Online Radicalisation - A Case Study
A new report into online radicalisation has revealed dangerous new trends in the way British Muslim students are being directed to jihadist materials online.
The report, by the independent campus monitor group 'Student Rights' uses the case study of the London South Bank University (LSBU) to highlight the dangers of Islamic Societies (ISocs) distributing information such as videos and audio links to lectures by the likes of the al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
Al-Awlaki, who in 2011 was killed by a US drone in Yemen, is promoted on the LSBU ISoc Facebook account nine times between November 13th 2011 and January 2012. The links to videos have included comments such as 'so many lessons' and also lead to an online hub for extremist material - Kalamullah.com. The Facebook account has over 3000 subscribers.
In 2010, Roshonara Choudhry, who attempted to assassinate Stephen Timms MP, told police investigators of Awlaki's videos, "as you watch videos...a whole other list of related videos comes up and I was just looking through those and I came across it [more extreme Al Awlaki videos which led to her downloading all of his material."
Raheem Kassam, director of Student Rights and co-author of the report said, "The material shared online is an indisputable sign that people within the LSBU Islamic Society sympathise with or even revere Awlaki.
Given that Awlaki videos have radicalised in the past and given the number of people subscribing to this account from just one London university, it is clear there is an extremely serious and dangerous problem.
The Federation of Student Islamic Societies - the national organisation which claims responsibility for assisting and overseeing individual Islamic societies - has a lot of explaining to do about whether it endorses this behaviour and it if doesn't, how it can go on unchecked.
We expect the university to investigate this trend immediately and root out those responsible for sending students to websites glorifying al-Qaeda represntatives."