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Extremism: PM speech

At Ninestiles School in Birmingham, Prime Minister David Cameron set out his plans to address extremism.

It’s great to be here at this outstanding school, Ninestiles School. Your inspiring teachers and your commitment to British values means you are not just achieving outstanding academic success, but you are building a shared community where children of many faiths and backgrounds learn not just with each other, but from each other too.

And that goes right to the heart of what I want to talk about today.

I said on the steps of Downing Street that this would be a ‘one nation’ government, bringing our country together.

Today, I want to talk about a vital element of that. How together we defeat extremism and at the same time build a stronger, more cohesive society.

My starting point is this.

Over generations, we have built something extraordinary in Britain – a successful multi-racial, multi-faith democracy. It’s open, diverse, welcoming – these characteristics are as British as queuing and talking about the weather.

It is here in Britain where different people, from different backgrounds, who follow different religions and different customs don’t just rub alongside each other but are relatives and friends; husbands, wives, cousins, neighbours and colleagues.

It is here in Britain where in one or two generations people can come with nothing and rise as high as their talent allows.

It is here in Britain where success is achieved not in spite of our diversity, but because of our diversity.

So as we talk about the threat of extremism and the challenge of integration, we should not do our country down – we are, without a shadow of doubt, a beacon to the world.

And as we debate these issues, neither should we demonise people of particular backgrounds. Every one of the communities that has come to call our country home has made Britain a better place. And because the focus of my remarks today is on tackling Islamist extremism – not Islam the religion – let me say this.

I know what a profound contribution Muslims from all backgrounds and denominations are making in every sphere of our society, proud to be both British and Muslim, without conflict or contradiction.

And I know something else: I know too how much you hate the extremists who are seeking to divide our communities and how you loathe that damage they do.

As Prime Minister, I want to work with you to confront and defeat this poison. Today, I want to set out how. I want to explain what I believe we need to do as a country to defeat this extremism, and help to strengthen our multi-racial, multi-faith democracy.

Roots of the problem

It begins – it must begin – by understanding the threat we face and why we face it. What we are fighting, in Islamist extremism, is an ideology. It is an extreme doctrine.

And like any extreme doctrine, it is subversive. At its furthest end it seeks to destroy nation-states to invent its own barbaric realm. And it often backs violence to achieve this aim – mostly violence against fellow Muslims – who don’t subscribe to its sick worldview.

But you don’t have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish.

ideas which are hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality.

Ideas which actively promote discrimination, sectarianism and segregation.

Ideas – like those of the despicable far right – which privilege one identity to the detriment of the rights and freedoms of others.

And ideas also based on conspiracy: that Jews exercise malevolent power; or that Western powers, in concert with Israel, are deliberately humiliating Muslims, because they aim to destroy Islam. In this warped worldview, such conclusions are reached – that 9/11 was actually inspired by Mossad to provoke the invasion of Afghanistan; that British security services knew about 7/7, but didn’t do anything about it because they wanted to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash.

Click here for the full speech

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