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Written by Student Rights on 4 February 2010 at 12pm

Get serious against extremism, before it's too late.

This morning, the BBC posted this article regarding extremism on university campuses, citing how Special Branch officers are being deployed to universities to monitor the rise of extremism and radicalisation. While David Lammy, the government's Higher Education minister appreciates the concerns of the authorities, it has also been stated that universities are autonomous and therefore no top-down mandate would be used to enforce monitoring across the country's 116 universities.

Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab was the sixth member of a UK Islamic Society to be arrested for suspected terrorism charges, however the Federation of Student Islamic Societies has stated that no evidence exists to suggest there is radicalisation taking place on campuses. Student Rights cite the sixth arrest as a correlation that is evidence in itself to show that radicalisation and extremism are taking place on campuses, and support moves by Special Branch and urge university provosts to take a firmer stance on these issues.

Malcolm Grant, provost at UCL differs slightly in view to organisations such as Student Rights and the Quilliam Foundation in stating, "Universities cannot be a bulwark against terrorism," which although true in principle, does not serve to say that universities should not be excusing extremism, radicalisation- or ignoring threats of it. Malcolm Grant is correct in stating that, "the influences on young minds are many and various," however as Ed Husain at Quilliam argues, on campuses, at Friday prayers, the literature stocked and the discussions occuring,"provides extremist mood music to which suicide bombers dance."

Raheem Kassam, National Director of anti-extremism pressure group Student Rights states, “It’s time for us to get serious about the threats we face from extremists on campus. Apologies are being made far too often in their favour- we have a duty to protect impressionable students from radical and often violent groups.”

We'd be keen to hear of your impressions of extremism on campuses. Get in touch at info@studentrights.org.uk