Saturday, 6 December 2008

Don't deny campus radicalisation

Ed: worth reading for the comments section as well.

On Wednesday, newspapers gave wide coverage to a report produced by researchers at Cambridge University which found that "British universities are not hotbeds of Islamic radicalism" and that "most young British Muslims are opposed to political Islam". The report, principally authored by Dr June Edmunds, was promptly – and deservedly – trashed by Professor Anthony Glees for its methodology (it was based on just 26 interviews at three universities, out of a total Muslim student population of 89,000).

I spent several years in Hizb ut-Tahrir and sat on its national leadership committee. During this time I regularly visited and spoke at least a dozen universities promoting Islamist thought. I can assure Edmunds that Islamist radicalism remains a problem at these and other universities – partly thanks to my recruitment activities. Let's look at the three universities where Edmunds conducted her research.

Take Bradford, where I often spoke about the need for Muslims to reject democracy. Until recently, Bradford University's Islamic Society (ISOC) was run by Hizb ut-Tahrir (it is now run by Deobandis instead). Thewebsite of Bradford's ISOC shows how these same members prepared themselves for Edmunds' October 31 2007 focus group, warning each other to "be careful what you say". No wonder her focus groups produced little of value or interest. In 2007 four Bradford university students were put on trial for terrorism offences. Although they were acquitted in 2008, their possession of vast libraries of pro-jihadist material was not disputed.

Or take the London School of Economics. A regular speaker at LSE's ISOC is Hizb ut-Tahrir's Reza Pankhurst, previously convicted in Egypt of seeking to overthrow the government. Other speakers favoured by the LSE ISOC include Kemal Helbawy, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who is not allowed to enter the US. Radicalised alumni include Omar Sheikh who brutally killed reporter Daniel Pearl in 2001. Read more

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