News story

PM calls for "shared national identity"

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Prime Minister has identified segregation and separatism as key issues behind the threat of Islamic extremism and called for a "shared national identity"

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference this morning, Mr Cameron stressed the difference between Islam as a religion and Islamic extremism as a political ideology, and said that Western countries need to confront extremism rather than practice a “hands-off tolerance”.

The PM said that “the doctrine of state multiculturalism” had encouraged segregation and failed to supply “a vision of society” to which people want to belong.

He said:

Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.

We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.

We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values.

… I believe it’s time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past.

So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we - as governments and societies - have got to confront it, in all its forms.

And second, instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity, open to everyone.

Speeches and Transcripts: PM’s speech at the Munich Security Conference

Read more: Munich Security Conference website