Extremist groups active inside UK universities, report claims

Posted in Terrorism | 16-Sep-05 | Author: Matthew Taylor and Rebecca Smi| Source: Guardian (UK)

Students at King's College in Central London hand out fliers.
Extremist organisations are operating on university campuses across the country and pose a serious threat to national security, according to a new report.

Yesterday the education secretary, Ruth Kelly, ordered vice-chancellors to clamp down on student extremists in the wake of the July terror attacks in London.

But a report due to be published next week by Anthony Glees, the director of Brunel University's centre for intelligence and security studies, lists more than 30 institutions - including some of the most high-profile universities in the country - where "extremist and/or terror groups" have been detected.

"This is a serious threat," Professor Glees told the Guardian. "We have discovered a number of universities where subversive activities are taking place, often without the knowledge of the university authorities."

The study states that the Islamist groups Hizb ut-Tahrir and al-Muhajiroun, which are subject to a "no-platform policy" by the National Union of Students, are active on many campuses and often operate under different names. The report catalogues the activities of far-right organisations and animal rights extremists.

Among the universities named are Cambridge, where the BNP were detected; Oxford, where the report said animal rights extremists had been active; and the London School of Economics and Manchester University, which both had active Islamist extremist groups.

Prof Glees said personal tutors often had no idea about their students' views and that many undergraduates spent very little time in lectures or tutorials."It is in this environment that these groups can flourish without being detected."

But Wakkas Khan, from the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, said although there were individual members of Hizb ut-Tahrir at many British universities they were not organised as a group and did not pose a threat.

British universities where extremist or terror groups have been detected:

Birmingham (Islamist); Brunel (BNP, Islamist); Cambridge (BNP); City (Islamist); Coventry (Islamist); Cranford Community College (Islamist); Derby (Islamist); Dundee (Islamist); Durham (Islamist); Greenwich (BNP); Imperial College (Islamist); Kingston (Islamist); Leeds (BNP, Islamist); Leicester (Islamist); LSE (Islamist); Luton (Islamist); Manchester (BNP, Islamist); Manchester Metropolitan (BNP); Newcastle (Islamist); Nottingham (Islamist); Oxford (Animal rights extremists); Reading (Islamist); Salford (BNP); South Bank (Islamist); SOAS (Islamist); Sussex (BNP); Sunderland (BNP, Islamist); Swansea (Islamist); Wolverhampton (Islamist); York (BNP)