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February 24, 2013


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It HAS been published, and my response is this:

As my piece points out, the bar at which you need to be convicted of being terrorist plummets if you’re Muslim. So the notion that ISOC nasties somehow outstrip right-wing ones is a moot point. Moreover, the fact you are or have been an ISOC member and are a convicted terrorist does not concede a causal link.

But this raises more fundamental issues – why target ISOCs on these issues? It’s nothing to do with the spread of liberal mores. This is all about targeting ‘campus extremism’. Yet the evidence on ‘student extremism’ is highly tendentious, and those arguing in favour of this are frequently (1) speaking from a politically loaded or racist position, and/or (2) favour a link between ‘religion’ and ‘terrorism’ that is at best crass and at worst, again, highly political. When I converted, my ISOC included plenty of nitwits with unpleasant and inflammatory positions. And how many went on to blow people up? None. Their views were challenged.

They grew up.

Universities should provide more platforms for genuine debate and education, which in the current exam-centric culture, is rare enough. If City Uni ISOC is dominated by jihadi dicks, this move has just made them martyrs and sealed their position of authority. Along with sledgehammer anti-terror legislation and Home Office policies like Prevent, such acts may actually prove to be counterproductive – as in the Birmingham case, where families didn’t alert police to their kids trying (unsuccessfully) to attend terror camps coz they feared they’d get 10 years!


Ps. I'm not a terrorism studies academic like you, Paul, so I look forward to getting intellectually beaten up on this one. I don't mind learning the hard way!

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