As an earlier report noted, there is also 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.” That is bad enough. But there is an even deeper reluctance to cause offense or challenge politically correct dogma by finding fault actual Islamic teachings. That reluctance encourages a deep state of denial that there could even really be that much of a problem. And so jihadist groups continue to flourish.
“Universities ‘complacent’ over Islamic radicals, Theresa May warns,” by Duncan Gardham for the Telegraph, June 5:
Theresa May told The Daily Telegraph that universities were not taking the issue of radicalisation seriously enough and that it was too easy for Muslim extremists to form groups on campuses “without anyone knowing”.
She also said the Government would cut funding to any Islamic group that espoused extremist views, and set out the “key British values” to which those seeking support must subscribe. It is understood that about 20 groups are already losing their funding.
Mrs May made her comments ahead of the publication this week of the updated version of the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy.
“I think for too long there’s been complacency around universities,” she said. “I don’t think they have been sufficiently willing to recognise what can be happening on their campuses and the radicalisation that can take place. I think there is more that universities can do.”
Mrs May said universities had to “send very clear messages” and “ask themselves some questions about what happens on their campuses”.
She also criticised the Federation of Student Islamic Societies for not challenging extremism sufficiently.
“They need to be prepared to stand up and say that organisations that are extreme or support extremism or have extremist speakers should not be part of their grouping,” Mrs May said.
Her remarks follow comments made by Nicola Dandridge, the head of Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, claiming there was no evidence that extremist speakers at university encouraged violence.
As part of the Prevent strategy, the Government will define as extremists anyone who “does not subscribe to human rights, equality before the law, democracy and full participation in society”, including those who “promote or implicitly tolerate the killing of British soldiers”.
There is some wiggle room for dissimulation on all of those terms except for the last. One line that Muslim groups in Britain consistently cannot cross without a public response rightfully continues to be the nation’s expectation of respect for British soldiers.
Mrs May said: “We are looking at a set of values we believe we have here in the UK and those people opposed to those values are people who the Government won’t be funding or engaging with.”
It is understood that the strategy will also name 25 boroughs that are most at risk from Islamist extremism, including areas of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford and Manchester.
There will also be a move to limit access to extremist websites from public buildings, particularly schools and public libraries.
That will be controversial, and could be quite a test for the moderate/extremist distinction.
Details of partnerships with YouTube and AOL to try to tackle extremism online, using lessons learned from anti-paedophile policing will be made public.
As well as fighting violent extremism, the Government will tackle extremist philosophies in general, including groups that can act as a “stepping stone” to terrorism.
“There’s an ideology out there that we need to challenge and when we first came in as a government one of the things we were very clear about here at the Home Office was we needed to look at extremism, not just violent extremism,” Mrs May said….