‘No opt-outs for com­bat­ing ex­trem­ism’

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY AN­GELA EP­STEIN

BRI­TAIN NEEDS a clearer un­der­stand­ing of the na­ture of the ex­trem­ist Is­lamist ter­ror threat, David Cameron has warned.

The for­mer prime min­is­ter said it was “not good enough just to re­fer to ex­trem­ists in gen­eral with­out recog­nis­ing, un­der­stand­ing and chal­leng­ing the ref­er­ence they make to re­li­gion”.

Speak­ing at a Com­mu­nity Se­cu­rity Trust din­ner in Manch­ester on Mon­day, Mr Cameron said: “The world is up against an ex­treme ide­ol­ogy that be­lieves Jews, Chris­tians and oth­ers can’t live to­gether and that Mus­lims can only live one way, in some sort of me­dieval, bar­baric caliphate and that it is right to kill those who ques­tion it. We must de­feat it to­gether.”

He added: “There are no opt-outs for com­bat­ing ex­trem­ism — not for schools, not for aid or­gan­i­sa­tions, not for cam­puses, or gov­ern­ments.

“If this is the great­est chal­lenge we face, and it is, we need to be more fo­cused on com­bat­ing Is­lamist ex­trem­ism in all its forms.”

In a wide-rang­ing speech to an au­di­ence of more than 400 peo­ple, in­clud­ing Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, at Lan­cashire Cricket Club, Mr Cameron hailed the work of CST and ex­pressed his on­go­ing ad­mi­ra­tion and sup­port for the Jewish com­mu­nity. He also ex­plained why he felt such affin­ity for An­glo-Jewry.

His grand­mother’s grand­fa­ther was a Ger­man-Jewish banker who set­tled in Manch­ester in the 1850s — although Mr Cameron was un­aware of this part of his an­ces­try un­til he was in his 40s.

The sup­port he of­fered the Jewish com­mu­nity, he said, was there­fore learned, not in­her­ited, and made con­crete when he first vis­ited Is­rael.

Mr Cameron re­flected on his change in cir­cum­stances, hav­ing stepped down as prime min­is­ter af­ter last year’s EU ref­er­en­dum, which he said he did not re­gret hold­ing.

“I’m lucky these days to get to the open­ing of my own shep­herd’s hut, never mind an en­tire din­ner in my hon­our,” he joked.

Com­mend­ing the hu­mour in the Chief Rabbi’s speech, he quipped: “It’s al­ways good to have a sec­ond ca­reer.”

Look­ing back at his six years in Down­ing Street, Mr Cameron said he was proud of what he had achieved with the Jewish com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing more Jewish free schools, a stronger re­la­tion­ship and eco­nomic part­ner­ship with Is­rael, ex­tra fund­ing for com­mu­nity se­cu­rity and the prom­ise that she­chita should be pro­tected.

“We saw off threats to your tra­di­tions and we should do so in ev­ery year for­ward,” he said.

Among his proud­est mo­ment was set­ting up the UK Holo­caust Com­mis­sion, he re­vealed.

“I want ev­ery child and adult to learn and re­mem­ber — adults need ed­u­cat­ing, too.

“That’s why we need a Holo­caust memo­rial and learn­ing cen­tre next to the heart of our democ­racy [Par­lia­ment] to say to peo­ple and the world we will never for­get lessons of the past and will teach those lessons again and again.”

But, he said, much still needed to be done, in­clud­ing speak­ing with ab­so­lute clar­ity when con­demn­ing racism and xeno­pho­bia.

“We won’t win the fight if we let ex­trem­ist preach­ers come and preach ha­tred, run schools or tol­er­ate or­gan­i­sa­tions that, even if they don’t sup­port vi­o­lence, sup­port the think­ing that leads to vi­o­lence,” he said.

“We need your val­ues, your be­lief in strong fam­i­lies, re­silient com­mu­ni­ties, fam­ily, be­lief in the ser­vice of oth­ers, of hard work, knowl­edge that noth­ing is gained with­out ef­fort and un­der­stand­ing what it is to in­te­grate and keep faith.”

We need your val­ues, your be­lief in hard work’

PHOTO: ADAM JA­COB­SON / FLIX’N’PIX

David Cameron speak­ing at Old Traf­ford cricket ground

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