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A group of English Defence League members are watched by mounted police as they march through Luton today. PA Wire

David Cameron says "state multiculturalism" has failed in UK

British PM calls for “shared national identity” to tackle extremist views and ideology in all its forms, as right wing group holds rally in England.

ECHOING COMMENTS MADE BY German Chancellor Angela Merkel a few months ago with regard to her own country, David Cameron today said efforts at cultivating “state multiculturalism” have failed in UK.

The British Prime Minister said the UK needs to develop a stronger “shared national identity” to prevent extremism.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference this morning, Cameron said that it was time to “turn the page on the failed policies of the past”:

Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values.

Cameron said it was time for governments and societies to confront “extremist ideology” in all its forms.

He also said Islamist extremism should be distinguished from Islam, which “is a religion observed peacefully and devoutly by over a billion people”.

Right wing rally

Cameron’s speech comes as right wing group the English Defence League held a rally in Luton and clashed with anti-fascist demonstrators. The Telegraph reports that over 1,500 police officers were posted in Luton today as several thousand EDL supporters were expected to attend the event.

Confrontations between the EDL and Unite Against Fascism began as early as 10am.

The EDL had invited controversial US pastor Terry Jones, who threatened to burn copies of the Qu’ran last year to mark 9/11, to attend one of their events recently. The invite was subsequently retracted because of Jones’ comments on homosexuality and race, according to a spokesperson. Jones has been banned from travelling to the UK to attend another event.

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