A Birmingham community group has welcomed David Cameron’s controversial crackdown on extremism – announced at a city school.
The Prime Minister announced a raft of legislation, including giving parents the power to cancel their children’s passports if they are worried about them travelling to Syria to join Isil.
Speaking at Ninestiles Academy in Acocks Green , Mr Cameron said the move will include powers to put non-violent extremists who radicalise young people “out of action”.
He said: ”I know how worried some people are that their children might turn to this ideology – and even seek to travel to Syria or Iraq .
“So I can announce today we are going to introduce a new scheme to enable parents to apply directly to get their child’s passport cancelled to prevent travel.”
In a message to young people thinking of going overseas to fight, he said: “My argument with young people being sucked towards this appalling extremist ISIL worldview is ‘You are heading towards a belief system that believes in throwing people off buildings, raping children, enslaving women’,” said the Prime Minister.
“And here’s my message to any young person thinking of going out there. 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 brain wash 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 IS.”
In an interview with the Post after the announcement, Mr Cameron told how a Birmingham Muslim family he stayed with eight years ago had informed and inspired his approach to integration and tackling extremism. While opposition leader in 2007 Mr Cameron famously stayed in Balsall Heath with Abdullah Rehman and his family for two days to find out more about community activism.
He was reunited with his former host ahead of the keynote speech on tackling Islamic extremism at Ninestiles Academy.
Mr Rehman had been critical of the Prime Minister’s recent speeches on terrorism claiming they will alienate British Muslims. In a bridge-building move Mr Cameron met Mr Rehman and other members of the Balsall Heath Forum – and they welcomed his new inclusive approach.
Forum member Dr Khurshid Ahmed said the way some recent speeches by the Prime Minister had been reported had not been received well because Muslims felt they were all being asked to apologise for the activities of Islamic State and extremists.
Dr Ahmed, referring to the speech, said: “I welcome it. We are all very supportive of any measures we can come up with to deal with extremism, as long as there is a fair approach to all forms of extremism, from Islamist to the right-wing fascist.”
Mr Cameron said it was every citizen’s duty to challenge extremist ideas.
Speaking after his speech, Mr Cameron said: “I was chatting to Abdullah beforehand. He was very inspiring to me because first of all he was taking part in the Balsall Heath Forum which is a great expression of the Big Society – people who got together and weren’t happy with the way things are.
“It’s been a great success. I was also inspired by Abdullah and his children, he took his children every day to school – and although he’s a British Muslim they go to a Jewish faith school, the King David School, here in Birmingham. That was a great example of how faith schools can bring people together from different religions.”
Mr Cameron said they discussed the contents of his speech.
He said: “Like many British Muslims he finds it incredibly frustrating how the people who do these terrible, terrorist acts claim to be doing it in the name of Islam when that’s not the case.
“We were discussing how we all have to speak out and say that and endlessly remind people that these ISIL thugs and terrorists they don’t represent a world religion they represent barbarity.”