UKIP has resorted to an explicitly anti-Muslim platform ahead of the General Election, announcing an “Integration Agenda” this that is both deeply discriminatory as well as authoritarian.
UKIP’s hardline anti-Islam leader Paul Nuttall announced that those living in the UK needed to “sign up to British law, sign up to a British way of life” before a series of proposed policies were unveiled by deputy leader Peter Whittle, Education spokesperson David Kurten and Equalities and Women spokesperson Margot Parker MEP.
These include banning the burka, a moratorium on new Islamic faith schools and invasive annual “medical examination” of young women deemed “at risk” of female genital mutilation (FGM). Such policies take UKIP firmly into far-right territory.
The ideas promoted today are yet to be formalised as official party policies (pending review by a policy scrutiny committee), but serve to establish the terrain upon which UKIP will seek to campaign.
“We are the party that speaks up about the threat we face from Islamism from without and within,” Whittle claimed.
“We need strong action, not political correctness, or we will all suffer the consequences as the number of areas with low integration spreads out and gets larger,” said Kurten.
“Crude multiculturalism, the notion that new migrant groups should be at liberty to follow the unmodernised cultural lifestyle of their country of origin, is the enemy of women’s rights,” said Parker, before stating that “overwhelmingly Islamic communities” are not taking on our “superior British values”.
Despite the fact UKIP claims to have consulted an “enormous” number of liberal Muslims about the policies outlined today (although Equalities Spokesperson Margot Parker was unable to name a number), the explicitness of the anti-Muslim rhetoric and the extremity of policies marks a radical – and deeply worrying – departure from the party’s libertarian roots and paints a stark picture of how far Nuttall is willing to go to in a bid to keep his struggling party relevant.
Nimko Ali, one of UK’s foremost anti-FGM campaigners and a survivor of the barbaric practice, condemned the new policy.
She tweeted: “Forcing girls at risk of FGM to have medical checks in an abuse of their human rights.
“UKIP are not just wrong but offensive as well.”
Unsurprisingly, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson), former leader of the far-right English Defence League, welcomed the measure with a tweet saying: “Finally.”
Running away from journalists today asking him about whether he would stand in the General Election, Mr Nuttall locked himself in a side room at the Westminster Bridge Marriott Hotel with his closest aides, after repeatedly swerving questions – insisting “today is not about me.”
Banning the burka
UKIP is pushing for the outlawing of the veil worn by some Muslim women, considering face coverings a “deliberate barrier to integration, and in many contexts, a security risk too”. UKIP may seek to enforce the ban by implementing fines.
“Face coverings such as the Islamic veil… say don’t speak to me, I will not speak to you. They are furthermore a potent symbol of female oppression,” said Whittle.
“They also constitute an increasingly serious security risk.”
Banning sharia law
UKIP is seeking to explicitly outlaw Sharia law, which it considers “a rival legal system” which “undermines women’s rights”. UKIP would also establish a legal commission to draw up proposals to disband Sharia courts.
“The public are rightly alarmed at the growth in Sharia courts, and the apparent unwillingness of the political class to face up to this,” said Whittle.
Forced examinations for girls deemed “at high risk” of FGM
Parker claimed that girls “identified as at risk” of female genital mutilation (FGM) should be subject to compulsory vaginal examinations. These vaginal checks would take place annually and upon return to the UK from trips overseas.
Failure to report FGM would be a specific criminal offence for any adult with knowledge that an instance of FGM had occurred. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would be made to work towards a presumption of prosecution for any parent whose daughter had suffered FGM.
Different race or religion to be “aggravating issue” in grooming cases
Parker proposed that when victims of grooming gangs were of a different racial or religious group than the offenders, this should be considered an “aggravating feature” of the offence by the CPS.
Parker explained her policy: “In other words, when gangs of Pakistani heritage men rape and abuse working class white girls, as has happened in so many towns and cities, it should now be treated as a hate crime.”
All official documents to be in “English Alone”
UKIP reiterated that the “only true incentive” to learning English was for all official documents to be “in English and English alone”. This was because not speaking English remained “a serious barrier not only to integration but to employment”.
Moratorium on faith schools
UKIP would close all new Islamic faith schools, both secondary and primary, until “substantial progress has been demonstrated in integrating Muslims into mainstream British society”.
UKIP would also immediately close schools where there was evidence of “Islamist ideology being taught or imposed on children”.
This would include schools in which “FGM is being promoted, or there are extreme uniform requirements such as head coverings or full-face veils”, and “particularly if there is hostility to this country, the West in general or Israel”.
Kurten justified this policy with reference to the 2014 Trojan horse scandal which she said was to “propagate Islamist ideology to children”.
“Thousands upon thousands of young hearts and minds in our schools, particularly our primary schools, were at risk, and we must never be found wanting in this department again. Islam is a poisonous strain and ideology and there is no doubt that it is being actively propagated,” she said.
Crack down on ‘honour’ crimes
UKIP would require the police and CPS to class any “honour” dimension to violent crimes as an aggravating factor, and therefore prioritised for investigation and prosecution.
Abolish postal votes to stop electoral fraud by minorities
UKIP would also end postal voting on demand, instead granting it only to those who pass a “higher threshold of demonstrable need”. UKIP’s rationale was that this would help combat “electoral fraud and vote-stealing, especially among minority communities”.
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