Richard Branson says we must beat ISIS, welcome refugees to defeat terrorism following London terror attacks

Each Virgin company works closely with governments on security: Richard Branson

Governments need to defeat extremist group ISIS and welcome refugees fleeing war zones in order to beat terrorism, Virgin owner Richard Branson told CNBC on Thursday.

The billionaire's comments come after an attack in London in which a man drove a car into people over Westminster Bridge near the Houses of Parliament before stabbing and killing a police officer with a knife. The attacker was shot dead by police. Four people, including the attacker, died as a result.

London's police force said that the attack appears to be "inspired by international terrorism", but officials have not confirmed if this is linked to Islamic extremist group ISIS, which controls some territories in Iraq and Syria.

Still, Branson said that defeating the group was key to ending international terrorism.

"One has to be realistic and I think the important thing that we've got to do is to beat ISIS, make sure they don't control any territory in the world and I think that's the most important thing we can do," Branson told CNBC in a TV interview.

"Then we've got to start winning over the minds and souls of people around the world."

The entrepreneur also urged governments to be more open to accepting refugees from war-torn countries, something that has proved controversial in Europe and the U.S.

"By being much more open and by treating people with decency, people from all walks of life, looking after people having to flee countries, that's the kind of example I think Britain should give and other countries should give and that I suspect is the best security weapon that we can put out," Branson said.

Paul Morigi | WireImage

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that the country would "increase our pressure on ISIS and al Qaeda" as well as setting up "interim zones of stability" to help refugees returning home. Tillerson did not give further details.

The U.S. has also been tightening up security at home. Earlier this week, the government introduced rules banning passengers from carrying large electronics devices in their hand luggage if they are traveling to America from 10 airports. The airports are in Muslim-majority countries including Cairo International Airport in Egypt and Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey.

Branson said that airlines must obey the rules, though he questioned the rationale behind the U.S. move.

"Airlines just have to do what they are told and we just have to hope that people who make up these rules have good reasons to do so because the rules that were laid down by the American government on a number of airlines yesterday were slightly strange in that they only affected foreign airlines they didn't affect American airlines … I just wondered whether there might be more to it than met the eye," Branson told CNBC.