The Muslim community are a 'mature and fundamental part of our society' and should be treated as such said Theresa May.
She told the audience of influential British Muslims gathered at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, that the coalition government will engage with them on all aspects of policy - not just counter-terrorism.
‘As citizens of the UK, you will have your own individual hopes, needs and concerns on many areas of government policy, just like everybody else,’ she said.
Achievements in politics
The Home Secretary, who is also Minister for Women and Equalities, said the Muslim community has achieved a great deal in recent years, pointing to the first ever female Muslim cabinet minister - Baroness Warsi - as evidence of significant progress in national politics.
This adds, she said, to a proud tradition of involvement in local politics: ‘Let us all hope that … more young Muslims become involved in British politics in all parties and at all levels’.
Freedom, fairness and responsibility
She said that central to the coalition government are the ideas of ‘freedom, fairness and responsibility,’ and said progress has already been made on the freedom agenda by steps taken to scrap ID cards.
Counter-terrorism powers will also be reviewed to ensure a balance between public safety and civil liberties. ‘We will get the balance right,’ she promised.
Integration is key
Ms May explained that integration is another important aspect of the government’s agenda: ‘We believe in people throughout our country, from all communities, coming together, working together, supporting and trusting each other’.
Part of the drive for integration, she asserted, is challenging extremists ‘who oppose this and want to drive us apart’.
Tinged with sadness
The Home Secretary said she was delighted to celebrate Eid, but of this year’s celebration was tinged with sadness following the recent floods in Pakistan.
She called the charitable response from the British public - Muslim and non-Muslim - ‘swift and generous’ and ‘something of which we can all be proud’.