LONDON - The British prime minister has said that extremism is a political ideology, supported by a minority, while Islam is a religion observed peacefully by over a billion people. We all need to be clear that extremism and Islam are not the same, said David Cameron in his speech on 'international terrorism and the specific threat posed by extremism at a security conference in Munich on Saturday. The British PM rejected the argument that Islam and the West are irreconcilable and there is a clash of civilisations. Cameron said the people with such thoughts fuel Islamophobia. He stressed the need for confronting the extremist ideology in all forms. He said we should confront the issues of identity that sustaining these ideologies. The PM made it clear that in his view someone can be a devout Muslim and not be an extremist. When we talk about moderate Muslims as if all devout Muslims must be extremist. That is wrong, he said. On the Middle East situation, the British prime minister said: We must resolve sources of tension; not least in Palestine. We should be on the side of openness and political reforms in the Middle East. And on Egypt, our position is clear. We want to see the transition to a more broad-based government with the proper building blocks of a free and democratic society. Reuters adds: State multiculturalism has failed and left young Muslims vulnerable to radicalisation, Prime Minister David Cameron said, arguing for a more active policy to heal divisions and promote values. Cameron argued that Britain and other European nations needed to wake up to what is happening in our countries as well as tackling terrorism through military operations overseas. It is time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past, he said, according to extracts from his speech released by his office. So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we as governments and societies have got to confront it, in all its forms. His comments echo those made by German leader Angela Merkel last year and reflect a push by European governments to better integrate immigrants, given persistent domestic tensions between different cultures. Conservative leader Cameron will also deny that cuts to defence spending as part of efforts to tackle a record budget deficit mean that Britain was retreating from an activist global role. That is the complete reversal of the truth, he will say. Yes, we are dealing with the deficit, but we are also making sure our defences are strong. Aides say his comments on multiculturalism and radicalisation give a direction of travel for future policy, and it remains unclear how the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition intend to turn his vision into a reality. Critics point out that Western foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond, not just a clash of cultures at home, has played a big part in stirring up anti-Western sentiment. Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream, Cameron said.