Radicals Target Students

Sky News, October 5, 2006

A year after the publication of a damning report into Islamic radicalisation among students, Britain’s universities have been accused of burying their heads in the sand.

Professor Anthony Glees says many vice-chancellors are still failing to confront the issue.

His claim comes 12 months after he named 24 universities where he said extremist groups had been detected.

Sky News’ Home Affairs correspondent Rachel Amatt spoke to student Shiraz Maher who was recruited to a radical group at Leeds University—a group the Government is threatening to outlaw.

“One of the things we used to do is organise a dinner for all the new students—spread the members out—steer conversation to the core Hizb ut Tahrir ideology, foreign policy,” he said.

“Over the course of dinner we would identify students susceptible to the party’s message—they would be closely targeted and followed up in an attempt to recruit.”

Maher recently left Hizb ut Tahrir. But he offers an alarming insight into the way Islamic radicals operate.

“When they first arrive in the first few weeks what they seek to do is endear themselves to first year students—offer the use of a car, build a strong relationship—essentially one of dependence,” he added.

The recruitment drive is not new.

Omar Sharif—the British suicide bomber who in 2003 attacked a busy nightclub in Tel Aviv—is believed to have been radicalised at university in London.

University professor Anthony Glees warned of the problem in his report—When Students Turn To Terror: Terrorist And Extremist Activity On British Campuses—and he believes colleges are refusing to take action.

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