A former Tory cabinet minister lambasted David Cameron on Friday, warning the prime minister risks “demoralising” British Muslims by saying some quietly condone the extremism of the Islamic State.
Writing in the Guardian, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi questioned Cameron’s “misguided emphasis and call to action” in a speech he delivered in the Slovakian capital Bratislava. Speaking at a security conference, Cameron said the cause of extremism is “ideological,” one that says, "the West is bad and democracy is wrong that women are inferior and homosexuality is evil."
"It says religious doctrine trumps the rule of law and Caliphate trumps nation state and it justifies violence in asserting itself and achieving its aims," he continued. "The question is: how do people arrive at this worldview?”
"I am clear that one of the reasons is that there are people who hold some of these views who don’t go as far as advocating violence, but do buy into some of these prejudices giving the extreme Islamist narrative weight and telling fellow Muslims 'you are part of this'," the prime minister added.
However, Warsi said that Cameron’s comments lacked force as the government has failed to help moderate Muslims living in the UK. She wrote: “My concern is that this call to Muslims to do more, without an understanding of what they already do now, will demoralise the very people who will continue to lead this fight. As one prominent female Muslim activist told me: ‘This speech has undermined what I’ve been doing’.”
Warsi added: “David Cameron is right that there are ‘some’ -- a minority within a minority within a minority -- who condone the Isis view of the world, but there are many, many, many more of this minority who are fighting a very real and sustained battle, the same battle he is fighting. They know they have to do more, they are willing to do more but they will do it a lot better knowing we are on the same side."
“The government needs to champion them, support them. Only then will it have the credibility to demand that communities themselves do mores,” said the former party co chair, who resigned last year over the UK’s "morally indefensible" stance on Gaza. Warsi said the prime minister’s intervention would “at best fall on deaf ears, at worst further alienate.”
Cameron’s words came days after 12 members of the same family, including nine children, went missing after travelling to Turkey following a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. The three Bradford sisters and their children are believed to have travelled to Syria to join extremists. Talha Asmal, 17, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, thought to have been the UK's youngest-ever suicide bomber, reportedly blew himself up in Iraq earlier this month.