Former military leaders and MPs have joined Campaign Against Antisemitism in issuing a call to the Prime Minister over extremism and antisemitism. The joint letter has today been made public in The Telegraph. The letter stated:
On Westminster Bridge, at the Manchester Arena, on London Bridge, in Borough Market and outside a mosque near Finsbury Park, 36 innocent people were murdered and over 150 were hospitalised by Islamist and far-right terrorists. Since June 2014 alone, our security services have stopped 18 terrorist plots inspired by Islamist extremism.
The number of plots will continue to increase and the demand on our excellent security services will grow, unless we defeat the ideologies of hatred that turn our citizens away from the pluralistic British values that we all enjoy. We have to identify, challenge and stamp out the extremism that lurks in our communities.
Islamist extremism is an evil ideology that is a perversion of Islam. It exploits our freedoms and democracy to preach hatred, sow division and promote intolerance. As the Prime Minister rightly acknowledged on the steps of Downing Street on 4th June, things need to change and we cannot allow this evil the safe spaces it needs to breed, even if it means having “some difficult, and often embarrassing conversations”.
Public platforms, including UK taxpayer-owned buildings, are being used to aid the spread of Islamist extremism. Whilst the Prime Minister is right to challenge internet service providers to play an active role in combating the spread of extremist material online, we must also look at the gatherings where extremism can spread offline.
The government failed to ban the Islamic Human Rights Commission’s Al Quds Day march on 18th June. This was an event which saw hundreds march with the flag of the terrorist group, Hizballah, through the centre of London, chant “ISIS and Zionists are the same”, with one speaker blaming “Zionists” for the horrendous Grenfell tower disaster.
Islamist extremism and antisemitism go hand-in-hand. On 8-9th July, the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, a UK taxpayer-owned building opposite Parliament, will host Palestine Expo, “the biggest social, cultural and entertainment event on Palestine to ever take place in Europe”. The event is organised by Friends of Al Aqsa, despite the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, writing to Friends of Al Aqsa over concerns that the organisation and those connected with it “have expressed public support” for Hamas and have “supported events at which Hamas and Hizballah have been praised” .
Whilst the government is rightly strong in its rhetoric, it must back this up by denying extremists of all kinds the platforms they require to divide our communities.
We call on the Prime Minister to take all necessary steps to prevent Palestine Expo from taking place in UK taxpayer-owned buildings, and prevent the future use of such buildings, including the Houses of Parliament, by groups which oppose our values and ideals.
Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East
Colonel Tim Collins OBE, former commander of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment
David Davies, MP for Monmouth
Baroness Ruth Deech DBE
Gideon Falter, Chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism
Colonel Richard Westley OBE MC, former commander of the Operational Training and Advisory Group
Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan
Dr Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon
Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government