Why has the BBC removed its programme about The Islamists at City University?

October 21, 2010 08:37

It seems that The BBC has removed its programme about The Islamists at City University. It is not available to watch again; interesting to note that The BBC has actually added the word "why?" Perhaps somebody at The Beeb smells a rat and has managed to raise the alarm.

Check out these links:

Lucy James discusses student radicalisation at City University on BBC London News
(15.40 mins in)
18 October 2010
Sorry, this programme is not available to watch again. (why?)
Last broadcast on Monday, 18:30 on BBC One (London only).

`Taliban rule` at British university
David Leppard and Kevin Dowling; David Leppard; Kevin Dowling
The Sunday Times
October 17, 2010

ISLAMIST extremists at a British university tried to impose a Taliban-style culture of intimidation, creating a “chilling effect” on the lives of staff and students.

A confidential report on the radicalisation of British universities found that Islamists at City University London engaged in “sub-criminal extremism”, abusing staff and students and leaving them feeling threatened.

The report, circulated last week to more than 90 vice-chancellors in England and Wales, documents how members of the university`s 180-strong Islamic society said adulterers should be stoned and forced women students to wear the hijab. One, after hearing a homophobic visiting preacher, said Islam condemned homosexuals to a violent death.

The society promoted “offensive jihad” or launching unprovoked attacks on non-Muslims, the report says. Its members allegedly threatened and intimidated Jewish and gay students. Moderate Muslims complained that their religion had been “hijacked”.

Using “aggressive rhetoric” against critics and non-Muslims alike, the society`s members described women as “deficient” and said they should not mix with men but stay in the bedroom.

Some members called Shi`ite Muslims “deviants”, and said Sikhs were “filthy” and “sick”.

The 38-page report by Quilliam, a think tank partly funded by the Home Office, will reinforce fears in government about the way that some British universities are failing to prevent extremists from using them as incubators of terrorism.

The focus of concern is the role of Islamic societies (Isocs), which are now active in more than 60 universities.

A poll in 2008 found that nearly one in three Muslim students believed that killing in the name of their religion could be justified. That figure almost doubled to 60% among active members of Isocs.

Last year Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a former president of the University College London (UCL) Isoc, was caught trying to blow up an airliner. An inquiry ordered by UCL concluded there was no evidence that he had been radicalised there. However, some critics dismissed it as one-sided.

Police and MI5 say that, prior to his case, four senior members of Islamic societies had been found guilty of terrorist-related offences. Two of these were former Isoc presidents: Yassin Nassari, who had instructions for making bombs and missiles, and Waheed Zaman, one of those found guilty of the 2006 “liquid bomb” airline plot.

That plot`s ringleader, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, was a City University graduate. In a suicide video shown at his trial, he said the plot`s purpose was to “punish the kuffar [unbelievers]”.

One of the City Isoc leaders used similar language about the university authorities.

In a sermon, he said: “It is time to penetrate the heart — the black heart of the kuffar.”

One of Isoc`s targets was Gemma Meredith, a reporter on the university newspaper, which published articles challenging the society`s activities. She said she had received an “extremely aggressive email” from Saleh Patel, then the society`s president, after a story about how the society had invited extremist speakers.

The newspaper`s website was also bombarded with abusive messages saying Meredith would “burn in hell” and “eat pus for eternity”.

“My greatest concern was always how insular they were,” she said. “The speakers were homophobic and misogynist and I think it was wrong for the society to host these people, not only for gay people and women but also because it had a bad effect on their own members. They were speaking to young and impressionable people.”

In other messages on the university newspaper`s website, Islamic society supporters said its editor, Fran Singh, should “wait for the angel of death” and spoke of her “day of judgment” coming when she would be “paid [her]wages in full”.

Patel appeared to be supportive of extremists, says the report, which cites a witness who said that at one event he claimed the charges against Abdulmutallab were fabricated and were evidence of an anti-Muslim conspiracy. Patel said last week he couldn`t recall making the comment.

Under his leadership, the society invited extremists to speak or place their material onto its website. These were socalled “hate preachers” such as Anwar al-Awlaki, who has inspired and recruited terrorists to the cause of Al-Qaeda. The society arranged to play a video recording of him at its annual dinner in 2009, but the university blocked the move.

The report summarises the society`s ideology as “one that aspires to a system of law mirroring countries like Saudi Arabia or Taliban-era Afghanistan, where moral misconduct is punishable by the state”.

In line with this, gay students also fell victim to the society`s “illiberal and reactionary” views. Giulio Folino, who represents the university`s gay and lesbian community, said his members were repeatedly “harassed” and intimidated by Islamic society members.

One speaker who spoke to the City Isoc was Abu Usamah, who had been secretly filmed by Channel 4 preaching: “Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.”

The report says that “in what appears to be a direct result of such ideological viewpoints, similar extreme homophobis statements were repeated online by some Isoc members”.

One, who identified himself as an Isoc member, had written: “As far as I know, Islam says stone them to death or throw them off a mountain.”

Student representatives supported the report`s findings. Carly McKenzie, of the Union of Jewish Students, said she had received many reports of Jewish students being intimidated by members of the university`s Islamic society.

“They had a stand and were handing out leaflets with very inflammatory material about Jews. Some Jewish students were shouted at. Others had leaflets thrown in their faces by the Islamic society,” she said.

“Our biggest complaint was that they invited such extremist speakers and attempted to invite others who had been banned from speaking in Britain. There was also a marked increase in anti-Semitic incidents.” The university authorities were eventually forced to act, shutting down the society`s website in May and removing its privileges, although some have since been restored.

Julius Weinberg, the deputy vice chancellor, said he agreed with the Quilliam portrayal of his campus in the last academic year. He said he was now confident that relations with the Islamic society had returned to normal, although he acknowledged some of its old leadership was still in place.

The uni bombers

Several former students involved in terrorism have been members of Islamic societies

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab standing trial for trying to blow up Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, 2009. President of UCL Islamic Society (Isoc), 2006-7

Yassin Nassari: jailed in 2007 for having bomb-making instructions. Former leader of Isoc at the University of Westminster`s Harrow campus

Waheed Zaman: one of three men convicted in July of airline liquid bomb plot. Former Isoc president, London Metropolitan University

Waseem Mughal: convicted of inciting terrorism abroad. Ran Isoc website, Leicester University

Kafeel Ahmed: died in Glasgow airport bomb attack, 2007. Former Isoc committee member, Queen`s University Belfast

Abdulmutallab: on trial `Liquid bomber` Abdulla Ahmed Ali went to City University

October 21, 2010 08:37

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