British PM fires 2011 terror warning
Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain had to combat its home-grown Islamic extremism in 2011, in his New Year message released Friday.
He said 2011 would likewise be a "crucial year" in Afghanistan, where British troops are fighting Taliban insurgents, as the country deals with fighting terror on two fronts.
Cameron also asserted that while 2010 was the year when Britain stopped the rot by facing up to its debts, 2011 would be tough but could be the year that the kingdom "gets back on her feet".
"For many years now we have been aware of the threat we face from international terrorism," he said.
"That threat is still very much with us. And it is as serious today as it ever has been."
He said that going into 2011 the authorities were working "round the clock to foil plots that would do terrible harm to our people and our economy.
"We will defend our values and way of life and defeat those who threaten them.
"But we must ask ourselves as a country how we are allowing the radicalisation and poisoning of the minds of some young British Muslims who then contemplate and sometimes carry out acts of sickening barbarity.
"And the overwhelming majority of British Muslims who detest this extremism must help us to find the answers together."
The December 11 Stockholm suicide bombing was perpetrated by a man thought to have been radicalised in England and on Monday nine men from across Britain were charged with plotting a terror attack.
Following the July 2005 London bombings, inflicted by four home-grown Islamists, the incidents renewed concerns about extremism within Britain.
The kingdom's terror threat level is set at "severe", meaning an attack is considered highly likely.
Cameron, who became prime minister as head of a coalition government following the May general election, said the fight against terror could not be confined to Britain.
"For those serving in Afghanistan, 2011 is a crucial year in which we will start to transfer security responsibility for districts and provinces to Afghan control," he said.
"As the Afghans become steadily more capable of looking after their own security, so we will be able to start to bring our own forces home."
On the domestic front, Cameron said Britons were facing a tough year ahead, warning that "a lot of the heavy lifting" would take place in 2011 as Britain tackles its record deficit.
"If we sort out our problems, and make the most of our many opportunities, we can be one of the international success stories of the new decade," he said.
"We have been living seriously beyond our means. We have to sort this out. Every sensible person knows this.
"2011 is going to be a difficult year, as we take hard but necessary steps.
"Together, we can make 2011 the year that Britain gets back on its feet.
"Enterprise, aspiration, public service reform and national security -- these are the things that will determine whether in 2011 we take the steps towards the better, stronger, safer Britain that is within our grasp.
"If 2010 was the year we stopped the rot, we can make 2011 the year that Britain gets back on her feet."
© 2010 AFP