Woolwich attack: As Michael Adebolajo showboats in court, PM attacks ‘poisoning’ of young minds

After Woolwich, Cameron pledges to dismantle ‘conveyor belt of radicalisation’ in schools and universities

University students and schoolchildren will be targeted in a new government anti-extremism drive to prevent the “conveyor belt of radicalisation” that resulted in the murder of a soldier, the Prime Minister has announced.

Cabinet ministers have been told to come up with plans to address the “poisoning” of young minds with “sick and perverted ideas”, David Cameron told the Commons. “When young men born and bred in this country are radicalised and turned into killers, we have to ask tough questions about what’s happening in our country,” he said.

“It is as if for some young people there’s a conveyor belt to radicalisation that has poisoned their minds. We need to dismantle this process at every stage – in schools, colleges, universities, on the internet, in our prisons, wherever it’s taking place.”

His comments followed court appearances by two men accused of murdering Drummer Lee Rigby with blades and cleavers outside Woolwich barracks in south-east London on 22 May.

Michael Adebolajo, 28, blew a kiss to a friend in the public gallery and refused to stand when he appeared before a judge for the first time yesterday since being released from hospital after he was shot and wounded by police and charged with murder.

Mr Adebolajo, of no fixed address, told the court that he wanted to be known as “Mujahid Abu Hamza” and made several attempts to interrupt proceedings at Westminster magistrates’ court in central London. He has been charged with the murder of Drummer Rigby, 25, a father-of-one from Rochdale, Lancashire, possessing a revolver and the attempted murders of two police officers who were referred to in court as only officers A48 and D49.

Wearing white shorts and a white shirt, Mr Adebolajo – who was released from hospital last week – had a plaster around his left arm. As the charges were put to him, he tried to speak but was stopped by District Judge Emma Arbuthnot. Before he was led away to the cells, Adebolajo told the judge: “I’m only a man. I would like to alleviate the pain, please, if you may.” He then kissed the Koran and his hands before pointing to the ceiling in a Usain Bolt-style salute.

His alleged accomplice, Michael Adebowale, 22, appeared at the Old Bailey via videolink from prison in a separate hearing. Both men were remanded in custody. Another 10 people have been arrested during the police inquiry, with two women released without charge and another eight men released on bail. Mr Cameron gave strong backing to the police and security services, describing them as the silent heroes and heroines of the country who would “not rest until they have brought all of those responsible to justice”.

He indicated that he would seek  to revive the controversial Communications Data bill following the killing.

He held the first meeting of a taskforce yesterday of senior cabinet colleagues that will be held monthly. They included the Education Secretary Michael Gove and Schools minister David Laws who have been told to examine ways to tackle extremism in schools. The Business Secretary Vince Cable is to monitor universities, a No 10 spokesman said. Other ministers will look at similar issues in prisons and communities although previous meetings have highlighted differences of approach within the Cabinet about how to tackle the problem.

Hazel Blears, a Labour member of the parliamentary intelligence and security committee which will investigate whether more could have been done to prevent the attack, said Mr Cameron’s comments marked a return to her party’s early intervention policy that was sidelined when his party came to power.

“It was like going back two years ago,” she said. “To give the Prime Minister credit, he asked if enough was being done. The answer is no.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot