The Government's integration review has received a passionately-divided response


A long-awaited review looking into how well immigrants are able to integrate in Britain has received a very mixed response, highlighting the division the report suggests is increasing as Britain becomes more diverse.

Dame Louise Casey's Government-commissioned review said the UK could "no longer duck difficult issues", and that "misogyny and patriarchy" in some communities is widening inequality.

Dame Louise Casey's report is being criticised and praised (John Stillwell/PA)
Dame Louise Casey's report is being criticised and praised (John Stillwell/PA)

The review, ordered by David Cameron in 2015 to report on social integration amid concerns that hundreds of radicalised young Britons were joining Islamic State, raises concerns about the pace of immigration to places like Sheffield where "one school has gone from less than 5% non-UK nationals to 95% non-UK nationals within a few years."

Dame Helen said elements would be "hard to read", particularly for Muslim communities which already felt under pressure, but she said the country had to face up to "uncomfortable" problems.

She said her problem was with Muslim men whose "misogyny and patriarchy" is increasing inequality "in these highly segregated areas".

"I, only last Thursday, was in a community where women who have lived here for years are not allowed out of their house without their men's permission," she told BBC Radio 4.

Muslims take part in prayers for Eid-al-Adha in Birmingham (Joe Giddens/PA)
Muslims take part in prayers for Eid-al-Adha in Birmingham (Joe Giddens/PA)

The report suggested a number of steps in order to reduce inequality and segregation along racial or religious lines in the UK - including requiring people applying for British citizenship to take an "oath of integration".

It recommended that schoolchildren should be taught "British values" of tolerance, democracy and respect to help bind communities together amid growing "ethnic segregation".

It called on the Government to back a new programme to strengthen cohesion through promotion of the English language, raising employment levels among the most marginalised groups and "emancipating" women trapped in social isolation.

It also highlighted the "huge national, cultural and symbolic value" of British citizenship, urging the promotion of British laws, history and values within the core school curriculum to build "integration, tolerance, citizenship and resilience" in children.

The review has received a lot of praise, with comments on social media congratulating Dame Helen for telling the "horrible truth" and reporting "what most people have known for years".

Labour's Chuka Umunna is a fan, praising it as a "very important report which highlights how a lack of integration adversely impacts on us all, whatever your background", while others have said the report speaks "complete sense".

But praise is not universal.

Despite Umunna saying that "tackling segregation and increasing integration is not about attributing blame and attacking immigrants", the report was praised by both Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson.

It was labelled "excellent" by Farage and, while former EDL leader Tommy Robinson's only criticism seemed to be that segregation in Britain, in his opinion, is purely along "religious" lines and not racial. He also suggested an amendment that when an immigrant breaches their oath they are "automatically deported".

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi appeared to suggest better living conditions and more money would result in increased integration, or less segregation.

LBC's James O'Brien spoke of integration as a transaction, and one that he feared many living in Britain weren't prepared to take part in.

And he wondered out loud on his show whether "liberal values and tolerance are actually British values".

"I would love to (think they are), but I don't any more," he said.

"A country where you can put up a poster of people fleeing war with massive echoes of Goebbels' Nazi propaganda with the phrase 'Breaking Point' on it. You can unveil that on the day that an elected British politician gets murdered by a white supremacist terrorist.

"And then Louise Casey comes out and tells me that I live in a country where liberalism and tolerance are somehow fundamental to our national identity. Get lost. No they're not. Intolerance and illiberalism are the new watchwords for 2017."

War veteran, public speaker and author Harry Leslie Smith feels too much emphasis is being placed on immigration altogether.

Some are wondering whether an unfair emphasis is being placed on some immigrants, while others are left alone.

Others have questioned what an oath of integration would look like.

While Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation condemned the report as "inflammatory, divisive, pandering to the agenda of the far right".

"We are saddened that once again British Muslims have become a political football which is bashed from time to time without any regard for the impact this has on individuals who then are subjected to threats and violence," he said.

Elsewhere, a conflicting report praising the integration of Muslims into Britain is being circulated from a couple of years ago.

Given the reaction online, at least one goal of the report seems to be being fulfilled - people definitely aren't "ducking the issue".