Thursday, 9 December, 2021
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Cameron unveils strategy to beat Islamist extremism

Cameron unveils strategy to beat Islamist extremism

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LONDON: Prime Minister David Cameron has set out the government's strategy to defeat the "poison" of Islamist extremism in Britain.

 

He pledged to tackle what he called "the failures of integration" which have seen hundreds of UK citizens joining Islamic State (IS) militants.

 

Some British-born Muslims "have little attachment" to UK society, he said.

 

He promised to act to "de-glamourise" groups like IS by making young people aware of the "brutal reality".

 

Speaking in Birmingham, Cameron set out four major issues which needed to be addressed - countering the "warped" extremist ideology, the process of radicalisation, the "drowning out" of moderate Muslim voices, and the "identity crisis" among some British-born Muslims.

 

He talked about Britain as a "multi-racial, multi-faith democracy" and as a "beacon to the world". He said no-one should be demonised and moderate Muslims also hated the "sick world view" of extremists.

 

"I want to work with you to defeat this poison," he said.

 

He said the government's strategy included plans to:

  • Set up a new scheme allowing parents to have their own children's passports removed if they suspect them of planning to travel abroad to join a radical group
  • Enable the communications watchdog Ofcom to clamp down on cable TV channels broadcasting extremist messages
  • "Incentivise" schools to become more integrated
  • Address the problem of radicalisation in prisons and online
  • Set up a new engagement forum
  • Launch a study looking at how extremism spreads
  • Look at the allocation of social housing to prevent further segregation of communities
  • Consult on introducing lifetime anonymity for the victims of forced marriages
  • Find ways to emphasise British values

 

Cameron said: "This is how I believe we can win the struggle of our generation.

"Countering the extremist ideology; standing up and promoting our shared British values; taking on extremism in all its forms, both violent and non-violent; empowering those moderate and reforming voices who speak for the vast majority of Muslims that want to reclaim their religion; and addressing the identity crisis that some young people feel by bringing our communities together and extending opportunity for all."

 

He also spoke about a lack of confidence when it came to enforcing British values, referring specifically to forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

 

"No more turning a blind eye on the basis of cultural sensitivities," he said.

 

He said the UK needed to "de-glamorise" the extremist ideology and conspiracy theories used by groups such as IS, also known as Isil.

 

"This is a group that throws people off buildings, that burns them alive... This isn't a pioneering movement, it is a vicious, brutal and fundamentally abhorrent existence," he said.

 

"And here's my message to any young person thinking of going out there. You won't be some valued member of a movement - you are cannon fodder for them.

 

"They will use you. If you are a boy, they will brain wash you, strap bombs to your body and blow you up. If you are a girl they will enslave and abuse you. That is the sick and brutal reality of Isil."

 

The government is expected to set out a wider counter-extremism strategy later this year which will include legislation.

 

Police and security services believe at least 700 extremists have travelled to fight with IS militants who have taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria, with half since returned and posing a domestic terror threat.

 

Talha Asmal, 17, from Dewsbury, is believed to have become Britain's youngest ever suicide bomber when he reportedly blew himself up in Iraq last month.

 

Cameron has suggested he could soon seek Parliament's approval to extend UK military air strikes from Iraq into Syria, telling a US television network he wanted Britain to "step up and do more" to "destroy this caliphate".