Recent events in the region have demonstrated how terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al Nusra Front are using violence and intimidation to impose extremist ideology on civilians and commit atrocities. Tackling radicalisation and extremist ideologies and their root causes is a priority for the British Government.
As the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), made clear at the UN General Assembly in September 2014, failure to meet people’s needs and aspirations can create a breeding ground where extremist and even terrorist insurgency can take root. It is vital that the underlying grievances that stem from lack of political and economic freedoms and opportunities are addressed. These issues and long-term stability are inextricably linked. The UK is supporting countries as they do this, working with governments and civil society including academics and religious experts, to tackle both short term conflict and support longer-term moves to more open and inclusive government. We welcome initiatives such as the Amman message underlining core values of Islam including tolerance and mutual respect – principles which have inspired gatherings by scholars around the world.
We are working with regional and coalition allies to counter ISIL’s twisted ideology. Participants at the Counter-ISIL Coalition Small Group meeting in London on 22 January agreed to work more closely to counter ISIL’s narrative and to encourage moderate Islamic voices to speak out against extremism. We have been clear that defeating ISIL will take considerable time, but we have a comprehensive, long-term and well-coordinated strategy in place.