The minority of Muslim men in Britain who have "backwards" attitudes to women must be confronted, David Cameron has said, as he vowed to review the role played by Britain's religious councils, including Sharia courts.
The Prime Minister said that the lack of integration of some Muslim communities allowed "appalling practices" such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage.
He wrote in The Times how he met Muslim women, some of whom "painted an alarming picture of forced gender segregation, discrimination and social isolation from mainstream British life".
"This is Britain. In this country, women and girls are free to choose how they live, how they dress and who they love. It's our values that make this country what it is, and it's only by standing up for them assertively that they will endure," he wrote.
Cameron will announce on Monday (18 January) a £20m language fund to help the 22% of Muslim women in the UK who have little or no English and raised the prospect that migrants who failed to improve their language skills could lose the chance to remain in Britain.
In his article, Cameron said it was up to migrants to improve their English language skills if they wanted to extend their stay in the UK or seek citizenship.
There are no plans to remove people who fail to reach a required level, although language skills are taken into account when people request to extend visas or apply for permanent residence in the UK.
He said he wanted to bring into the mainstream women from Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, in particular — 60 per cent of whom he says are economically inactive.
His comments come at a time of great sensitivity surrounding Muslim integration in Europe. The sex attacks in Cologne by men of mainly north African origin, have made precarious the political future of German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Previously, the Muslim Council of Britain had criticised Cameron's policies for Muslim integration