People who oppose the Government’s anti-extremist Prevent strategy are fuelling terrorism, David Cameron has claimed.
In an outspoken attack on opponents of Prevent, the former Prime Minister said that organisations that tried to “delegitimise” counter-terrorism work were “enabling terrorism”.
His comments, in a report by the think tank Policy Exchange, come as Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, prepares to unveil an overhaul of the Prevent strategy which will strip local councils of control in an attempt to professionalise and refocus on national security.
In a foreword to the report Mr Cameron said: “In a country where everyone feels at home, there is no place for extremism. It sows division and hatred and threatens our very way of life.
“I don’t just mean violent extremism. No one becomes a terrorist from a standing start. The warped narratives are what draw people in and pave the way for many to support or even commit terrible acts.”
Critics of Prevent ‘afraid to appear racist’
He explained that, in his view, people who opposed the Government’s strategy were fuelling terrorism because they were “afraid to appear racist”.
He said: “I believe those who refuse to challenge the falsehood surrounding Prevent are guilty of a form of ‘passive tolerance’, whereby society fails to interfere in minority communities for fear of appearing racist.
“So just as we need to counter the Islamist extremist narrative, we need to counter the anti-Prevent narrative… to show that delegitimising counter-terrorism is, in essence, enabling terrorism.”