Speech

Transcript: Prime Minister's speech at Al Azhar University

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Transcript of the Prime Minister's speech at Al Azhar University.

Question

Like some countries in the world, do you ever think that Islam in Indonesia involves the work of terrorism?

Prime Minister

What I’ve been saying is that I think that Indonesia shows an example of how you can have an Islamic-majority country with a successful democracy. And I want to be absolutely clear what I said in my speech: Islam is not a dangerous political ideology; Islam is a religion of peace that is practised by a billion people worldwide, including well over a million people in my own country, in Britain. I know it is a religion of peace; it is a religion of peace the world over.

But there has been a problem, in recent years, of a rise of extremist political Islamism that takes a warped view of this religion, and tries to turn people against each other. And they are not just engaged in what they would see as a clash of civilizations, of trying to turn Muslim against Christian, or Muslim against Jew, or Muslim against Hindu - they have actually killed more Muslims than any other religious group. And I think what Indonesia shows - and indeed there are other countries that show this - is that it is possible to completely reject and want to defeat that extremist vision, not just defeat it in terms of arresting and imprisoning the terrorists, but defeat it in terms of challenging and defeating the political ideology on which it feeds.

And this was a subject I discussed with your President last night, and I very much hope that when he comes to the United Kingdom, he will have a message not just for all of you back here in Indonesia, but I want him to have a message for British Muslims too: to say that Islam is a religion of peace, and this extremist Islamism is a poisoning of your religion and should be rejected by people the world over.

So, thank you again for giving me such a warm welcome, thank you again for giving me such a good audience, and thank you again for your questions. And can I wish you the very best with your studies and with your future. Thank you very much indeed.