LONDON (AFP) - Muslim youngsters who are being radicalised by their parents should be treated as child abuse victims and removed from their families, London Mayor Boris Johnson said on Monday.
Children at risk from Islamic extremism should be taken into state care to prevent them becoming "potential killers or suicide bombers", Mr Johnson wrote in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
The Conservative said there was a "built-in" British reluctance to be judgmental about other cultures, plus a lack of clarity in the law was making the police and social services reluctant to intervene.
"The problem of radicalisation is not getting conspicuously worse - but nor is it going away," he wrote.
"The most important question now is how we prevent other young men, and women, from succumbing to that awful virus: the contagion of radical Islamic extremism."
He said there were "a few thousand people" in London being monitored by the security services trying to ensure their ranks are not swelled.
Mr Johnson added that the problem of extremist clerics was widely understood, but less so the fact that some young people were now being radicalised at home by their own guardians.
"It is estimated that there could be hundreds of children - especially those who come within the orbit of the banned extremist group Al-Muhajiroun - who are being taught crazy stuff," a "mad yearning for murder and death".
"A child may be taken into care if he or she is being exposed to pornography, or is being abused - but not if the child is being habituated to this utterly bleak and nihilistic view of the world that could lead them to become murderers.
"I have been told of at least one case where the younger siblings of a convicted terrorist are well on the road to radicalisation - and it is simply not clear that the law would support intervention.
"This is absurd. The law should obviously treat radicalisation as a form of child abuse," and remove them into care "for their own safety and for the safety of the public".
Mr Johnson said authorities had likewise "tiptoed around" paedophilia and female genital mutilation for "fear of offending this or that minority", and children had suffered as a result.
Britain needs to be less phobic of intruding into the ways of minority groups, the 49-year-old said.