Cameron vows to shut Islamic schools “teaching hate”

David Cameron has warned of dire economic consequences should Britain leave the EU

In a speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to tackle “deep-rooted extremism.”

Vowing to stand up to “passive tolerance” which leaves children vulnerable to extremists, Mr Cameron announced inspectors would shut down Islamic religious schools filling “children’s hearts with hate.”

He said: “If you believe that the fight against extremism is the fight for our existence; and you want this to be the generation that ends discrimination. If you want these things, the party you need is the party right here.

“I want my children – I want all our children – to know they’re part of something big – the proudest multi-racial democracy on earth.”

In the major announcement from the speech, the Prime Minister said some mosques in Britain were promoting hate and vowed to shut them down.

Mr Cameron said: “When I read what some young people born and brought up in this country are doing, it makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Cameron says some madrassas preach extremism
Cameron says some madrassas preach extremism

“Girls not much older than my eldest daughter, swapping loving family homes and straight-A futures for a life of servitude under ISIL, in a land of violence and oppression.

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“Boys who could do anything they wanted in Britain – who have benefitted from all this country stands for – instead ending up in the desert wielding a knife.

‘This ideology, this diseased view of the world, has become an epidemic – infecting minds from the mosques of Mogadishu to the bedrooms of Birmingham.”

He said some children in Britain were spending “several hours each day” at a madrassa.

Mr Cameron said: “Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with children learning about their faith, whether it’s at madrassas, Sunday Schools or Jewish Yeshivas.

“But in some madrassas we’ve got children being taught that they shouldn’t mix with people of other religions; being beaten; swallowing conspiracy theories about Jewish people.

‘These children should be having their minds opened, their horizons broadened – not having their heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate.

“So I can announce this today: If an institution is teaching children intensively, then whatever its religion, we will, like any other school, make it register so it can be inspected. And be in no doubt: if you are teaching intolerance, we will shut you down.”

He warned that “passive tolerance” meant that for too long politicians had turned a blind eye to what was happening in some communities to avoid causing offence.

It has led to young British children being going to Pakistan for forced marriages and being subjected to genital mutilation in “backstreets in Britain.”

“This passive tolerance has turned us into a less integrated country; it’s put our children in danger. It is unforgiveable.”

To a standing ovation from the audience, he added: “Let me say it right here: no more passive tolerance in Britain.”

“Terror threat”

The Prime Minister also said his first duty over the next five years was to keep people safe from terror.

He also defended his decision to authorise a drone strike in Syria to kill British fanatics plotting attacks in the UK.

He said: “This summer I was told that Reyaad Khan and Junaid Hussain were in Syria planning terrorist attacks on UK soil. Of course, I asked all the proper questions. How do we stop them? Is there another way? Do we have that capability? Is it legal?

“I knew that whatever action I took would provoke a big debate. But my job as Prime Minister is quite simple, really: ultimately, it’s not to debate; it’s to decide.

Cameron warned of the ISIS terror threat
Cameron warned of the ISIS terror threat

“And the choice I faced was this: Act – and we could stop them carrying out their plans. Stall – and we could see innocent people murdered on our streets. So I took decisive action to keep Britain safe – and that’s what I will always do.”

The Prime Minister also defended his response to the refugee crisis in Europe. He said Britain would be “overwhelmed” by migrants if he opened the borders.

Mr Cameron said: “Twelve million people have been made homeless by the conflict in Syria. And so far only 4 per cent of them have come to Europe.If we opened the door to every refugee, our country would be overwhelmed.

“The best thing Britain can do is help neighbouring countries, the Syrian people and the refugees in the camps and when we do take refugees, to take them from the region, rather than acting in a way that encourages more to make that dangerous journey.”

Mr Cameron said the crisis could only be solved by tackling ISIS head on.

He reiterated his call for a new vote in the Commons to authorise airstrikes against the terror group in Syria.

Mr Cameron said: “We will never be safe here in Britain until we eradicate that death cult. Some think we can contract that out to America. We shouldn’t. We must play our part too.”

Muslim reaction

Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech the Muslim Council of Britain asked the government to substantiate the “serious allegations” made against madrassas.

The MCB said: “We commend the Prime Minister for speaking up for a multicultural and multi-faith Britain and we welcome his focus on what more can be done to foster a nation at ease with itself.

“We agree, communities should be empowered to deal with extremism and eschew a politics of grievance. A first step to help in that effort ought to be to address perception of otherness within these communities fed by perceived unwillingness of the government of the day and the political class to engage with respect and dignity with these communities.

“In this light, we welcome the recognition of the growing presence of anti-Muslim hatred but hope this will be followed up with a complete cross-governmental strategy which includes at its heart engagement with the affected communities.

“We also welcome the Prime Minister’s position that there are enough laws in force, referring we understand to counter-terrorism legislations. The MCB argued that the current counter-terrorism laws should be reviewed to ensure their effects on communities are understood, lest they be counter-productive to our shared goal of keeping our nation safe and secure.

“However, we are concerned at the Prime Minister’s targeting of the supplementary schools. It is neither Islamic, nor prevalent in madrasahs to be isolationist or to preach hate of other faiths. We would hope that these serious allegations can be substantiated and the evidence brought forward, so that appropriate action can be taken.

“Mosques and Muslim religious groups up and down the country tirelessly engage in inter-faith, civic coalitions to make our society better and repeatedly remind Muslim children and adults that we have a religious duty to act for the common good of society.

“We recognise that there is room for improvement as many of these establishments are under-resourced, understaffed and are often not properly trained and supported. In that regard, we welcome the government’s interest to support them in these provisions.

“In our view, that should be done through an approach built on mutual trust, respect and cooperation which includes respect for their independence. A securitised approach to address these issues will only create mistrust and feed into grievance narrative that our PM is evidently so eager to avoid.”

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