UK’s Cameron unveils anti-extremism plan, urges internet firms to help

British Prime Minister David Cameron sets out a five-year strategy to tackle extremism in the country, vowing to take on those responsible for radicalising young British Muslims and demanding that internet companies do more to help.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, UK (JULY 15, 2015) (UK POOL) – British Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Monday (July 20) a series of new measures to fight the threat of extremism in the country.

Launching his government’s anti-extremism policy, Cameron demanded that internet companies do more to help to crack down on extremists seeking to recruit young people into their fold.

“I also want us to go much further in dealing with this ideology in our prisons and online. We need to have a total rethink of what we do in prison to tackle extremism. And we need our internet companies to go further in helping us to identify potential terrorists online,” Cameron told school children in the English city of Birmingham.

The prime minister said the country needed to have “some pretty uncomfortable debates, especially cultural ones”.

“Too often, we have lacked the confidence to enforce our values for fear of causing offence,” he said.

The British government will introduce new measures to curb hate speech in the country.

“So as part of our extremism bill, we are going to introduce new narrowly-targeted powers to enable us to deal with these facilitators and cult leaders and to stop them peddling their hatred. We will also work to strengthen [television regulator] OFCOM’s role to enable us to take action against foreign channels that broadcast extremist content,” Cameron said.

The British prime minister also sought to take direct action after a spate of cases involving young Britons leaving their families to link up with Islamic State (IS) militants they had contacted through online social networks.

The government would introduce a scheme to enable worried parents to apply directly to get their child’s passport cancelled to prevent travel, he said.

Britain’s national security threat level is at its second-highest setting, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Around 700 Britons are estimated to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join IS militants, some of whom have since returned.

Cameron said the government will encourage “a moderate Muslim voice”.

A key aim of the government strategy, to be published in full later this year, will be to combat the rise of “home-grown” extremists.

The prime minister warned youngsters not to be swayed by the militants’ ideology.

“This (referring to IS) is a not a pioneering movement. It is a vicious, brutal and fundamentally abhorrent existence. And here is my message to any young person here in Britain 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 brainwash, strap bombs to your body and blow you up. If you are a girl, they are going to enslave and abuse you.’ That is the sick and brutal reality of ISIL (IS),” he said.

He said he would also launch a review on how to improve social integration in ethnic minority communities.