David Cameron is to signal a tougher Government stance towards groups which promote Islamist extremism in a speech in which he calls for “muscular liberalism” in defence of Western values.
The Prime Minister will say that the doctrine of multi-culturalism has failed and he will blame the radicalisation of Muslim youths and the phenomenon of home-grown terrorism on the authorities’ “hands-off tolerance” of groups which peddle separatist ideology.
Ministers should refuse to share platforms or engage with such groups, which should be denied access to public money and barred from spreading their message in universities and prisons, he will argue.
Speaking to a security conference in the German city of Munich on Saturday, Mr Cameron will say that the threat of terrorism must be confronted not only though intelligence and surveillance, but by taking on the ideology of Islamist extremism at home.
“Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism,” the Prime Minister will say.
While a “passively tolerant” society allows its citizens to do what they like, so long as they do not break the law, a genuinely liberal country “believes in certain values and actively promotes them,” Mr Cameron will say.
“Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights, regardless of race, sex or sexuality. It says to its citizens: This is what defines us as a society. To belong here is to believe these things. Each of us in our own countries must be unambiguous and hard-nosed about this defence of our liberty.”
Mr Cameron’s speech comes on the day of a planned march in Luton by the far-right English Defence League. But aides rejected suggestions that his comments might fuel racial or religious tensions.
The Prime Minister will stress that right-wing extremists and Christian fundamentalist preachers of hate must also be condemned, they said.
He will also insist that a clear distinction must be made between the religion of Islam and the political ideology of Islamist extremism.