British Prime Minister David Cameron defended on Monday (January 19) a letter ministers sent to imams across the country asking them to explain to Muslims how Islam is compatible with being British.

"It's absolutely right to write this letter, to say that we all have a responsibility to fight extremism and anyone who reads this letter, and I've read the letter, will see that what he's saying is that British Muslims make a great contribution to our country, that what is happening in terms of extremist terror has nothing to do with the true religion of Islam. It's being perverted by a minority who have been radicalised," said Cameron.

In a letter to over 1,000 imams last Friday (January 16), Eric Pickles, the minister for local government and communities, asked imams to explain to Muslims how Islam can be "part of British identity", arguing they had a duty to do more to fight extremism and root out anyone preaching hatred.

Cameron described the letter as a "reasonable" and "sensitive" one.

"But everyone needs to help with dealing with this problem of radicalisation and anyone frankly reading this letter who has a problem with it I think really has a problem because it's the most reasonable, sensible, moderate letter that Eric (Pickles) could possibly have written," Cameron said.

In the letter, Pickles said imams needed to help the government do something it couldn't achieve on its own: explain how Islamic faith can be part of British identity.

"We must show our young people, who may be targeted, that extremists have nothing to offer them ... show them these men of hate have no place in our mosques," the letter said.