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Radical Islam is becoming a more serious issue in the western world. Over the past couple years we have seen numerous radical terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States. However, European nations are currently experiencing the brunt of these attacks.
Since the Islamic State (ISIS) has lost so much territory, they have focused on infiltrating western nations and blending in with the society of the host country. Then, these individuals plan and execute deadly attacks that have taken a significant number of lives.
This isn’t the only way they are fighting the West. The United Kingdom has been one of the primary targets for ISIS operatives. Along with installing jihadists into the country, they are also working to influence individuals and organizations to oppose and ultimately dismantle programs designed to counteract radical extremism.
Detailing Radicalization On Campus
According to their website, the Henry Jackson Society is a “British-based think-tank” whose reason for being is “fostering a strong British and European commitment towards freedom, liberty, constitutional democracy, human rights, government and institutional reform and a robust foreign, security and defence policy and transatlantic alliance.”
They recently released a report titled “Tolerating the Intolerant: A Report on ‘Students not Suspects,” that details the activities of certain organizations who are opposing the United Kingdom’s efforts at preventing individuals from becoming radicalized. The U.K. has a program called “Prevent” that is designed to keep their citizens from becoming radical Islamic terrorists.
The Prevent Program
The U.K.’s Prevent program is a part of their four-pronged counterterrorism strategy. According to the BBC, the program is “designed to support people at risk of joining extremist groups and carrying out terrorist activities.”
The operation is similar to the United States’ Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program. Under this initiative, police and other groups build relationships with faith leaders, doctors, teachers, and other individuals who report any people who are engaged in suspicious activities.
The Prevent program targets potential Islamic terrorists as well as far-right extremists. Under this program, the British government also works with universities whose students can be potential targets for radicalization.
The Impact Of Radicalization On U.K. College Campuses
The threat of radicalization is a serious issue on college campuses in the U.K. There have been several former students who have committed terrorist acts. These include:
- Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — AKA the “underwear bomber” — who attempted to bomb a passenger flight to Detroit in 2009.
- David Souaan, who was convicted of preparing for a terrorist act in 2014.
- Erol Incedal, who was convicted of possessing a bomb-making manual.
- Roshonara Choudhry, who attempted to assassinate Labour MP Stephen Timms in 2010.
The Prevent program has had some success. In 2015, the British government stopped 150 people from leaving to fight for ISIS in Syria in Iraq. In November of 2017, they announced that more than 2,000 children had been referred to the government. Most of these referrals were under the age of 15.
Opposition On College Campuses
The Daily Wire interviewed Richard Black, the individual who wrote the report for the Henry Jackson Society. Black states that a group called “Students Not Suspects” (SNS), which was started by the National Union of Students (NUS), is working to abolish the Prevent program.
While SNS claims that they are not affiliated with radical Islam, Black’s findings reveal a different reality. According to the author, the group has invited extremist speakers to address their meetings:
“These are organizations that pass themselves off as legitimately bringing up civil liberties; they will protest the war on terror, or Guantanamo Bay — groups like CAGE, Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND), and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC).”
“But actually, some of the people who are involved in these groups have very, very suspicious backgrounds that are on the public record.”
Several members of the groups Black discusses have fought alongside the Taliban and have links to Al-Qaeda. Some have given speeches at rallies held by Hizbut-Tahrir, which is a group that calls for a worldwide caliphate. Black also states that many of these speakers “have histories of appalling anti-Semitism.’ This fact is interesting given that the NUS claims to oppose bigotry.
Black also asserted that SNS wants to push the U.K.’s government to eliminate the Prevent program — because it is supposedly racist and Islamophobic. They intend to abolish the program by convincing various organizations in the public sector to refuse to comply with the Prevent initiative. “They’re telling people to break the law,” Black stated. He added that Shelly Asquith — the Vice President of the NUS — told students: “We’re asking you to break the law.”
Why Does This Matter To The United States?
While this might seem like an issue for the U.K., the United States would be wise to take note of what is happening here. The U.S.’s Countering Violent Extremism program isn’t meeting the same type of opposition as the U.K.’s Prevent program yet, but it’s not hard to imagine that the left will eventually set its sight on the U.S. initiative.
Last year, four Islamic schools rejected federal funding designated for preventing radicalization. They cited President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on radical Islam as their reason for refusing to participate in the program. The American Civil Liberties (ACLU) also opposes the program, claiming that it “stigmatizes American Muslims and cast unwarranted suspicion on innocuous activity.”
While the CVE isn’t perfect, it is necessary. It is possible that Islamic and leftist groups might be more concerned with killing the initiative rather than improving it. We have already seen that the left is willing to favor political correctness over protecting American citizens.
Most of the terrorist attacks that radical extremists have carried out on U.S. soil were committed by individuals who were radicalized while living in the U.S. While there is always the threat of terrorists infiltrating our nation, we must focus on the people who are already living here.