British prime minister David Cameron has singled out Muslim women for language-proficiency tests. (Matt Dunham / AP)
British prime minister David Cameron has singled out Muslim women for language-proficiency tests. (Matt Dunham / AP)

Cameron finds new way to alienate Muslims



This week, David Cameron, the British prime minister, suggested that Muslim women who had acquired temporary residence in the United Kingdom could face deportation if they fail to learn English sufficiently. Moreover, he suggested that poor English skills could make people more vulnerable to radicalisation.

His government has now launched a £20m (Dh104m) fund for women in the UK to learn English – but, alas, Mr Cameron’s policy has already become shrouded in controversy.

Years ago, a number of political figures on the right-wing of the British political spectrum argued that “immigrants need to learn English” to fit into the UK. The framing of the argument was rather odd. According to the then government’s don of race relations, Trevor Phillips, the problem wasn’t that migrants did not want to learn English. Rather English language instruction was found wanting.

During the years of the recent coalition government under Mr Cameron, English-language instruction for migrants was cut not once but twice. Is the issue around the English language and recent arrivals to the UK more about demand or supply?

It is clear that in certain parts of the country, there are sections of migrant communities that do not speak English sufficiently well. Different members of parliament have witnessed that – but Mr Cameron’s way of introducing this issue is to put it into the context of security.

Rather than noting this as a problem across many communities and not necessarily simply one of "Muslim women", Mr Cameron has accused Muslim communities in public discourse yet again.

As a result, rather predictably, a number of Muslim community figures have reacted angrily. If Mr Cameron was looking for further cooperation, this is probably not the way to begin.

It seems the only times that Muslims in the UK are to be raised in public discourse is through a security paradigm – either they are susceptible to terrorism, or they are fighting against terrorism.

It is too much to claim that this could drive further radicalisation, but this still is another type of intervention that is unlikely to engender confidence in the government from within Muslim communities.

It is also not true, based on the evidence. The likes of ISIL and Al Qaeda do not rely on particular languages – indeed, they both have highly sophisticated media outreach via the English language.

If the issue is around identity, that would seem to apply to second or third generation descendants of migrants, rather than recent arrivals – and their English is as fine as most Britons, as they go through the regular schooling options of the UK.

Certainly, the extra provision of English-language training is going to make some communities more resilient and competitive in the UK. To that end, the British government ought to be providing a lot more than £20m, if such an issue is genuinely recognised.

But to end up, even if unintended, specifically threatening Muslim women with deportation, rather than focusing on the provision of assistance to learn English, is, as the former Conservative minister, Sayeeda Warsi, points out, “a very unusual way of empowering and emboldening women”.

But there are other unusual ways in which Mr Cameron is approaching a number of issues relevant to this discussion. He also said: “I am not saying separate development or conservative religious practices directly cause extremism ... But they can help a young person’s slide towards radicalisation.”

Of course, Mr Cameron is correct – such things can help. But what security analysts have indicated many times over the past decade is that there is no single pathway to radicalisation.

Rather, there are many different routes – and in many cases, conservatism in religious communities has acted as a buffer against radicalisation. The likes of ISIL are, if nothing else, a radical reformation exercise – and conservatism can be a tremendous force against that.

Mr Cameron’s policies shouldn’t be seen as pushing Muslims in the UK into radicalisation, as some are quick to note – but in order for those policies to be more effective, his government is going to have to ask far more questions of how relevant their own messaging is at present. As it stands at the moment, there is certainly much room for improvement on message as well as substance.

Dr HA Hellyer is an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London, and a non-resident senior fellow at the Rafik Hariri Centre for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC

On Twitter: @hahellyer

TECH SPECS: APPLE WATCH SERIES 9

Display: 41mm – 352 x 430; 45mm – 396 x 484; always-on Retina LTPO OLED, 2000 nits max; Ion-X glass (aluminium cases), sapphire crystal (stainless steel cases)

Processor: Apple S9 64-bit, W3 wireless, 2nd-gen Ultra Wideband

Capacity: 64GB

Memory: 1GB

Platform: watchOS 10

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Durability: IP6X, water resistant up to 50m, dust resistant

Battery: 308mAh Li-ion, up to 18h regular/36h low power; wireless charging

Cards: eSIM

Finishes: Aluminium – midnight, pink, Product Red, silver, starlight; stainless steel – gold, graphite, silver

In the box: Watch Series 9, woven magnetic-to-USB-C charging cable, band/loop

Price: Starts at Dh1,599 (41mm) / Dh1,719 (45mm)

SQUADS

UAE
Mohammed Naveed (captain), Mohamed Usman (vice-captain), Ashfaq Ahmed, Chirag Suri, Shaiman Anwar, Mohammed Boota, Ghulam Shabber, Imran Haider, Tahir Mughal, Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed, Fahad Nawaz, Abdul Shakoor, Sultan Ahmed, CP Rizwan

Nepal
Paras Khadka (captain), Gyanendra Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Pradeep Airee, Binod Bhandari, Avinash Bohara, Sundeep Jora, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Rohit Paudel, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Rajbanshi, Basant Regmi, Pawan Sarraf, Bhim Sharki, Aarif Sheikh

Name: Brendalle Belaza

From: Crossing Rubber, Philippines

Arrived in the UAE: 2007

Favourite place in Abu Dhabi: NYUAD campus

Favourite photography style: Street photography

Favourite book: Harry Potter

HAJJAN

Director: Abu Bakr Shawky 


Starring: Omar Alatawi, Tulin Essam, Ibrahim Al-Hasawi 


Rating: 4/5

The Lowdown

Kesari

Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Produced by: Dharma Productions, Azure Entertainment
Directed by: Anubhav Singh
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra

 

Paltan

Producer: JP Films, Zee Studios
Director: JP Dutta
Cast: Jackie Shroff, Sonu Sood, Arjun Rampal, Siddhanth Kapoor, Luv Sinha and Harshvardhan Rane
Rating: 2/5

Yemen's Bahais and the charges they often face

The Baha'i faith was made known in Yemen in the 19th century, first introduced by an Iranian man named Ali Muhammad Al Shirazi, considered the Herald of the Baha'i faith in 1844.

The Baha'i faith has had a growing number of followers in recent years despite persecution in Yemen and Iran. 

Today, some 2,000 Baha'is reside in Yemen, according to Insaf. 

"The 24 defendants represented by the House of Justice, which has intelligence outfits from the uS and the UK working to carry out an espionage scheme in Yemen under the guise of religion.. aimed to impant and found the Bahai sect on Yemeni soil by bringing foreign Bahais from abroad and homing them in Yemen," the charge sheet said. 

Baha'Ullah, the founder of the Bahai faith, was exiled by the Ottoman Empire in 1868 from Iran to what is now Israel. Now, the Bahai faith's highest governing body, known as the Universal House of Justice, is based in the Israeli city of Haifa, which the Bahais turn towards during prayer. 

The Houthis cite this as collective "evidence" of Bahai "links" to Israel - which the Houthis consider their enemy. 

 

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Veil (Object Lessons)
Rafia Zakaria
​​​​​​​Bloomsbury Academic

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

BLACKBERRY

Director: Matt Johnson

Stars: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Matt Johnson

Rating: 4/5

FROM THE ASHES

Director: Khalid Fahad

Starring: Shaima Al Tayeb, Wafa Muhamad, Hamss Bandar

Rating: 3/5

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

What is a Ponzi scheme?

A fraudulent investment operation where the scammer provides fake reports and generates returns for old investors through money paid by new investors, rather than through ligitimate business activities.