British foreign secretary to call on Muslims to 'stand up and be counted'
(AFP) - Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett will challenge British Muslims to "stand up and be counted" against Islamist extremists in a speech to be delivered later Thursday.
Beckett is set to deny there is a "clash of civilisations" between Islam and the West manifesting itself in violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East, reports Trend.
Instead, she will evoke a confrontation between mainstream society and "a fairly small and particularly nasty bunch of murderers and criminals."
The foreign secretary will also acknowledge that the threat from international terrorism "remains serious and is increasing" and the "dangerous and volatile" Iraq situation risks "even greater instability and bloodshed".
"I am not underestimating the gravity of the threat we face.
"But let us deny the terrorists the historical importance they claim to themselves.
"They have no right to speak for the great and noble faith of Islam.
"This is not a battle between civilisations but a stand-off between the whole of society on the one hand and a fairly small and particularly nasty bunch of murderers and criminals on the other," she is to say.
"I want to...put out a challenge to all those who reject violence to stand up and be counted."
The nation's 1.6 million Muslims have the power to act as "ambassadors for Britain" during trips abroad to Islamic countries, she is expected to add before a think-tank in London.
"When fellow Muslims speak up against extremism and correct the skewed worldview of the terrorists, it is much more powerful, much harder to dismiss than when those same words are spoken by a government minister," Beckett is expected to say.