Sat, Sep 17, 2005 - Page 6 News List

Report warns of extremists at British universities


Extremist organizations are operating on university campuses across the UK and pose a serious threat to national security, according to a new report.

The education secretary for England and Wales, Ruth Kelly, on Thursday ordered university vice chancellors to clamp down on student extremists in the wake of the July terror attacks in London.

But a report to be published next week by Anthony Glees, the director of the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University, England, lists more than 30 institutions -- including some of the most high-profile universities in Britain -- where "extremist and/or terror groups" have been detected.

"This is a serious threat," Glees said. "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 organizations and animal-rights extremists.

Among universities named are Cambridge, where the British National Party was detected; Oxford, where the report said animal-rights extremists were active; and the London School of Economics and Manchester University, which had active Islamist extremist groups.

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," he said.

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

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