Prime Minister David Cameron said British Muslims should stop extremist ideologies taking root in their communities if they want to stem the flow of radicalized Islamists traveling to fight in Syria and Iraq.
Muslims who “quietly condone” prejudices either online or in their local community give credence to the recruiters encouraging young people to become fighters and suicide bombers, Cameron said in a speech Friday to a security conference in Bratislava, Slovakia.
“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 giving the extreme Islamist narrative weight and telling fellow Muslims ‘you are part of this,’” he said. “This paves the way for young people to turn simmering prejudice into murderous intent.”
Cameron used the example of Talha Asmal, a 17-year-old from Dewsbury in northern England who carried out a suicide attack on an oil refinery in Iraq after traveling to fight for Islamic State, as he warns of the dangers of extremist ideology going unchecked.
Muslims who subscribe to any of the ideology that identifies the West as “bad,” denounces democracy, says women are inferior, homosexuality is “evil” and teaches that ideology is superior to the state while advocating violence to enforce those beliefs is contributing to a background of support for extremism, he said.
“If you’re a troubled boy who is angry at the world or a girl looking for an identity, for something to believe in, and there’s something that is quietly condoned online or perhaps even in parts of your local community, then it’s less of a leap to go from a British teenager to an ISIL fighter or an ISIL wife than it would be for someone who hasn’t been exposed to these things,” Cameron said. ISIL refers to Islamic State, the Sunni group that has declared a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.
Cameron used the speech to announce that Britain would take in more Syrians under a “modest expansion” of a special resettlement program for the most vulnerable people fleeing Syria.
Changes to the law to allow access for the intelligence services to people’s Internet activity are necessary to help disrupt plots and gather intelligence, Cameron said.
“It may be medieval in its outlook, but it is modern in its tactics with the Internet as the main tool to spread its warped worldview,” he said. “The nature of the threat is grave.”