David Cameron extremism speech: Muslim leaders give their views on the PM's plans

The PM set out a strategy to tackle 'poisonous ideology' of fundamentalism

Oliver Wright
Monday 20 July 2015 19:46
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The Prime Minister delivering a speech at Ninestiles Academy in Birmingham, where he said that new Government legislation will include powers to put non-violent extremists who radicalise young people "out of action"
The Prime Minister delivering a speech at Ninestiles Academy in Birmingham, where he said that new Government legislation will include powers to put non-violent extremists who radicalise young people "out of action"

Mohammed Shafiq: Chief Executive, Ramadhan Foundation

I am concerned that yet again Cameron is conflating the issue of extremism and terrorism with those of cohesion and integration.

He says that Muslims are not doing enough to integrate and that risks fostering extremism – but just what is enough and how do you measure it?

There is also a contradiction between Mr Cameron extolling British values such as free speech and then suggesting that Muslims who object to gay equality are somehow extremist and their views should not be tolerated.

Mohammed Shafiq: Chief Executive, Ramadhan Foundation

Everyone in this country, Muslims included, must have a right to express their views, no matter how intolerant they are.

On the positive side I think a lot of Muslim families will welcome being able to get children’s passports confiscated if they’re worried about them being radicalised without the risk of them being criminalised.

Cerie Bullivant: Spokesman, Cage

It is ridiculous for David Cameron to suggest that British foreign policy is not connected with the rise in support for Isis and Islamic fundamentalism.

The director of the CIA John Brennan recently said the West’s foreign policy is one of the factors pushing terrorism. Academics also disagree. There is lots of research showing foreign policy is a key motivation of those who carry out terrorist attacks. But there is another domestic problem which David Cameron is not addressing. A lot of Muslims don’t feel safe in the UK any more and the types of policies that Cameron is pushing are making that worse.

Cerie Bullivant: Spokesman, Cage

We are hearing people say, “We don’t trust this country. We don’t feel safe.” People feel that orthodox Islamic beliefs are being criminalised.

If we want to win hearts and minds we need to have open debate. And we are not going to get that by silencing people and shaming them and isolating them.

Khalid Mahmood: Labour MP

We’ve got to support our young people. The three girls who went off – we must take responsibility in the community for it. We can’t blame the state for everything. If you provide the right guidance in terms of our religious obligations ... If we can’t do that then how can we then blame everybody else?

Khalid Mahmood: Labour MP

We’ve got to work hand in glove with local and national institutions and the security services to make sure we’re doing the right thing.

Miqdaad Versi: Muslim Council of Britain

The worry is that the focus is on ideology as the primary cause of terrorism and radicalisation and that does not seem to tie very well with the academic research that seems to suggest that, in actual fact, the causes of terrorism are multifaceted.

There is a risk of over-simplifying the issue.

I think it’s very important to ensure there is a clear and unambiguous understanding of what is meant by extremism: what forms of free speech are going to be tailored and stopped.

Miqdaad Versi: Muslim Council of Britain

Is it going to include all forms of extremism as defined by the Government?

So, for example, we have a poll that suggests 37 per cent of the British population would support policies to reduce the number of Muslims in the UK.

That is a huge number. Is the Government going to be acting on those extreme views as well? I think our fear is that Islamaphobia has not been dealt with so far.

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