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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Al Muhajioun and Hizb ut Tahrir continue to recruit at Scottish universities

Al Muhajioun and Hizb ut Tahrir continue to recruit at Scottish universities

July 20, 2005


Radical Islamists at Scots universities

BILLY BRIGGS July 20 2005
RADICAL Islamic groups are trying to recruit students at Scotland's universities despite attempts to ban them.
Extremist organisations such as al Muhajiroun and Hizb ut Tahrir are operating under different names and moving bases within the UK to avoid detection, it was claimed yesterday. The National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland said it was concerned that extremist organisations were trying to operate on campuses and that, although several had been banned, they had circumvented this by changing their names.
The comments came as the author of a study about to be published, called How Safe are British Universities?, said it was vital that universities in Scotland worked more closely with the security services.
Anthony Glees, director of Brunel University's centre for intelligence and security studies, said his research documented 14 cases since 1993 of people being charged with terrorism offences having been in contact with extremist groups on campus.
This included the case of Shamsul Bahri Hussein, a Malaysian who read applied mechanics at Dundee University and who has links with Jemaah Islamiah, the organisation accused of being behind a string of bombings in Indonesia, including the 2002 Bali blasts.
"The time for a softly, softly approach is over when you are dealing with people who will kill themselves for an ideal. It is a growing problem as more people are attending universities and as some are starved of cash they now recruit more from overseas without being careful enough of who they attract," Mr Glees said.
Yesterday, two radical Islamic groups told The Herald they would defy bans and continue to work within universities and Muslim communities in Scotland.
Imran Waheed, a spokesman for Hizb ut Tahrir, rejected allegations that it was an extremist organisation.
"We are an intellectual and political movement and we work in Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh. Universities should be a forum for debate and we are trying to overturn the NUS ban which we believe is completely unjustified. This is thought policing in its worst from," he said.
However, the organisation's website states its aims as establishing a world Islamic state governed by sharia law. The organisation's ultimate objective is "to lead the Ummah (the Muslim world) into a struggle with Kufr (the non-Muslim world), its systems and its thoughts so that Islam encapsulates the world".
A man calling himself Omar, who is based with an organisation called The Submitters in the Midlands, said he had given talks in Scotland when he was involved with al Muhajiroun until about a year ago.
"To us, no authority is sovereign. We do not believe in governments or man-made laws. Islam does not mean peace. The core word Islam means 'to submit'," he said. Omar said The Submitters did not recognise the Muslim Council of Britain, which condemned the terrorist attacks in London, and that it refused to take part in the electoral process.
Professor Paul Wilkinson, director of St Andrews University's Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, said he became aware of The Submitters only recently and agreed that radical groups morphed into different guises.
"They (extremist groups such as al Muhajiroun) move bases within the UK and form under different labels but that doesn't mean they have given up spreading their ideology. Al Muhajiroun claims to be separate from al Qaeda and it was certainly organised independently, but if you look at their ideology it is very similar eg attitude to the West and to conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims across the world.
"But there are differing views among these radical Islamic groups on how to achieve their aims," he said.
Al Muhajiroun is understood to have been active in Dundee.
Dundee University said it had no knowledge of radical Islamic groups being active on its campus. Edinburgh University said it was in favour of freedom of speech and, as such, did not object to religious groups holding meetings on campus, as long as they operated within the law and did not deploy inappropriate tactics.
Peter Wilson, chief constable of Fife Constabulary and president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, said: "Where there is an indication that protest-related activity could be assessed as verging on incitement to break the law, the police service would seek to intervene in whatever way is deemed to be most appropriate.
"In undertaking this work, the police service seeks to engage with communities of all descriptions with the intention of preventing or reducing the risk of criminal activity."

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