Warsi: Cameron wrong to target British Muslims over radicalisation

David Cameron is at risk of demoralising British Muslims with his “misguided emphasis” on saying that some people in the community are quietly condoning Islamist extremism, according to a former cabinet colleague and Conservative party co-chair. Writing in the Guardian, Lady Warsi said the prime minister may have further alienated Muslims with a speech about tackling radicalisation, which he made on Friday.

She warned that Cameron and ministers lacked the credibility to demand that British Muslims do more to weed out extremism when the government was itself failing to adequately champion and support them – although she said she did support the prime minister’s anti-extremist intention.

Criticising Cameron’s heavy focus on “Muslim community complicity”, Warsi wrote:“My concern is that this call to Muslims to do more, without an understanding of what they already do now, will demoralise the very people who will continue to lead this fight. As one prominent female Muslim activist told me: ‘This speech has undermined what I’ve been doing.’
“David Cameron is right that there are ‘some’ – a minority within a minority within a minority – who condone the Isis view of the world, but there are many, many, many more of this minority who are fighting a very real and sustained battle, the same battle he is fighting. They know they have to do more, they are willing to do more but they will do it a lot better knowing we are on the same side. “The government needs to champion them, support them. Only then will it
have the credibility to demand that communities themselves do more.”

Sayeeda Warsi criticised David Cameron for giving his radicalisation speech in Bratislava rather than Bradford or Birmingham. Photograph: Paul Cooper/Rex
Sayeeda Warsi criticised David Cameron for giving his radicalisation speech in Bratislava rather than Bradford or Birmingham. Photograph: Paul Cooper/Rex

The outspoken intervention came after Cameron told a global security summit in Slovakia. Cameron chose to make his speech at a time of heightened concerns about Britons travelling to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic State.