Ed Miliband calls on Twitter and Facebook to help fight intolerance

Ed Miliband has warned of the fears felt by Jewish and Muslim families about rising intolerance in Britain, while calling on Twitter and Facebook to do more to counter extremism online.

The Labour leader said there needed to be unity of purpose among European leaders following attacks by Islamist extremists on a kosher supermarket and the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, followed by murders at a cafe event on free speech and synagogue in Copenhagen.

Writing in a Facebook post, Miliband said social media companies needed to “act swiftly to take down offensive material, block offenders’ accounts and stop them setting up different accounts”.

He said European countries should increase cooperation between intelligence services. “I think that the freedom of social media is incredibly important but we have to look at the ways we can counter this stuff online,” he said.

The British Jewish community has called for more protection, as evidence mounts that antisemitic attacks are increasing.

At an event in Lincoln, Miliband said: “There is real fear among Jewish families, among Muslim families, among people of all backgrounds about the rising intolerance that we see.

“We have to recognise that – but recognising it is not enough. Europe’s leaders have got to show a unity of purpose in tackling these issues. I don’t think we can just walk by on the other side when we have seen the kind of events we’ve seen in Copenhagen.”

Miliband, who is of Jewish heritage, said the Holocaust was very different both in scale and substance, but pointed out that religiously motivated crimes in Britain had doubled in the last year.

He said there needed to be better work within communities to “nip in the bud” the radicalisation of young people, alongside cross-border working between European countries.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Rowena Mason, political correspondent, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 17th February 2015 16.46 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010