David Cameron today condemned the Woolwich murder as a “betrayal of Islam” as he insisted Britain would stand resolute against terror attacks.
He was speaking after chairing a meeting of Whitehall’s Cobra emergency committee of ministers, police chiefs and senior figures in the security services.
Standing outside Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: “This was not just an attack on Britain – and on our British way of life. It was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.
“There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act. We will defeat violent extremism by standing together by backing our police and security services and above all by challenging the poisonous narrative of extremism on which this violence feeds.”
Warning that the aim of terrorists was to divide, he praised Britons’ natural resilience and pointed to the example of the cub scout pack leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, who confronted one of the men at the murder site.
Mr Cameron said: “When told by the attacker that he wanted to start a war in London, she replied: ‘You’re going to lose. It’s only you versus many.’ She spoke for us all.”
The Prime Minister was at pains to praise the work of the police and the security services, saying nothing should be allowed to impede their murder investigation.
Today’s hour-long Cobra meeting focused on the importance of community cohesion in the wake of the killing. A source said: “The strength and unity of response from Muslim community leaders was recognised and commended by Ministers and others around the table.”
Police and the security services briefed the meeting on the investigation and there was an update on extra measures to protect members of the armed forces.
The meeting was also attended by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, Baroness Warsi, the Faith and Communities Minister, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and Cressida Dick, the Met Assistant Commissioner, as well as senior officers form MI5 and MI6.