Why Are Britain's Universities Incubating Islamist Extremism?

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Why Are Britain's Universities Incubating Islamist Extremism? was the title of a seminar held at the neoconservative orientated think-tank Policy Exchange on 21 August 2006. [1] It was attended by Anthony Glees, the author of When Students Turn to Terror; the Scottish academic Tom Gallagher; and the right-wing Irish historian Ruth Dudley Edwards.

The news website The First Post posted an article on the day of the seminar promoting the event written by Tom Gallagher. In that article, and at the seminar itself, Gallagher argued that a main cause of 'radicalisation' amongst young Muslims was not injustice, but that Muslim students are not intellectually capable of achieving in higher education. He wrote:

[The] Government strategy to increase student numbers while diluting the quality of degrees, especially in the humanities and social sciences ... means many Muslim graduates will fail to establish themselves in the labour market. The word will spread that university is only a prelude to casual or low-paid jobs, which aids extremists grooming a young generation to reject Britain and embrace an international identity championing Islamic revolution. [2]

Ruth Dudley Edwards wrote an article on the conference in the Irish Sunday Independent. Starting with two anecdoates about how British students came home from university with more conservative religious views, Dudley Edwards continued:

Such undergraduates are typical of those who have been and are being turned into extremists on university campuses in Britain. In some cases, they have become murderers. These days they don't have to go to Pakistan to learn how to kill people: there are several training camps in England. ... Easy prey for extremists, said Gallagher, are British students whose talents suit them to be plumbers or carpenters, but whose parents are starry-eyed about their becoming professionals. With poor grades, they end up on a pointless course at a mediocre university and realise that they'll end up in some dead-end job. This makes them perfect recruiting material for those promising to give them a way of making sense of their lives. First, they are offered brotherhood and, through Islamic teaching, clear instructions on how to live each minute of your life. Then comes the indoctrination in the victim culture, the propaganda videos showing the suffering of brothers and sisters in Palestine and Chechnya and Iraq at the hands of Christians and Jews: obviously, no one points out that more Muslims are killed by Muslims than by anyone else. Nor are they told of how the West rescued Kuwait, or saved Muslims in the Balkans. The videoed sermons preaching the extermination of Jews and infidels come next. [3]


  1. Tom Gallagher, 'Wrong Muslim voices on campus', The First Post, 21 August 2006. [PDF created 25 February 2010]
  2. Tom Gallagher, 'Wrong Muslim voices on campus', The First Post, 21 August 2006. [PDF created 25 February 2010]
  3. Ruth Dudley-Edwards, ‘Fundamentalist Lessons to be learnt by Irish Academe', Sunday Independent (Ireland), 27 August 2006.