In a recent post I cited new guidelines from the British government asking staff on campuses to take specific actions in face of fears that campuses are being infiltrated by extremists recruiting candidates to wage jihad.
Here is the actual 20-page government report, “Promoting Good Campus Relations: Working With Staff and Students To Build Community Cohesion And Tackle Violent Extremism In The Name Of Islam At Universities And Colleges.”
As the Telegraph notes, the document “outlines real-life cases and how similar scenarios should be handled by universities,” for instance, students being discovered “logging on to websites showing ‘somebody making a home-made explosive device.’”
In another case, “students had raised concerns about a speaker delivering a talk called ‘Terrorist or freedom fighter?’” In this kind of situation, the report states, professors and administrators should check into the preacher’s background and consider expelling him from the university.
The report also tells of a member of an Islamic society who remonstrated that meetings had begun to “turn more extreme under the influence of a number of individuals who have recently joined.” It recommends that universities remove funding from groups proven to have breached religious hatred laws. “Taking control of Friday prayers, other prayer meetings and sermons and the use of charismatic radical speakers can be means by which extreme groups seek to spread their messages.”
The report warns that some students, particularly those away from home for the first time, are particularly vulnerable to being targeted by extremists and that some “quite rightly” seek to learn about their faith but then fall under the influence of extremists. It also says campuses, which are often filled with “ethnically segregated communities,” enable extremists to “form new networks, and extend existing ones.”
Simultaneously in the U.S., according to the New York Post, the government is reported to have mounted “a massive new effort…with the first canvass already under way in New York” to locate “’nodes’ where charismatic zealots troll for terror recruits…who could attack America from within.”
The Post says this is “the first time the sophisticated hunt has been made public” and that the authorities fear that radicalization will in the long run expand in this country.
And, acknowledges Charles Allen, the chief intelligence officer at the Department of Homeland Security, one of the nodes (where zealots trod) is university groups.
After the DHS sets up a “baseline” for the number of threatening home-grown Muslims, they will establish “radicalization indicators” to determine whether danger from extremists is increasing, and this information will be compiled in a database named the Homeland Secure Data Network.
The agency plans to share the information with local officials most likely to spot radicalization at its inception.
Among those best suited to witness such radicalization are, of course, university officials and other campus denizens.
In a related commentary (on the recent thwarting of the terror plot to set fire to JFK airport in New York and the earlier stopping of an armed terror attack against U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey), the editors of The Wall Street Journal commend our law-enforcement authorities for staying “focused on discovering, surveilling and stopping terrorist acts against the U.S. mainland.” “This is no small achievement,” writes the Journal, in face of the current soft-on-terrorism political environment.
The Journal exhorts “the political class” to help the authorities “walking the anti-terror beat.” The academic class in the UK and the U.S. – and indeed throughout the world – needs to take this same exhortation to heart.