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Cameron pledges five-year plan to combat home-grown extremism

Published 19/07/2015

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to help America
Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to help America "destroy" self-styled Islamic State (IS) extremists in Syria as he gave his clearest signal yet that UK forces could be asked to join air strikes. Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

David Cameron will set out a five-year plan to crush home-grown extremism, vowing to tackle the "failures of integration" that left young Britons attracted to the self-styled Islamic State and other fundamentalist causes.

A review of how the state can help "lift the horizons" of isolated and deprived communities will be among a raft of initiatives the Prime Minister hopes will help curb the radicalisation of potential jihadists.

Police and security services believe at least 700 extremists have travelled to fight with IS militants who have taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria, with half since returned and posing a domestic terrorist threat.

Mr Cameron gave another hint at the weekend that he could soon seek Parliament's approval to extend UK military air strikes from Iraq into Syria, telling a US television network he wanted Britain to "step up and do more" to "destroy this caliphate".

But heckles have been raised among critics by the revelation that RAF pilots embedded with US forces took part in bombing raids over Syria despite MPs having voted against Britain carrying out strikes in the country.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is expected to be grilled in the Commons over the non-disclosure of the missions against IS - also know as Isil - which Downing Street said the PM was aware of.

Mr Cameron will use a speech in Birmingham to announce that he has appointed Louise Casey to lead "a comprehensive review into boosting opportunity and integration to bring Britain together as one nation".

He said it would find ways to ensure " more people from ethnic minority backgrounds ... feel they have a stake in our society" and persuade young people "they can shape the future by being an active part of our great democracy".

In a frank assessment of the reasons for the rise of extremism in the UK, the PM will point to "a danger in some of our communities that you can go your whole life and have little to do with people from other faiths and backgrounds".

"For all our successes as a multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, we have to confront a tragic truth that there are people born and raised in this country who don't really identify with Britain and feel little or no attachment to other people here," he will say.

"So when groups like Isil 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 radicalism and even violence against other British people to whom they feel no real allegiance.

"This is what we face: a radical ideology that is not just subversive, but can seem exciting, one that has often sucked people in from non-violence to violence, that is overpowering moderate voices within the debate and which can gain traction because of issues of identity and failures of integration."

"We have to answer each one of these four points. Do that, and the right approach for defeating this extremism follows."

Mr Cameron, who pledged a "full spectrum" response after 30 British tourists were killed by an IS gunman in Tunisia, last month pinned some blame for UK citizens being radicalised on sections of society who "quietly condoned" extremist views.

But he will reject the " grievance justification" that holds that the 2003 Iraq War, other Western foreign policy and poverty are responsible for recruiting people to the cause of groups like IS and al Qaida.

"I am not saying these issues aren't important. But let's not delude ourselves. We could deal with all these issues and some people in our country and elsewhere would still be drawn to Islamist extremism," he will say.

"No, we should be clear: t he root cause of the threat we face is the extremist ideology itself."

And he will ridicule "conspiracy theories" used to foment anger such as suggesting terror attacks such as 9/11 and 7/7 were set up or allowed to happen by Israel or the West to justify military interventions or to stir up hatred towards Islam.

Complaints that new duties on schools to prevent radicalisation amount to spying on Muslim pupils were "paranoia in the extreme" and part of the "ludicrous conspiracy theories" of plots against Islam, he said.

And he will focus his message on convincing those tempted to travel to Syria not to buy into the supposed "glamour" of fighting for IS in the region.

Promising action to tackle the "glamorisation" of joining the extremist fighters, he will say IS propaganda videos can make it seem "energising" and m oderate Muslim voices were too often being "drowned out" allowing terrorists to "set the terms of the debate"

And in a stark warning to young people tempted to join IS he will add: "You won't be some valued member of a movement. You are cannon fodder for them. They will use you.

"If you are a boy, they will brainwash you, strap bombs to your body and blow you up. If you are a girl, they will enslave and abuse you. That is the sick and brutal reality of Isil.

"We must de-glamorise the extremist cause, especially Isil. This isn't a pioneering movement, it is vicious, brutal, fundamentally abhorrent."

Of the four candidates in the running to be Labour leader by the time of any possible new vote on military action, only Jeremy Corbyn said he would definitely oppose the move if he was at the helm.

During a debate for the BBC's Sunday Politics, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall indicated that they were open to persuasion should the right conditions be met.

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