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Stockholm suicide Bombing : Centre for Social Cohesion warnings ignored

December 14, 2010

Stockholm suicide bombing: CSC warnings ignored
Centre for Social Cohesion, 14 December 2010

Friends and family of Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, the Stockholm suicide bomber, have today claimed he was radicalised while studying at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton. There are further worries that he attempted to gain recruits by delivering sermons at the university's Islamic society (ISoc).

Since its creation in 2007, the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) has continuously highlighted the presence of extreme preachers on UK campuses and extremism within some university ISocs, as well as the dangers to national security this presents.


Islam on Campus: A survey of UK student opinions
July 2008

The most comprehensive survey ever undertaken of Muslim student opinion in the UK based on a specially commissioned YouGov poll of 1,400 students, fieldwork and interviews. Findings included:

• Almost a third (32%) of Muslim students polled said killing in the name of religion was ever justified.
• A third (33%) of Muslim students polled declared they were supportive of a worldwide Islamic Caliphate based on Sharia law.
• Two fifths (40%) of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of Sharia law into British law for Muslims.

Following the release of Islam on Campus, university student bodies, including the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, as well as Bill Rammell, then Minister for Higher Education, and a number of Islamist organisations, dismissed the survey's findings and continued to deny the extent of the problem of student radicalisation on university campuses.

A Degree of Influence: The Funding of Strategically Important Subjects in UK Universities
March 2009

The first report to analyse the high levels of foreign funding entering British academia, it highlights funding from undemocratic Islamic governments, the impact that this had on university neutrality and how donors such as the Saudi Arabian and Iranian regimes are allowed unchallenged platforms on UK campuses.

Hizb ut-Tahrir: Ideology and Strategy
November 2009

The most comprehensive report analysing the revolutionary group's activities in the UK. The report highlights how Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) members have used university platforms to recruit members and spread the group's separatist ideology.

Radical Islam on UK Campuses: A Comprehensive List of Extremist Speakers at UK Universities
June 2010

A comprehensive overview of extremist preachers invited by ISocs to address students throughout the country. These include al-Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki, and others who glorified acts of terrorism, promoted intolerance and fostered hatred.

Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections
July 2010

A ground-breaking report, it presents the most comprehensive ever overview of the UK's connections to violent Islamism worldwide, and profiled over 120 Islamism-inspired terrorist convictions and attacks in the UK between 1999 and 2009. Among the report's findings are:

• At least 31% of the individuals profiled attended a British university
• Seven Britons based in or with significant connections to Luton, al-Abdaly's place of residence, have committed acts of Islamism-inspired terrorism in the last 12 years. Three were members of the proscribed group al-Muhajiroun, who are active in Luton.


The CSC campaigns against extreme campus events, informs university authorities and student unions of the events and provides information on the speakers and their public statements.

In 2009, the CSC intervened to stop an al-Qaeda cleric, spokespeople for Hamas, Hezbollah (whose military wing is proscribed by the UK) and HT as well as other extreme speakers from addressing students on UK campuses.

As a result of CSC activism the following events did not go ahead:

University College London, February 2009 – The ISoc invited Azzam al-Tamimi to speak on two occasions. The CSC informed the university authorities that al-Tamimi is a self-described ‘…sympathiser and supporter of Hamas…' who has made public statements which glorify the actions of Hamas and Hezbollah and has repeatedly supported terrorism and suicide bombings in Israel. University authorities stopped the ISoc from giving al-Tamimi a platform on both occasions.

School of Oriental and African Studies, February 2009 – The CSC revealed that Hezbollah spokesperson Ibrahim Moussawi was due to address a conference of police, government officials and students and pledged to seek an arrest warrant should Moussawi be allowed to enter the UK. The UK Home Office denied Moussawi entry to the UK.

Queen Mary University, March 2009 – The ISoc invited Bilial Philips as a guest speaker to its annual dinner. The CSC informed the university authorities that Philip's, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings in New York, publicly endorses suicide bombings as a military tactic. The event was cancelled.

University of East London, April 2009 – The ISoc invited Abu Usama adh-Dhahabee and Uthman Lateef as guest speakers to its annual dinner. The CSC informed the university authorities that Abu Usama advocates holy war, or jihad, in an Islamic state, preaches hatred against non-Muslims, and states that apostasy and homosexuality are punishable by death. Uthman Lateef preaches religious intolerance and homophobia. University authorities banned both speakers from campus.

City University, April 2009 – The ISoc advertised their annual dinner featuring a pre-recorded video speech by Anwar al-Awlaki. The CSC informed the university authorities that al-Awlaki was an alleged associate of several 9/11 hijackers who encourages and supports violent jihad, overthrowing legitimate governments and the establishment of an expansionist Islamic state. Al-Awlaki is now a spiritual mentor to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a contributor to the group's English language magazine Inspire, which encourages Western Muslims to commit acts of terror, and is currently subject to a presidentially sanctioned US ‘Capture or Kill' order. University authorities stopped the ISoc from playing a! l-Awlaki's speech to students.

Queen Mary University, December 2009 – HT spokesperson Jamal Harwood was invited to address Queen Mary students despite HT being subject to an NUS ‘No Platform' policy since 2004. Following communication with the CSC, the Student Union cancelled the event.


Representatives from the Centre have repeatedly spoken to students on campuses throughout the country in an attempt to raise awareness of Islamist radicalisation in British universities. For example, after a former University College London (UCL) student attempted to blow up a plane heading to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, CSC Director Douglas Murray delivered a speech at UCL warning of extremist preachers on UK campuses. The speech is available here.

Since 2007, the CSC has also spoken at universities such as Oxford, St Andrews, Cambridge, London School of Economics, the School of Oriental and African Studies, Durham, Salford, Manchester, Cardiff, Liverpool and Surr! ey.

The CSC's work on campus radicalisation has been covered numerous times in the national and international press, including in the Wall Street Journal, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Sunday Telegraph, Observer, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Le Monde, Spect! ator and Jyllands-Posten.

CSC Director Douglas Murray says:

The CSC has repeatedly warned of the dangers of extremism on campus. Yet university authorities and political leaders have failed to recognise the widespread severity of student radicalisation. Until they do, attacks like that in Stockholm will keep on occurring.

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