We will stand firm against the threat of radical terrorism in our society
The shock that people are feeling following the attack on Drummer Lee Rigby last week is still plain to see with the growing floral tributes and messages on the streets of Woolwich. According to press reports, both Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo were typical schoolchildren, showing no sign of the extreme views that led them to the horrendous events on 22 May.
Michael Adebowale’s mother had expressed concern for some time about the increasing radicalism displayed by her son. It is at this point that we need to act to provide greater support and prevent the descent into terrorism. And we must demonstrate as strongly as we can that those that preach hatred and violence are not welcome in our society.
The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill announced in the recent Queen’s speech will include stronger measures to enable us to extradite those that pose a threat to our society. The new cross-government taskforce announced by the Prime Minister last week will also tackle the issue of hate preachers being able to communicate their messages freely on broadcast media and via the internet.
In Hounslow we have a multi-cultural society that celebrates diversity in peace and harmony. I know that local Islamic community leaders will be as shocked and appalled as I am by these barbaric acts of terrorism.
We must however be mindful of the risks we face and work together to encourage cohesion and community over exclusion and violence. I urged the Government to include Hounslow in its list of boroughs that receive additional funding to address the risks of terrorism as part of its ‘Prevent’ counter-terrorism programme. I am happy that they listened to these concerns and have acted on this and we must prioritise this funding in the future. The Prevent programme aims to stop vulnerable people turning to violence and confronts the ideology behind extremism, both violent and non-violent.
The message to extremists is clear - we will stand firm and resolute against threats of violence and terror and our communities will become stronger as a result.