Jihadist indoctrination at universities in the U.K. is nothing new. If anything, al-Shabaab is late to the party, though clearly eager to catch up. “UK students recruited for Somali jihad,” by Richard Kerbaj for the Sunday Times, January 24:
Students from some of Britain’s top universities are travelling to Somalia to fight with a terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda.
Almost a dozen young British Muslims, including a female medical researcher, are said recently to have joined Al-Shabaab, an extremist rebel organisation blamed for hundreds of deaths in the east African state.
Somali community leaders in the UK say students from the London School of Economics (LSE), Imperial College and King’s College London are among those who have been recruited within the past year. The youngest recruit is believed to be 18.
One LSE graduate who grew up in Britain is said to have called his pregnant wife from Mogadishu, the Somali capital, telling her: “I am here defending my country and my rights. Look after my daughter. I don’t think I will see you again.”
An investigation by The Sunday Times into the terrorist “pipeline” to Somalia substantiates claims that Britain has become a fertile breeding ground for Al-Qaeda.
It follows the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the London engineering graduate accused of trying to blow up almost 300 passengers on a transatlantic flight on Christmas Day.
The security services believe that Britons travelling overseas to train and fight in lawless countries such as Somalia and Yemen pose a serious risk on their return to the UK.
They have previously suggested that at least two dozen Britons have gone out to Somalia to take up arms and even become suicide bombers, but community leaders believe the figure could be more than 100.
Al-Shabaab — Arabic for “the Youth” — wants to impose sharia across Somalia and is engaged in a violent struggle against the country’s western-backed government. Experts regard it as an African franchise of Al-Qaeda.
It has been proscribed by most western countries, including America and Australia, but has escaped a ban in Britain.
Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed, a moderate religious leader from north London, warned this weekend that Al-Shabaab is exploiting the loophole to recruit youths in the capital. Although many of them were born in Somalia, they have grown up in the UK and are British citizens.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Ahmed. “The group’s supporters and recruiters are free to do what they want.”
Ahmed said some families had received anonymous phone calls from Al-Shabaab recruiters urging them to send their children abroad in the name of Islam. “The police said they cannot take action until they [the recruits] do something,” he said….