Muslims must take responsibility for the radicalisation of their community and stop blaming others, UK Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to say later today. He will tell an international security conference that the time for blame shifting about the cause of radical jihad has passed and ownership of the problem must be taken by Muslims alone.
According to The Times, Mr Cameron will be attending the Globsec meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia and will warn against the false narrative of religious victimhood:
“That blame game is wrong and it is dangerous. By accepting the finger pointing — whether it’s at agencies or authorities — we are ignoring the fact that the radicalisation starts with the individual and we would be in danger of overlooking many of the ways we must try to stop it at the source.
“We need to treat the causes, not just the symptoms. Of course, we will do everything we can to help the police and intelligence agencies to stop people travelling to Syria. But we mustn’t miss the point: they are not responsible for the fact that people have decided they want to go.”
He will criticise so-called non-violent extremists who he says allow the jihadist ideology to take hold because they “buy into some of these prejudices giving the extreme Islamist narrative weight and telling fellow Muslims: ‘You are part of this’.
“This paves the way for young people to turn simmering prejudice into murderous intent. To go from listening to firebrand preachers online to boarding a plane to Istanbul and travelling onward to join the jihadis.”
Mr Cameron’s uncompromising warning comes after the growing jihadist link to Britain was highlighted earlier this week by fears that a family from Bradford to join ISIS. He will refer to the case of the three Dawood sisters, now confirmed to have travelled to the Middle East with their nine children aged three to 15 and crossed the border into Syria.
He will point to the case of Talha Asmal, the 17-year-old from Dewsbury, who carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq, citing him as an example of radicalised youth embracing the teaching of “extremist ideology.”
“The cause is ideological. It is an Islamist extremist ideology one that says the West is bad and democracy is wrong that women are inferior and homosexuality is evil.”
He will ask the conference to consider how people are drawn to such extreme views.
“I am clear that one of the reasons is that there are people who hold some of these views who don’t go as far as advocating violence, but do buy into some of these prejudices,” Mr Cameron is expected to say.
“This paves the way for young people to turn simmering prejudice into murderous intent.”
Downing Street sources, quoted by the Daily Express, said Mr Cameron was concerned that the fight against jihadists may have become too focused on attempts to stop extremists travelling to the Middle East rather than looking at how they become radicalised in the first place.
“It is not just about looking at the moment they cross the border, it is not just about police failures or Government failures, it is about looking at the people these individuals have interacted with,” said one insider.
Mr Cameron’s message to Muslims worried about potential radicalisation is that they should voice their concerns either to police or to senior figures within their communities.
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