Written by Student Rights on 9 April 2015 at 8am

CAGE events show FOSIS failure to challenge extremism

Following its attempt to blame the radicalisation of ISIS executioner Mohammed Emwazi on the British government in March, prisoner rights group CAGE has returned to targeting UK counter-extremism policy in the past week.

On Friday, the group began a nationwide tour of workshops attacking the recent passage of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, as well as other government policy.

Events to date have featured CAGE staff including Asim Qureshi and Cerie Bullivant, as well as Hizb ut-Tahrir member Ibtihal Bsis, and have claimed that the new laws will be used to target the Muslim community as a “bogeyman”.

They have also included scaremongering that Muslims angry about Syria will be considered potential terrorists, and that counter-extremism policy is interfering in the “right of an individual to hold and practice a political Islamic ideal”.

The tour has been promoted to students by Islamic Societies at the University of LeicesterDe Montfort University, and the University of Bradford, and described as a “MUST ATTEND” evening.

It was also promoted by the National Union of Students (NUS) Black Students Campaign, as well as the London branch of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS).

FOSIS has frequently been found to have been involved with extremist speakers or groups, and the current Vice President for Education, Ibrahim Ali, appears to have a close relationship with CAGE.

Pictures from the CAGE workshop in Sheffield on 6th April appear to show Ali sitting on the panel as the event started, although he was later pictured in the audience.

Meanwhile, on 6 March 2015 he appeared at a CAGE event in London, giving a speech in which he claimed campus intimidation was silencing Muslim students.

He stated that Muslim students were surveyed in prayer rooms, that MI5 and the police try to blackmail them into spying on fellow students, and that “they can’t put up with it for much longer”.

During his speech, he also highlighted CAGE’s malign influence in undermining counter-extremism policy on campuses, saying:

…what CAGE does is we actually create a broad coalition of organizations, of activists on campuses, to say that Prevent in itself is a racist agenda; it’s an Islamophobic agenda; an agenda that’s based on no evidence”.

That events featuring CAGE are being promoted to students by FOSIS, and that a senior member of the group is involved, underlines the extent of the campus extremism problem.

It is also further evidence of why FOSIS’ output on the issue should be given scant regard – and should raise questions about the group’s ability to fully challenge extremist ideology.