Universities have been warned this week that Islamist extremists are likely to target freshers fairs looking for recruits, fuelling accusations that politically correct academics are burying their heads in the sand about terrorism.
Shiraz Maher, who joined the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir while studying at Leeds University but later renounced his membership, told The Times Higher that universities were “bread-and-butter” recruiting grounds for extremist groups.
He said: “If you go to freshers fairs at University College London, the School of Oriental and African Studies and the London School of Economics next month, you will find Hizb ut-Tahrir undercover.
“Vice-chancellors have been wilfully blind to the problem. Recruitment of students is going on. That is categorical. Universities are not on top of this.”
Bernie Taffs, head of security at the LSE, said that during freshers week last year he called the police after seeing extremist Islamist groups giving out leaflets and putting up posters.
Bill Durodie, senior lecturer in risk and security at Cranfield University, agreed that freshers fairs could be a target. He said: “The worry is that students might find a paucity of other groups offering coherent arguments.”
What? No plethora of moderate, peaceful Muslim groups advocating the true understanding of the Religion of Peace?