Written by Student Rights on 13 September 2012 at 5pm

Student support for violent protesters exposes undercurrent of extremism on campus

This article by Student Rights researcher Rupert Sutton originally appeared on Harry's Place. Read the full article here

The outpouring of anger and violence that has followed the translation into Arabic of a film which insults the Prophet Muhammad today spread across the Arab world, with the US Embassy in Yemen the latest to come under attack.

This followed yesterday’s deadly assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi by militia members reported to be members of Ansar Al-Sharia, an Islamist group which operates in eastern Libya.

The film’s trailer itself, for those yet to see it, is laughably poorly made; badly acted, badly written and looks like it was filmed in someone’s back garden.

With Mohammed and his followers portrayed as pantomime murderers, rapists and paedophiles it makes no attempt to make any serious points and should be dismissed as the hateful attention-seeking rubbish that it is.

Unfortunately, despite these deficiencies it has clearly succeeded in its aim of driving Muslims in a number of countries to violence, as well as providing cover for militia groups to carry out their attacks.

However, whilst this overseas violence will be deeply concerning to the British government, responses to the film that have appeared on the Facebook pages of a number of British student Islamic Societies highlight the anger present on our own campuses.

This morning the head of the Global Ideas Society at the University of Westminster posted on the group’s page “US embassy in Yemen stormed and flags of Islam raised above it. Lebanon became the third. Yemen the fourth. No they haven’t killed anyone yet, so don’t go apologising for them”.

This startling statement, which ignores the deaths of the US Ambassador and three other officials in Benghazi, shows the extent to which some students will go to excuse and even justify the actions of violent extremists.

He also posted an article from the extremist Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, which called the attacks in Egypt and Libya “the rapid response from sincere Muslims

Outside of London, at Sheffield Hallam University, Islamic Society members quoted a slogan painted on the wall of the US Embassy in Cairo which declared “if your freedom of speech has no limits, may you accept our freedom of action”.

On the Facebook page of the same university’s Islamic Circle, a member denounced “a film insulting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) which was produced and funded by Zionists and Coptic Islamophobes”.

At the time of writing this society Facebook page also still contains a video posted in early August in which a voiceover calls on Allah to support the Mujahideen and make them victorious whilst footage of armed insurgents plays.

Here at Student Rights we have written a number of times about the tacit support for violent extremism that exists in some Islamic Societies, and in today’s posts several members have confirmed this themselves.