Universities across England have become a breeding ground for Islamic extremists and terrorist recruitment, a new report to be released by the U.K. government will say.
The publication of the government's revised “Prevent counter-terrorism” strategy is due to be released on Tuesday, and will reveal the shocking figure that “more than 30% of people convicted for Al Qaida-associated terrorist offences in the U.K... are known to have attended university or a higher education institution.”
It will further cite a number of examples of students from U.K. universities going on to commit terror offences. The report will reveal that another 15% studied or achieved a vocational or further education qualification, with about 10% of the sample bring students at the time when they were charged or the incident for which they were convicted took place.
The report warns that extremist groups are specifically targeting universities that have a higher than average number of Muslim students, in the hope of converting them to their more extreme interpretation of their faith.
The Daily Mail reports that 40 universities are identified in the report as being at “particular risk of radicalization or recruitment on campus”. Furthermore it will say that universities are being complacent in tackling the problem, with not enough universities being engaged with the police.
The report offers examples of terrorists who have attended English universities to highlight the shocking problem. They include Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, who was the Stockholm suicide bomber who held a BSc in sports therapy from the University of Luton, which has since become the University of Bedfordshire.
The Detroit underpants bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, studied mechanical engineering at University College London.
In addition, Abdulla Ahmed Ali and Assad Sarwar, who were convicted over the transatlantic liquid bomb plot, attended City and Brunel Universities respectively.
One student society will also be highlighted as particularly problematic; the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS). The report alleges that there are “several examples of students engaging in terrorism or related activities while members of university societies affiliated to FOSIS”.
Student visas will also be raised as an issue, as 10 of the 11 Pakistanis arrested on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack in the north-west of England in 2009 had student visas.