Young Muslims are drawn to fundamentalist Islam in the same way young Germans were attracted to fascism in the 20th century, David Cameron will suggest today, as he sets out a five-year strategy to combat Isis-inspired radicalisation.
In a speech in Birmingham, Mr Cameron will say Islamic extremist ideology is based on the same intolerant ideas of “discrimination, sectarianism and segregation” that led to the rise of Hitler and that still exist in the far right.
He will also reject suggestions that Western foreign policy has contributed to the rise of Isis and its popularity among Muslim populations in the West, arguing that such extremism existed long before the Iraq war.
The Prime Minister will also announce details of a new drive to promote integration led by the Government’s “tsar” for troubled families, Louise Casey. This will include addressing issues around integration, language and employment and learning from “past mistakes” where government funding was “simply handed” over to “self-appointed ‘community leaders’” who “sometimes used it in a divisive way”.
Downing Street said Mr Cameron was determined to make tackling Islamic extremism in Britain a central priority over the next five years with a comprehensive strategy that involved not just the police and the criminal justice system but also “softer interventions” to tackle the root causes of radicalisation.
However he is likely to face criticism for the tough language in the speech from some in the Muslim community who have warned it could play into the hands of extremists.
Addressing the threat posed by radical Islam in Britain Mr Cameron is expected to say that for “all our successes as a multiracial, multi-faith democracy” Britain faces the “struggle of our generation” to counter extremist ideology.
“What we are fighting in Islamist extremism is an ideology,” he will say.
“It is an extreme doctrine and like any extreme doctrine, it is subversive. [It] subscribes to intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish.
“Ideas which are hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality. Ideas which actively promote discrimination, sectarianism and segregation. Ideas – like those of the despicable far right – which privilege one identity to the detriment of the rights and freedoms of others.”
Mr Cameron will argue that such a “warped world view” leads to conclusions that 9/11 was “actually inspired by Mossad to provoke the invasion of Afghanistan” and that the British security services knew about 7/7, but “didn’t do anything about it because they wanted to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash”.
He will say that extreme views can gain traction – especially with the young. “Like so many ideologies that have existed before – whether fascist or communist – many people, especially young people, are being drawn to it,” he will say. “So we need to understand why it is proving so attractive.”
Mr Cameron will reject claims that support for Isis is formed on the basis of “historic injustices and recent wars, because of poverty and hardship”. Instead he will argue that the “root cause of the threat we face is the extremist ideology itself”.
“Like any extreme doctrine, it can seem energising, especially to young people,” he will say. “They are watching videos that eulogise Isil (Isis) as a pioneering state taking on the world that makes celebrities of violent murderers.
“So people today don’t just have a cause in Islamist extremism in Isil, they now have its living and breathing expression.”
Mr Cameron will add that “adherents” of radical Islam are “overpowering other voices within Muslim debate, especially those trying to challenge it”.
“There are so many strong, positive Muslim voices being drowned out,” he will add.
Mr Cameron will suggest that if the ideology is tackled then the “right approach for defeating this extremism follows”.
Downing Street said Mr Cameron would use the speech to set out his “blueprint” of how to achieve this.
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