Written by Student Rights on 27 May 2013 at 4pm

Daily Mail: Theresa May cracks down on universities after claims that alleged Woolwich killers were radicalised at Greenwich University's Islamic Society

By Ian Drury

27th May 2013

Universities were under pressure tonight to crack down on Islamic extremists who spout hatred on campuses.

An investigation has been launched into claims that a series of radical speakers were invited to events and distributed leaflets to students at the University where both killers are thought to have studied.

The probe will consider whether Greenwich University’s Islamic society had any role in radicalising Michael Adebolajo, 28 and Michael Adebowale, 22.

Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday pledged to look at introducing new powers to tackle Al Qaeda sympathisers who try to recruit impressionable students at colleges.

She has criticised universities for being ‘complacent’ in tackling the risk of radicalisation.

One of Drummer Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo, 28, converted to Islam in 2003 at the same time that he studied at the University of Greenwich. 

He was radicalised by the banned group Al-Muhajiroun.

His accomplice in the gruesome murder outside Woolwich Barracks, Michael Adebowale, 22, is also said to have been an undergraduate there and studied on a business course.

The announcement of the investigation came amid claims that a pamphlet written by a preacher who was banned from entering Britain by the Home Secretary in 2010 was distributed during a freshers’ fair at Greenwich University in 2011. 

Dr Zakir Naik, the author, said in the booklet: 'Every Muslim should be a terrorist,’ it was alleged.

Dr Naik had been banned from entering Britain the previous year by Theresa May after she ruled that his presence was 'not conducive to the public good'.

Other figures known for their extreme views are said to have appeared in person at the university, including Dr Khalid Fikry, who has supported convicted terrorists.

The society has also promoted videos by another radical preacher, Abu Usamah, on its Facebook page.

Abu Usamah, a Birmingham based imam, featured on the Channel 4 Dispatches programme Undercover Mosque in which he expressed support for Osama bin Laden and said homosexuals were 'perverted, filthy dogs who should be murdered'.

He has been banned from several academic institutions for his extreme views. 

Professor David Maguire, vice-chancellor of the university, confirmed that Adebolajo had been a student there for two years but had been thrown out because his ‘academic progress was unsatisfactory’.

He said: ‘The university takes its responsibilities very seriously in terms of preventing extremism.

‘We are committed to ensuring that the university is a safe and secure place of study and debate within the confines of the law.

'We have diverse communities on campus and these include a range of different faiths.

‘Given the seriousness of issues raised, the university is setting up an investigation into the association of these two individuals with the university, to assess whether there is any evidence of extremism in the university (past or present) and whether we need to update our policies and practices.’

Professor Maguire said the university had ‘no record’ of Adebowale being a student at Greenwich.

Mrs May is determined to stop extremist clerics using schools, colleges and universities - as well as prisons and mosques - to spread their ‘poison’.

She said: ‘We need to look across institutions like universities, whether there is more work we can be doing in prisons.’

Universities UK, which represents higher education institutions, is drawing up guidelines on how to handle preachers who have a track record of inciting hatred.

It has launched a new campaign to show students, unions and academics what they can do to constrain controversial preachers.

The last Labour government introduced its Prevent strategy in a bid to stop young people becoming involved with extremist groups but ministers acknowledged this has stalled.

Rupert Sutton, from Student Rights, an organisation aimed at preventing extremism at universities, said he hoped chancellors would draw up lists of speakers liable to preach hatred or violence.

He said: ‘There is a problem with Prevent at many universities, partly because it comes from government and partly because it is seen as anti-Muslim.

'It needs to be refocused much more clearly as being opposed to extremism of both right and left.’

In January it was revealed that Islamic extremists preached at more than 200 university events last year raising fresh fears over radicalisation on campus.

A dozen events featured speakers with links to the fanatical group Hizb ut Tahrir – a controversial organisation banned by the National Union of Students. 

A study by Student Rights warned Islamic extremists were using social networking sites to radicalise students.

Videos of armed insurgents and hate-filled speeches from Al Qaeda figures had been posted on websites linked to Islamic societies at several leading universities.

In 2011, Mrs May said universities were not taking the issue of radicalisation seriously enough and that it was too easy for Muslim extremists to form groups on campuses ‘without anyone knowing’