Extremists target UK students

New data has revealed almost 150 events with extremists on university campuses in 2012

by The Commentator on 14 January 2013 11:52


New analysis by campus watchdog group Student Rights has revealed that Islamic extremists appeared almost 150 times on British university campuses in 2012.

The infographic (below) shows that of 214 events logged by the group, 69 percent of them took place on university campuses last year, with the controversial Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) appearing at 6 percent of all events. HT is proscribed by the National Union of Students 'No Platform Policy', a instrument that campaigners argue is not used to full force on campuses.

The former HT member, Hamza Tzortzis, was the most prevalent of speakers, appearing 48 times. He has extolled the virtues of an the Islamic caliphate, inkeeping with the Islamist political goals, and expressed his hostility towards Western values, stating: "We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even of freedom."

Online extremism is purported to be especially worrisome, with examples such as the radicalisation of Roshonara Choudhry cited, the student who stabbed Member of Parliament Stephen Timms for his support for the Iraq War. Last year, 17 clips of deceased Al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki were shared with students, while Hizb ut-Tahrir material was shared with students online 42 times.

The highest number of incidents occured in February and March, during a time which campaigners say Islam Awareness Week and Israel Apartheid Weeks occur on campuses across the country, attracting certain individuals seeking to radicalise students.

Of almost 150 campus-based events, only 10 were cancelled over the course of the year, while 8 were simply moved off campus. 

Rupert Sutton, Head Researcher at Student Rights said: "These statistics demonstrate that the presence of extremist preachers on campus is not a figment of people's imaginations, but a serious issue that universities cannot afford to be complacent about.  

"The prevalence of material featuring terrorists such as Anwar Al-Awlaki is deeply concerning, as is the relative ease with which Hizb ut-Tahrir-linked videos and literature can be shared amongst students. 

"We hope that universities will use these figures as an opportunity to examine their policies and ensure that they are keeping their students safe from those who would spread intolerance and hatred on our campuses."

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