- Last year, there were 132 speeches by extremists at leading universities
- Led to more than 20 university students being convicted of terrorism
- Many places haven’t participated in Government’s anti-extremism strategy
- University which has had most extremists is Queen Mary, in East London
Universities are providing a platform for more than 100 Islamist extremists every year, a disturbing report will reveal next week.
The fanatics are being allowed to make speeches at leading academic institutions despite ministers calling for a crackdown on radicalism.
The study says that more than 20 students who attended UK universities have been convicted of terrorism, or have lost their lives waging jihad in Syria.
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They include young men guilty of planning a ‘dirty bomb’ attack and a plot to blow up a crowded London night club.
The report was compiled by the Student Rights group, which is a project run by the Henry Jackson Society – a respected Westminster think-tank.
It revealed that a string of student bodies have refused to participate in the Government’s anti-extremism strategy, Prevent.
Rupert Sutton of Student Rights said: ‘Universities should be the best place to challenge extremist ideas, yet at present this is simply not happening – something that must change if we are to successfully oppose on-campus radicalisation.
‘Extremism on university campuses is a very serious issue, as the evidence presented in this report shows. Worse, the dominant narrative around Prevent remains a negative one – often fuelled by the very extremists it seeks to oppose, who campaign to undermine attempts to challenge the problem.’
Researchers carried out an exhaustive survey of social media and university websites and other literature to log speaking events.
Last year, there were 132 speeches by extremists, which featured claims such as ‘the West is waging a war against Islam’. There were also 145 events in 2013 and 132 in 2012. While the far Right hosted a handful of events, the lists were overwhelmingly dominated by Islamic speakers.
The Student Rights report says the speakers have ‘expressed views which promote the idea that there is a Western war against Islam, support individuals convicted of terrorism offences and express intolerance or opposition to non-believers’.
The hardliners also oppose democracy and speak in favour of being governed by religious or sharia law.
According to the report, the university which tops the league table for hosting extremists over the past three years is Queen Mary, in East London. Westminster, Kingston, King’s College and Aston University complete the top five.
The speaker who appears most regularly is Hamza Tzortzis of the Islamic Education and Research Academy, which tried to make men and women sit apart during a debate at University College London.
Tzortzis has been criticised for stating that apostates (non believers) who fight against the Muslim ‘community…should be killed’. He also reportedly said: ‘We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom.’
Other speakers welcomed on to campuses have attacked the ‘scourge’ of homosexuality.
The student unions at King’s College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies said they would not take part in Prevent unless compelled by law and would educate students on the ‘danger’ it poses.
The National Union of Students pledged to ‘block or cease accepting’ any Prevent funding.
The NUS Black Students’ Campaign called on all universities to ‘condemn/disassociate’ from the key programme, which it claims ‘attempts to demonise and isolate Islamic societies’. The NUS passed a motion claiming that Prevent had resulted in a ‘racist witch-hunt in the tradition of McCarthyism’.
David Cameron this week ordered a ‘full spectrum’ response to extremism to ‘take on the radical narrative that is poisoning young minds’.
From today, schools, town halls, police and health bodies will all have a statutory duty to pay ‘due regard to preventing people from being drawn into terrorism’.
But a duty for universities and colleges to also adopt the guidance has been held up by a row over how it should apply to ‘extremist speakers’.
Originally, the Home Secretary wanted the power to issue a ministerial direction, backed by the threat of contempt of court proceedings, to universities that refused to comply with bans on extremist speakers.
All speakers would have been vetted in advance, with student unions required to give 14 days’ notice. Universities, however, insist they have to promote free speech.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Further guidance for higher and further education institutions on managing external speakers will be published following parliamentary approval of the specific advice on this matter. The duty will commence for universities and colleges once the guidance has been published.’
Security minister John Hayes said: ‘The new Prevent duty is about protecting people from the poisonous and pernicious influence of extremist ideas that are used to legitimise terrorism. Protecting those who are vulnerable and at risk of radicalisation is a job for all of us. The new duty will make sure key bodies across the country play their part.’
source: Mail Online