David Cameron: UK must defend Christian values against terror

David and Samantha Cameron in Lanzarote Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Cameron, who is on holiday in Lanzarote, says Christian values "speak to people of every faith"

The UK must "stand together and defend" its Christian values in the face of threats from terrorism, David Cameron has said in his Easter message.

The prime minister said responsibility, hard work and compassion were important to people "of every faith and none".

The ideology behind attacks such as Brussels could be defeated by "standing up proudly" for those values, he added.

The Archbishop of Canterbury used his Easter sermon to urge people not to give in to fear after the attacks.

The prime minister has faced criticism in the past from secularists and some other public figures for describing Britain as a Christian country.

He has previously described himself as a "committed" but only "vaguely practising" Christian, who is "full of doubts" on big theological questions.

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Media captionPrime Minister David Cameron: "We must all stand together"

'Never be cowed'

The prime minister said Britain should be proud of being a "Christian country with Christian values".

"But they are also values that speak to everyone in Britain - to people of every faith and none," he continued.

"And we must all stand together and defend them."

He added: "When terrorists try to destroy our way of life as they have tried to do again so despicably in Brussels this week - we must stand together and show that we will never be cowed by terror.

"We must show that in this struggle of our generation we will defeat the pernicious ideology that is the root cause of this terrorism by standing up proudly for our values and our way of life."

Mr Cameron also praised the work done by faith and voluntary organisations - helping the homeless, caring for the sick and bereaved and risking their lives to help people in war-torn regions across the world.

In his sermon, the Most Rev Justin Welby told worshippers at Canterbury Cathedral that events in Brussels may naturally prompt us "to act fearfully, to see a world in which fear triumphs".

But he said: "Easter proclaims to us in flesh and blood that fear and death and terror are not the last words."

Pope Francis, too, has preached an Easter message of hope, calling on Christians not to let fear and pessimism "imprison" them.

Speaking amid tight security at the Vatican on Saturday night, the Pope said: "Let us not allow darkness and fear to distract us and control our hearts."

On Good Friday, he denounced "terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence".

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