Yesterday the Prime Minister gave a statement to the House on the EU Council, Security and Middle East. I asked the following question;
Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): I was appalled to learn that the British terrorist interviewed on “Newsnight” came from Wycombe. Does my right hon. Friend agree that this man has disgracefully betrayed the community that I represent? Given what was said, can he reassure me that if that man presents in the UK, he will face the full force of the law?
The Prime Minister: I very much agree with what my hon. Friend says. This individual is in no way representative of the many hard-working British Asians who live in his constituency and contribute enormously to our country. It is shocking to read someone born and raised in Britain, and schooled in our country, saying, “The only reason I want to come back to Britain is to bomb, maim and kill”. Of course we should ensure that we have laws—we do have such laws—so that people who say and do these things can be prosecuted, but the reason for asking what more is required is that sometimes, these cases do not come up to a level of criminal proof, yet these people threaten our country. That is why there were control orders in the past and there are now terrorism prevention and investigation measures, and that is why we are taking steps to strip people of passports or prevent people from coming into our country. Where there are gaps, it is worth asking whether they can be addressed.
I was glad to learn that Wycombe Islamic Society has made the following statement in a press release:
The Wycombe Islamic Society (WISE) were shocked by the abhorrent comments made by a resident of High Wycombe on Newsnight. His opinions in no way reflect the views of Muslims, and in particular those who worship at the Islamic Centre. Islam is a religion of moderation that aims to establish peace. It is heartbreaking to see people committing acts of violence. WISE rejects the ideology of groups such as ISIS who use violence to overthrow governments and kill those who oppose their beliefs including other Muslims. We remind people who follow such a deviant ideology that an evil action can never bring anything good. No Islamic centre in High Wycombe has views that would radicalise youngsters. On the contrary, we advise our young people to respond to world events in a thoughtful fashion within the laws of the country and within the teachings of Islam. Those that have concerns about what is happening in places such as Syria and Iraq should engage with charities and local MPs with a view to help the situation, rather than engaging in hateful ideas on social media which contribute to the problem. WISE is a very open and welcoming organisation with a long history of community service and a great track record for working with local statutory organisations and other faith groups. High Wycombe has a long history of multiculturalism and good community relations, and we ask the media to verify information from their sources before publishing prejudicial or libelous statements that could harm the community cohesion in the town.
For more information view our Tackling Violent Extremism and Hate Speech Policy.
It is a great pity that a tiny minority have fallen into hate and violent intolerance of the most brutal kind. Government’s responsibility is to defend the peaceful, innocent majority against such people and I will continue to play my part towards that end.
Update: British Imams’ ruling against IS may be found here.