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  • Combating and monitoring extremism

    by Rumbold
    6th June, 2011 at 3:07 pm    

    Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has criticised universities for not doing enough to tackle extremism on campus. The comments come ahead of the release of the updated Prevent (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.

    Universities should (and often do) make clear what is acceptable, and societies breaching these rules should have their funding withdrawn and barred from using campus facilities. But beyond this, there are limits to what they can do. There are dozens of societies on campus, and universities cannot be expected to vet all their speakers and events. Nor can they ban societies unless they get proof about what they are up to, which can be difficult. Universities should stop societies using campus facilities from hosting extremists if they are warned in advance (with proof provided), but they lack the resources to do much more.

    Some of the Prevent proposals do seem more well thought out however; the government is going to withdraw funding from a number of groups, on the basis that although they do not support terrorism, they are not moderate. This is right, as it moves away from the narrow ideal that the world can be divided between those who support terrorism and those who don’t.

    The greater focus on white far-right terrorism is welcome too, as there have been a number of far-right terrorists convicted. It also helps dispel the myth that Muslims are the only ones capable of supporting and carrying out terrorist attacks, which encourages people to ‘other’ Muslims by viewing them as uniquely dangerous.

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    Filed in: Civil liberties,Islamists,Terrorism

    11 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. sunny hundal

      Blogged: : Combating and monitoring extremism

    2. Daniel Pitt

      Blogged: : Combating and monitoring extremism

    3. Jon

      Blogged: : Combating and monitoring extremism

    1. Sean McHale — on 6th June, 2011 at 3:53 pm  

      I’ve been to meetings of Evangelical Christian Societies at University which come out with the most anti-Semitic drivel I’ve ever heard.

      There will not be any talk of banning those.

    2. Iqbal — on 6th June, 2011 at 4:47 pm  

      Sean- Nor indeed the numerous extreme anti-Muslim Hindu/Jewish/BNP type groups. Anti-Muslim hatred is of course freedom of speech

    3. Boyo — on 7th June, 2011 at 6:40 am  

      I spotted this comment on an item about the universities in the Telegraph (well, we can all surf) which I thought was spot on…

      38 minutes ago
      Recommended by
      2 people
      I attend the lesser of Birmingham’s two Universities. It is in the ‘Inner City’ and a large proportion of the students are children of immigrants with a high proportion of Muslims.

      I have seen nothing that indicates that extremism is present. Not been reviled by Muslims (they are friendly and personable); seen no posters or leaflets that would indicate conspiracy; seen no people for whom the traditional attire (pajamas and silly beard) is de rigeur. I’m not naive enough to say “therefore there is no extremism”. But if there is, it’s very well hidden (and, by contrast, there are other places in Birmingham where there is no effort made to hide “extremism”). One of the hallmarks of “extremism” is its tendency to be obvious by its “in your face” unwillingness to compromise on anything with anyone. As such it tends to stand out somewhat.

      I am profoundly wary (and I strongly believe you should be as well) of “leaders and politicians” who tell me that “Islam is my enemy”.
      If damage to me and my way of life is the measure then “my enemies” are the very politicians and leaders who seek to warn me - it was not a muslim who opened the doors in this country to uncontrolled immigration, it was not a Muslim who sold off the Utilities, scrapped the Apprenticeships, shovels cash overseas, enables Corporate tax evasion, sends bombers and helicopters to kill civilians in far off lands, fills our land with CCTV, is supine in the face of the EU. It is not Muslim faces I see on the news failing to keep the sneering glee out of their voices as they announce further cuts to public services and u turns on campaign promises.

      We were told by the alleged attackers of 7/7 that “because we had invaded Islamic countries that we had made ourselves targets” and apparently since then “extremism has spread”. Add to that we are now bombing another Islamic country - so - where are the attacks against us? Where are the hordes of furious young men who “hate our way of life”?

      Everywhere I look I hear “politicians and leaders” tell us that “Islam is the enemy” yet they do nothing to deal with “the problem”. They let more and more Muslims into this country, they continue immoral wars in Muslim countries.
      The two do not add up.

      It is the rich liars that are the enemy - it is they who are stealing public funds, breaking promises, bankrupting the political process, who are in bed with the bankers, all having a jolly good laugh at our expense whilst they line their pockets with our money. It is they who “hate our way of life”, because it is they who are doing the most damage to it.

    4. Optimist — on 8th June, 2011 at 2:14 pm  

      Maybe Theresa May should first ask to end “extremism” in her government when they want to privatize the NHS and force thousands of disabled people off the ‘benefits’ and on to the dole ques.

      She should also ask them to stop the terror that their Apache attack helicopters are inflicting upon the innocent civilians in Libya on a daily basis.
      While she is at it she could also try to ask her government to get the British occupation force out of Afghanistan and perhaps pay compensation to the families of the million or so innocent Iraqis killed in the illegal war.

      If the murderous and racist regime in Israel was told to stop using the innocent Palestinian kids as target practice, that might help as well.

      But those things would be too sensible so instead she wants the doctors to decide which Muslims are “vulnerable” to terrorism and blames universities for failing to clamp down on political students!.

      This would only further demonise Muslims and encourages councils, police and racists to scapegoat and spy on them while giving confidence to racists and fascists.

    5. damon — on 8th June, 2011 at 2:56 pm  

      You do the Jodie McIntyre impression very well Optimist.

      Do you know what the Apache helecopters have bombed?
      Have they killed civilians? There are a lot of Libyans who support NATO.
      I don’t particularly like the way NATO goes about it’s bombings myself as it happens, but that would be a different discussion. As would Israel’s disgusting shooting of people on their border the other day.
      But Bashar al-Assad is as bad, or worse than Israel it would seem.
      Extremism in Britain comes about because of very different circumstances. Not just events in the Middle East and muslim world. It’s more about alienation and identity I’d say.

      ‘Therapeutic Alienation’ perhaps.

    6. Optimist — on 8th June, 2011 at 5:35 pm  

      damon -

      Thanks for the link to Jody’s blog which I had not seen before. Also, I totally agree with one of his admirers who has said the below:

      but just the god’s honest truth put into verses!”

      As to who the ‘Apache helicopters have bombed’, it’s the terror that they spread is what I was reffering to, and they do it to all people regardless whether they support Qaddafi regime or not. Incidentally, I don’t support his regime either, but that’s another discussion.

      As regard to ‘alienation and identity’, whos to say that they don’t suffer from that condition because of the ‘events in the Middle East and muslim world’ ?

    7. Optimist — on 9th June, 2011 at 1:40 pm  

      “Nick Clegg argues that it is crucial to maintain a distinction between violent and non-violent extremism, and that engagement with non-violent extremists can be used to tackle violence. He is joined in this view by Dominic Grieve, the attorney general, and Charles Farr, the head of the office of security and extremism. Reportedly, the Conservative chairman, Baroness Warsi, strongly disagrees with this latest strategy but has been dissuaded from publicly criticising it.”

      You can read it all in the link below:

    8. Chris — on 11th June, 2011 at 9:46 am  

      If people are breaking the law, arrest them, but we all have the right to hold whatever extremist beliefs we like and to associate with like minded individuals.

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