PM: Muslim women must learn English to tackle extremism

All migrants living in Britain must learn basic English or face being kicked out of the country, David Cameron has said, arguing such a move will help combat extremism.

Writing in The Times (£), David Cameron said more assertive action is needed to stop the isolation of women by some men in Muslim communities.

He said that such behaviour can cause a slide towards extremism and radicalisation.

ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports:

Discussing the issue on Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Cameron said there was a connection between language and battling extremism.

"If you’re not able to speak English, not able to integrate, you may find therefore you have challenges understanding what your identity is and therefore you could be more susceptible to the extremist message," he said.

In his Times article, the Prime Minister said Muslim women at a Community Engagement forum he chaired had told him of problems in parts of society - of forced gender segregation, of discrimination, and of social isolation.

Mr Cameron said he would face the "hard truths" required to confront a minority of Muslim men who still hold "backward attitudes" to women and who exercised "damaging control" over their families

He wrote:

Speaking on Radio 4, Mr Cameron said people living in Britain should be free to wear what they like and distanced himself from steps to ban items of clothing such as the burka.

"I don’t think that’s the way we do things in this country and I don’t think that would help," he said.

The PM also said that migrants who fail to improve their English language skills would lose their chance to remain in Britain.

Asked what would happen to people who fail English tests, he told the Today programme: "You can’t guarantee you’ll be able to stay if you’re not improving your language."

He pledged £20 million for language tuition in England, citing government data that claimed 22% of Muslim women in the country had little or no English.

The PM stressed it was not a job for government alone to build a stronger, more integrated society and that it was the responsibility of migrants to improve their English language skills if they wanted to extend their stay in the UK or seek citizenship.

He said: