LAHORE: Islamic extremists have infiltrated at least four British universities to radicalise Muslim students, says a “troubleshooting” imam who sends teams to campuses to tackle indoctrination, The Sunday Times reported.
Sheikh Musa Admani believes fundamentalists are bypassing campus bans on groups with radical links by presenting themselves as “ordinary Muslims” to fellow students or forming societies with alternative names. Some students, says Admani, have been so deeply indoctrinated that they are close to travelling to Afghanistan and Iraq to engage in jihad, the report said.
Admani, a Muslim chaplain at London Metropolitan University, runs a charity that helps to rehabilitate young men who have fallen prey to extremism. He is also an adviser on Muslim affairs to Bill Rammell, the higher education minister.
“We are dealing with people filled with hatred,” said Admani. “It’s hatred for the white man and the West in particular, because they have read the works of Qutb and Maududi (Islamist ideologues followed by Al Qaeda) who set Muslims apart from everyone else.”
Admani’s charity, the Luqman Institute of Education and Development, has been tackling the effects of this indoctrination by sending volunteers to campuses to challenge “the warped view of Islam” spread by extremists. The charity has received reports from students about fundamentalists operating in at least four UK institutions: Brunel University, west London, Bedfordshire University, Luton, Sheffield Hallam University and Manchester Metropolitan University. Up to 10 students at Brunel are being “deradicalised” by a caseworker from the institute, the newspaper said.
Jawad Syed, who nearly succumbed to extremism himself when he was a Brunel student, said: “Some of the students are watching jihadi videos and might be listening to different sheikhs encouraging jihad.”
Earlier this year the Islamic society at Sheffield Hallam University hosted a lecture by Sheikh Khalid Yasin, an American preacher who favours the death penalty for homosexuals.
Shakeel Begg, another radical cleric, recently urged students at Kingston University, southwest London, to wage jihad in Palestine. British-born Asif Hanif, who killed three people in a suicide attack on a bar in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2003, had attended Kingston.
Admani said some extremists win their peers’ trust in university prayer rooms before inviting them to off-campus lectures. In other cases, groups banned by the National Union of Students are thought to be operating under alternative names. Last month students at Staffordshire University were invited to attend a discussion entitled “The true word of God: the Quran or the Bible”. The event was addressed by a former member of Al-Muhajiroun, a proscribed organisation.
A further twist on extremism and campus life emerged in court last week when it was revealed that Dhiren Barot, the most senior Al-Qaeda plotter to be captured in Britain, had used a forged pass to carry out research at Brunel.
Brunel University said: “The safety of our students and staff is paramount, as is the security of our campus. We will look into the [Luqman] institute’s claims and respond accordingly.”
Referring to Begg’s lecture at Kingston, Professor Peter Scott, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: “Should the university be made aware of any concerns about the views expressed at such events, it has the protocols in place to investigate.”
Staffordshire University said it was investigating last month’s lecture. Manchester Metropolitan University said: “If any evidence of extremism comes to light, we will immediately act upon it.” Bedfordshire University and Sheffield Hallam University denied that extremists were operating on their campuses, the newspaper added.