approach restricted to the “fight against radicalisation and extremism”. Though it appeared normal to deal with the issue, the “Muslim question” could in no way be reduced to one of security. Further, this policy was accompanied by a demeaning – and frequently paternalistic – argument on the necessity of “integration”. Muslims, so it went, must accept those British values (liberty, tolerance, democracy, etc) that make up the essence of “Britishness”. This reductive argument is dangerous on two counts…

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