London: Chiefs of the British intelligence service M15 have already warned 39 universities in the country that they have a serious problem with Islamic ‘‘violent extremism”.
They have expressed alarm over the fact that 14 out of these 39 institutions have chosen not to seek government grants to help them deal with the issue.
Their hopes of getting tough and positive action now lie with Professor Malcolm Grant, the Provost of University College London, who, with a small team of academics, has been commissioned by UK Universities to address the troubling situation.
Professor Grant’s report for UK Universities, the advisory body for the country’s 133 universities, will be published early in the New Year, the Daily Express reports.
Grant is seen as the ideal person to write new guidelines on dealing with student radicalisation not just because of his academic brilliance but because one of his former students, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried to blow up a jet over Detroit last Christmas Day.
Inquiries, however, suggest that his report may not deliver the much-needed wake-up call to chancellors and vice chancellors.
Sources fear it is likely to be a wordy academic discourse which tries to balance the need for freedom of speech and academic freedom - while also tackling extremism, a stance which some argue is a recipe for fence-sitting.
Cynics say the report will not suggest a foolproof system of spotting the dark side of students, and that graduates of terror will be not be easier to spot, and that the system will remain largely as it is without the reform desperately needed.
Professor Anthony Glees, director of security studies at Buckinghamshire University, said: “It is a very serious issue which could require new laws and definitely tougher procedures so this committee would be ideal for the job.”