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Peshawar school massacre: This is a dark, dark day for humanity, David Cameron tells Muslim probe

By Andrew Woodcock

Prime Minister David Cameron has described the Taliban massacre of schoolchildren as "a dark, dark day for humanity".

Mr Cameron paid tribute to those who died at the Army Public School.

Denouncing the militants' Islamist ideology as a "perversion" of Muslim belief, Mr Cameron said the fight against terror would be "the struggle of our generation, both here in our own country and around the world".

Speaking to a panel of Parliament's most senior backbench MPs at the House of Commons Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister said: "The scale of what has happened in Pakistan I think simply defies belief. It is a dark, dark day for humanity when something on this scale happens with no justification.

"There is not a belief system in the world that can justify this sort of appalling act.

"I think what this shows is the worldwide threat that is posed by this poisonous ideology of extremist Islamist terrorism. It is nothing to do with one of the world's great religions - Islam, which is a religion of peace. This is a perversion.

"But we have to recognise the scale of what we face - in this country but also, as we see, around the world. And we must with our allies use everything we have in our power to defeat it.

"That means combating terrorism. It means defeating Isil in Iraq and Syria.

"But above all I think it means asserting the freedoms that we hold to - the values of freedom, of tolerance and democracy.

"I say to this committee, as I've said before, this is, I think, going to be the struggle of our generation, both here in our own country and around the world.

"And we are going to have to show every bit of resilience that we've shown facing similar problems and challenges we've faced in the past."

Mr Cameron, who was appearing before the committee to answer questions about efforts to prevent radicalisation of Muslim youths in the UK, added: "I think it's right to pay tribute to those who've been murdered in Australia and today in this appalling outrage in Pakistan.

"I'm sure the thoughts of everyone in this House and this committee will be with the families and the loved ones of those who have perished.

"In Australia there are tales of extraordinary bravery and sacrifice that are now being told about what happened in that cafe. I think that's what we would expect from the people of that remarkable and great country, and our thoughts are with them."

Committee chairman Sir Alan Beith responded: "This committee would very much endorse what you have just said."

He added: "This committee shares your horror at the scale of the murder which has taken place in Pakistan and the all-too-familiar grimness of the hostage event in Sydney.

"Our feelings and thoughts and prayers are with those affected by these two terrible events."

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