You Can’t Fight Segregation and Support Faith Schools Mr. Cameron


The Conservative Conference is currently taking place in my home city of Manchester. Aside from it playing havoc with my morning commute, David Cameron has had some things of note to say about extremism and religious fundamentalism. There’s a more detailed summary over at The Telegraph, but I thought I’d post some of the paper’s highlights here.

On Jeremy Corbyn

Cameron says, of Corbyn:

“My friends, we cannot let that man inflict his security-threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating ideology on the country we love”


He also chastises Corbyn for describing the death of Bin Laden as a ‘tragedy’. Full context of that can be found here.

I’ve expressed my own dissatisfaction with the current Labour Leader on a recent episode of Taking The Myth. You can read a bit more about some of my shared concerns in this open letter to him on Left Foot Forward.

On Extremism

• Britain needs to confront extremism

• “When I read what some young people born and brought up in this country are doing, it makes me feel sick to my stomach.”

• Isil is murdering Muslims more than anyone else

• Take on extremism in all forms: violent and non-violent

• Segregation must be tackled

• Children spending “several hours each day at a Madrassa” where they are taught they should not mix with people of other religions; being beaten; and “swallowing conspiracy theories” about Jewish people

• Madrassas will be shut down if they are found to be teaching intolerance

• “No more” passive tolerance of female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriages of children

• Parents who take children for FGM will be arrested, people arranging forced marriages will be prosecuted

• “That’s right: less Britain-bashing, more national pride – our way, the Conservative way, the only way to greater days.”

There’s some strong viewpoints worthy of praise here, as well as some mixed messages unfortunately. Firstly, it’s fantastic to hear the leader of the current government taking an uncompromising stance on segregation, FGM, extremism and forced marriages. I’ve previously spoke with the excellent Emily Dyer of The Henry Jackson Society on many of these topics. Their urgency cannot be overstated.

Much of his rhetoric on extremism echoes the sentiment from his July speech which had some input from anti-extremist Maajid Nawaz. I discuss that with Maajid here.

However, by reiterating his commitment to free and faith schools, David Cameron demonstrates his government is a causal factor in the very segregation he deplores. This is the same Prime Minister who declared England a ‘Christian Country’ and encouraged more evangelism from the pious no less.

You may be shocked to learn that Britain only has one full-time campaigner against Faith Schools. That would be Jay Harman of The British Humanist Association. You may be further shocked to discover that whether or not the BHA can afford to retain his services largely depends on the outcome of this fundraising campaign. I would strongly urge you to consider supporting it.

Of course, actions speak louder than words. I’ll be keenly waiting on news of convictions regarding FGM and forced marriages.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.


  • Do not confuse all Free Schools with Faith Schools – many do, including our Government who introduced them. There are many flourishing non-faith Free Schools in the country.

    I did like his denouncement of ‘passive tolerance’ in the UK – about time somebody said it.

  • Hi Stephen – no I didn’t say you did but neither did Cameron in his speech. He merely stated his support for all Free Schools & the policy of opening more in the next 5 years. I could be corrected of course but I don’t think he specified faith schools in that part of his speech – although I take your point about faith schools being part of the problem. There are also local authority run faith schools too – both overt & covert. We are supposed to be a secular society but on the flipside they tend to produce good academic results.

    You were one of my earliest Twitter follows – big admiration for your work by the way.

  • Very good points well made.

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