By MP John Hayes
Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War the then Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, famously described the dispute between Germany and Czechoslovakia as a ‘quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing.’
How bizarre it seems now to describe events in a place less than a two hour flight away in such distant terms?
Yet, some still regard the current appalling events in the Middle East, and the evils of ISIL, in a similar way; as a remote conflict which can’t affect us.
In truth, our interconnected world means that we can never wholly isolate ourselves from events elsewhere.
But the chilling revelation that 500 corrupted British citizens have joined ISIL terrorists fighting in Iraq and the Levant region of Syria, demonstrates that this is our problem – a direct threat to our safety and a challenge to all we hold dear.
The root cause of the threat we face is the poisonous ideology of Islamic extremism. A dogma that advocates the use of torture, rape and murder to subjugate people; an axis intent on forcing people backwards to primitivism by the means of fear and violence.
The necessary airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq must go hand in hand with a determined assault on Islamic extremists here in the UK.
That’s why we are acting against preachers of hate and banning organisations that incite terrorism. The arrest of the radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary is indicative of a righteous determination which has led ministers to introduce new powers to stop terrorist suspects from travelling, and to prevent British nationals suspected of involvement with ISIL from re-entering our country.
The recall of Parliament last week to discuss our response to ISIL was a powerful demonstration of how privileged we are to live in a free, democratic nation in which all opinions can be aired without fear.
Action against ISIL is right, not only in defence of the Christians, Kurds, Yazidis and others who have been displaced or butchered by extremist forces, but in robust defence of our civilised values.