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Migrants Must Learn English, British PM Says

  • VOA News

FILE - Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron delivers a speech on immigration at the Home Office in London, May 21, 2015.

FILE - Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron delivers a speech on immigration at the Home Office in London, May 21, 2015.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has attacked what he calls a "passive tolerance" in Britain's Muslim communities for segregation and discrimination against women, and says a poor grasp of the English language leaves Muslim women "more susceptible" to extremist rhetoric.

In an essay published Monday in The Times newspaper that drew immediate fire from critics, Cameron proposed nearly $30 million in government funding for English language classes for Muslim women. He also suggested some migrants could be deported for failure to speak the language.

Former Conservative lawmaker Sayeeda Warsi, Britain's first female Muslim Cabinet minister, welcomed the language funding. But she told British radio that Cameron's proposals are the result of "lazy and misguided" thinking that stereotypes British Muslim communities.

Under proposed new rules, foreigners coming to Britain on five-year spousal visas will be tested half-way through their stay to show improvement in English language skills. Media reports say those measurements would be a key factor in deciding whether to extend a person's right to remain.

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