Migrants to Britain should be able to speak English and ‘respect its laws and culture’, the UK’s most senior Asian politician has said.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid insisted it was not good enough for migrants to live in the UK for up to 50 years without being able to speak English.
The British-born Tory, whose parents came from Pakistan, also said there was no place for Sharia law in the UK legal system.
Mr Javid, a rising star at Westminster who has also taken on the role of Equalities Minister, suggested voters had legitimate concerns over immigration.
He said: ‘People want Britain to have more control over its borders and I think they are right.
‘People also say, when immigrants do come to Britain, that they should come to work, and make a contribution and that they should also respect our way of life and I agree with all of that.
‘It means things like trying to learn English. I know people myself, I have met people who have been in Britain for over 50 years and they still can’t speak English.
‘I think it’s perfectly reasonable for British people to say, “Look, if you’re going to settle in Britain and make it your home you should learn the language of the country and you should respect its laws and its culture”,’ he told the Sunday Telegraph.
The Coalition has introduced English language tests for non-EU citizens who want to settle in the UK. But a Daily Mail investigation revealed how the system was being undermined by fraudsters selling fake English language certificates for £500.
Mr Javid said Ukip leader Nigel Farage was right to respond to public concerns over immigration. ‘Many people throughout Britain are concerned about excessive immigration,’ he said. ‘Politicians do need to respond to those concerns.’
The Bromsgrove MP added that people should have a right to practise Sharia law amid reports that special community courts had been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester.
‘Where people want to have their own private arrangements between them, that is a matter for them... but there is no place for Sharia law in British law,’ said Rochdale-born Mr Javid, 44, a former banker.
He said he would pass Lord Tebbit’s controversial ‘cricket test’ – suggested as a way of gauging ‘loyalty’ for those with immigrant backgrounds – as he had always backed England in the sport.
The father of four made history last month by becoming the first Asian man in the Cabinet.
He has previously said: ‘My own family’s heritage is Muslim. Myself and my four brothers were brought up to believe in God, but I do not practise any religion. My wife is a practising Christian and the only religion practised in my house is Christianity.’
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said British Muslims should oppose the belief that converting from Islam is punishable by death.
He spoke out after an Islamic court in Sudan sentenced Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, a pregnant woman, to be executed for being a Christian.
Lord Carey won support from Inayat Bunglawala, chairman of Muslims4UK, who said: ‘It is so tragic that in the 21st century someone can still be sentenced to death for wanting to change their religion.’