» Wednesday, July 20, 2005

International Conference

Asked how advanced the planning for the international conference on tackling extremism was, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that we had a clear idea about what we wanted such a conference to do. We were actively exploring possible venues and locations and we were also actively talking to other countries about such a conference. In response to the suggestion that we had not got very far down the road, the PMOS said that the reality was that there were a number of different conferences that were taking place around the world already. We were clear in our view about what a conference like this might achieve. However with a conference like this you did not announce the detail without consulting other people first. It was similar to a party in that way: you did not announce the guest list before inviting them first. Asked what such a conference might achieve, the PMOS said that what we would want, as with activity in this country, was to achieve a consensus about how we took on, in a reasoned argument, the extremists. As well as how we dealt with the problem of the extremist and fundamentalist strain of Islamic thinking. Asked whether there would be an Islamic decree from clerics or some such product from the conference, the PMOS said he thought it would be a wider gathering than just clerics. It would no doubt be more representative of Muslim communities across the world and governments as a whole. We should not put the cart before the horse. We needed to think through what it was that we wanted to achieve from this, in other words define the content and then define what the mechanism might be used as way of expressing it.

Briefing took place at 17:45 | Search for related news

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