Prime Minister David Cameron today set out a five-year strategy to tackle Islamic extremism in Britain, an issue he described as the “struggle of our generation” – vowing to take on those responsible for radicalising young British Muslims.
Cameron outlined a counter-extremism strategy, due to be published in full later this year, which seeks to stop the spread in Britain of the radical ideology promoted by Islamic State.
About 700 Britons are estimated to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join IS militants.
Britain’s security threat level is at its second-highest setting, meaning an attack is highly likely, and last month 30 British tourists were killed in a gun attack in Tunisia.
Among the measures announced by Mr Cameron:
- Parents will be given the ability confiscate passports of their children if they fear they are planning to travel to Syria
- Funding for groups willing to spread an “alternative message” to young British Muslims
- New powers to tackle individuals spreading extremist rhetoric
- Extra powers for OfCom to tackle foreign channels promoting extremism
- Encouraging universities to crack down on Islamist extremists
- A clampdown on social housing where people living there are from one ethnic background
- Reducing segregation in schools
A key aim of the strategy will be to combat the rise of so-called “homegrown extremists”, something which Cameron says cannot be done without understanding and tackling the reasons why people are drawn to Islamic State.
“When groups like IS seek to rally our young people to their poisonous cause, it can offer them a sense of belonging that they can lack here at home, leaving them more susceptible to radicalisation and even violence against other British people to whom they feel no real allegiance,” he will say.
Cameron will warn that “strong, positive Muslim voices” are being drowned out by those who espouse the extremist ideology of Islamic State although stopping short of advocating violence.
He will also launch a review on how to improve social integration in ethnic minority communities.
On Sunday Cameron said he wanted Britain to do more to help the United States destroy Islamic State in Syria, and government sources say he is expected to seek parliamentary approval to extend anti-IS bombing missions into Syria.
Britain currently only conducts airstrikes in neighbouring Iraq.