Extremism: a conversation worth having

14th June 2013 at 01:00

I recently came across a speech made by Michael Gove in June 2009, titled "What is education for?" While I learned little from it, I did discover it was here that the man who was soon to be England's education secretary first publicly denigrated community cohesion, saying that it "gets in the way of ... education". As soon as the new coalition government had the chance, it deprioritised this important area, which goes to the heart of our multicultural society. While in theory schools still have a duty to promote community cohesion, it means little in practice.

In Birmingham, which is currently home to about 187 communities, parallel and separate living is very much alive. In my new book, Dear Birmingham: A Conversation with My Hometown, I stress the importance of bringing people together.

While I would support Professor Ted Cantle's call to put cohesion back on the schools agenda ("Schools must play a key role in combating extremism, experts say", 31 May), in my view they alone cannot be expected to deal with this major area. The source of many of the problems and issues surrounding conflict and "un-community" lies beyond school; the response to them equally needs to involve the whole community.

Karamat Iqbal, Author of Dear Birmingham.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today