The government may be struggling with the worst economic crisis in 60 years, but don’t expect any let up in its members’ obsession with rights and equalities.
Government whip Sadiq Khan doesn’t think the proposed Single Equality Act goes far enough and wants it to include religious discrimination. Writing in a Fabian Society (the thinking wing of the Labour Party) pamphlet, Khan says the proposals should tackle religion and “end Islamophobia in the workplace”.
He added that Muslims feel like “second-class citizens”, which was fuelling alienation and the rise of extremism.
Khan believes that a combination of more rights and responsibilities for British Muslims is needed to “reconnect” them with the rest of society.
Khan also called for British Muslims to “step up to the plate”. “All of us must unequivocally agree that honour killings are murder and forced marriages kidnapping.” He also wants all immigrants to learn English and for British history to be compulsory in all schools.
Many employers must secretly wish that the Labour Party would follow its French socialist counterparts and adopt a more securalist approach to these issues. France takes a robustly securalist line on many issues even if current president Nicholas Sarkozy is taking an increasing interest in matters religious.
As Yasmin Alibhai-Brown said recently in The Independent: “A bigger game is being played here. Some ardent Christians, Jews, Hindus and Muslims are collaborating to demolish secularism in the UK, which has always been weak.”
Time for securalists to step up to the plate perhaps?