David Cameron and Angela Merkel (Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

In a speech yesterday, British Prime Minister David Cameron declared multiculturalism, his country's long-standing policy of allowing immigrant groups to  keep their own ethnic identities and cultures, to be a failure. It's partly to blame for fostering Islamic extremism in the U.K., he said:

[Cameron] said the U.K. needs a stronger national identity to prevent people turning to extremism.

"If we are to defeat this threat, I believe it's time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past," he told an international conference in Munich.

"Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream," Cameron said during a panel discussion attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong."


Just how is pressuring people to assimilate — particularly in the area of religion — going to foster anything but resentment, and more extremism? Pardon our flashback to why early-American settlers journeyed across the pond in the first place.


Sheryl Huggins Salomon is senior editor-at-large of The Root and a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based editorial consultant. Follow her on Twitter.