David Cameron has said it is time for the Muslim “silent majority” to stand up and tackle Islamist extremism in their communities. The Prime Minister said those who have so far failed to confront the fanatics’ ideology can “make all the difference” and must speak up.
He said they were central to challenging their warped views and can show young people how to be proud to be both Muslim and British. Mr Cameron spoke out as he prepared to launch the Government’s extremism strategy designed to tackle fanatics and hate preachers and restrict their activities.
But writing on Facebook, he added: “As a government, I know we must own this problem. But our Muslim communities must own it, too. We have all got a critical part to play, but I strongly feel the currently silent majority can make all the difference.
“They’re central to standing up and challenging the warped interpretation of theology and scripture. They’re central to putting forward a liberal, tolerant and inclusive Islam, and demonstrating how it can work in harmony with democracy, freedom and equality. They can show the boy in East London or the girl in Birmingham how proud you can feel to be both British and Muslim, without conflict or contradiction. And in standing up, by speaking out, I am confident that we will defeat the extremists, and together build the Greater Britain that is within our grasp.”
Mr Cameron will later say that defeating Islamist extremists “will be the struggle of our generation” as he reveals a series of new laws to “disrupt” radicals operating in Britain. Mr Cameron will announce sweeping new powers for the Disclosure and Barring Service to ensure that anyone with a conviction for terrorist or extremist activity is automatically banned from working with children and vulnerable people – in the same way as those convicted of sexual offences against children.
He will also announce Asbo-style restriction orders, named “extremist disruption orders”, designed to restrict Islamist preachers from broadcasting, using social media or speaking at public events. The Government will also extend powers allowing parents to apply for their children’s passports to be removed if they fear they are at risk of travelling abroad to fight alongside terrorists. Under the current rules, parents could apply to have the passports of under 16s removed by the authorities. However, Mr Cameron will say this will now be extending to under 18s amid fears that terror groups such as Isil are using social media websites like Twitter to radicalise teens and convince them to travel to Syria.
Mr Cameron will say that the measures are to be included in a new extremism bill.
He will signal his intention to revive the so-called “snoopers’ charter”, which was blocked by the Liberal Democrats during the coalition and will give the security services tough new powers to monitor telephone and internet communications by suspected terrorists.