Woolwich killing a betrayal of Islam, says Cameron

David Cameron
Image caption Mr Cameron made the first Commons statement about the killing as MPs returned from their half-term break

The fatal attack on soldier Lee Rigby was a betrayal of Islam and the Muslim community, the prime minister has said.

In his first Commons statement about last month's killing in Woolwich, south London, David Cameron said it was important to learn lessons.

Those responsible tried to "justify their actions by an extremist ideology that perverts and warps Islam to... justify violence", he said.

A task force, chaired by the PM, met earlier to look at radicalisation.

Mr Cameron said it would focus on:

  • Rules for charities and whether they were too lax and allowed extremists to prosper
  • Whether enough was being done to disrupt groups that incite hatred or violence
  • Extremist groups in universities
  • More support for madrassas to prevent radicalisation
  • Help for mosques that wanted to expel extremists and recruit imams who understand Britain

Cabinet ministers and intelligence and police chiefs on the task force will meet once a month.

Mr Cameron told MPs: "When young men born and bred in this country are radicalised and turned into killers, we have to ask some tough questions about what is happening in our country.

"It is as if that for some young people there is a conveyor belt to radicalisation that has poisoned their minds with sick and perverted ideas.

"We need to dismantle this process at every stage - in schools, colleges, universities, on the internet, in our prisons, wherever it is taking place."

'Work for all'

He also outlined a number of arrests and charges made in connection with the killing.

Earlier in the day, Michael Adebolajo, 28, and 22-year-old Michael Adebowale, who are accused of murdering Lee Rigby, were remanded in custody after separate court appearances.

Continuing his statement, Mr Cameron highlighted work already carried out by the government to tackle extremism.

He said the government's Prevent Strategy had closed down websites, 5,700 items of terrorism material had been taken down from the internet and almost 1,000 more items blocked when they were hosted overseas.

Since 2011, more hate preachers had been excluded from the UK than ever, he added.

Mr Cameron asaid: "Just as we will not stand for those who pervert Islam to preach extremism, neither will we stand for groups like the English Defence League who try to demonise Islam and stoke up anti-Islam hatred by bringing violence and disorder to our towns and cities.

"The responsibility for this horrific murder lies with those who committed it but we should do all we can to tackle the poisonous ideology that is perverting young minds.

"This is not just a job for the security services and police, it is work for us all."

Labour leader Ed Miliband said extremists would fail to divide Britain because "British people know this attack did not represent the true values of any community, including Muslim communities who contribute so much to our country".

He said he supported action to bring the perpetrators to justice and work to unite communities and learn the lessons of the attack.

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