Amazing, really, that this would be controversial at all. Really, it isn’t much. I’m glad he said it, but much more needs to be said. Tolerance and equal treatment aren’t close to being enough on which to build a strong society. As I have been saying for years, we must restore sanity to immigration policies, or all will be lost. “Blair Says Immigrants to U.K. Have Duty to Integrate (Update1),” by Mark Deen and Caroline Alexander for Bloomberg, with thanks to Wallygreeninker:
Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Tony Blair said immigrants have a duty to integrate into society, his latest attempt to limit divisions between Muslims and other cultures in the U.K.
“The right to be in a multicultural society was always implicitly balanced by a duty to integrate, to be part of Britain,” Blair said in a speech in London today. “Integration isn’t about culture or lifestyle” it is about shared values: tolerance, equal treatment and the rule of law, he said.
Blair has been stressing assimilation since British-born Muslim youths killed 52 in suicide bomb attacks in London last year. His push is part of a wider debate across Europe about the place of non-Christian immigrants in societies that increasingly separate religion from public life.
In October, Blair backed other government ministers in saying that Muslim women who wear a face-covering veil separate themselves from society. Britain’s communities minister Ruth Kelly told Muslims on Oct. 11 that the nation holds a set of “non-negotiable values.”
British leaders, Blair said, must “reassert the duty to integrate, to stress what we hold in common and say: these are the shared boundaries within which we all are obliged to live,” Blair said today. This is “precisely in order to preserve our right to our own different faiths, races and creeds.”