Ending the radicalisation of young Muslims in Britain could take 30 years, the Security Minister warned today.
Lord West of Spithead said authorities had opened up a dialogue with the Muslim community but he stressed there were no quick solutions to the problem of extremism in the UK.
“This isn’t going to change just like that,” he told the Commons Defence Committee.
“To stop this radicalisation of extremists is going to take about 30 years I would think,” he added.
“But it will become a virtuous circle. It will start getting better and better.”
Lord West, a former head of the Royal Navy, said radicalisation could not be dealt with through security policies alone.
“We cannot arrest and protect ourselves out of this problem,” he said.
He acknowledged the Government’s foreign policy was an issue for many Muslims, but insisted efforts to promote a dialogue were producing results.
“We would accept that certain aspects of our foreign policy have caused difficulties with them but now at least we are engaging in a debate with them,” he said.
“I have found that when you talk to them the first discussion with a group is pretty hardcore stuff for you, but actually the second and third time they are beginning to understand, once you explain why you are doing things.”