Brit universities are ‘hotbeds of Islamic extremism’: Report

A report stressed that Brit universities presented a “unique challenge”.

Last Updated: Apr 28, 2011, 16:30 PM IST

London: Britain’s homeland security strategy has failed to address in sufficient detail how to tackle the threat of extremism at universities, Members of Parliament and peers have said in a report.

In the report, entitled ‘Keeping Britain Safe’, the parliamentarians said some universities and colleges had become sites where extremist religion and radicalism could flourish “beyond the sight of academics”.

They also noted that there was a “reluctance to co-operate with the police on the part of some universities that did not want to be seen to be ‘spying’ on their students”, The Telegraph reports.

The report stressed that universities presented a “unique challenge”, but “in some cases [they] evidently struggle to establish the correct balance between academic freedoms and university authorities’ responsibilities as part of ensuring homeland security”.

It further said the problem of universities as places of radicalisation required “urgent and sustained attention by the government”.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, popularly referred to as the “Underwear Bomber”, was a former student at University College London.

Abdulmutallab had attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, on December 25, 2009.

The 24-year-old was subsequently charged on six criminal counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder of 289 people. He is in US custody, awaiting further legal proceedings.

He was the Islamic Society president at University College London from 2006 to 2007.