‘No opt-outs for combating extremism’
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’
David Cameron speaking at Old Trafford cricket ground