Will Muslim students be under surveillance for speaking against UK foreign policy and war crimes?

A BBC report has revealed that university and college lecturers are being told to monitor Muslim students for signs of radicalisation, including taking a closer look at essays to look for “troubling or revealing ideas” and having face-to-face meetings with students to assess the threat they may pose to the UK.

A review by Liberal Democrat Lord Carlile, has called on university and college lecturers to play a bigger role in monitoring young Muslim males who may be susceptible to radicalisation.

The review, expected to be published in May this year calls on university and college lecturers to analyse the essays and work of young Muslim male students more closely to spot any signs of radicalisation. They are also expected to keep close tags on students who they feel are vulnerable to radicalisation by holding face-to-face talks with them on a regular basis. (Robin Brant: BBC: 16 March, 2011)

The review has been praised by James Brandon from the counter-terrorism think tank the Quilliam Foundation, a London government funded think tank focused on counter-extremism, who said, “The same as university lecturers for example see it as their duty to tackle racism, sexism, homophobia, I think they should also feel it’s their duty to tackle radical, extreme and intolerant thoughts which are justified through Islamist ideology”.

Quilliam was founded by Maajid Nawaz, Ed Husain and Rashad Zaman Ali, both Nawaz and Husain were former Islamic extremists. Despite this however, the British government saw fit to donate £1 million of public money to this organisation. (Richard Kerbaj: The Times: “Government gives £1m to anti-extremist think-tank Quilliam Foundation”: January 20, 2009)

Despite Quilliam’s founders stating that they are independent from the government their lack of critique towards Western foreign policy in the Middle East speaks volumes.

On February 5, 2011, I wrote an article titled, “Cameron blames multiculturalism for Islamic home-grown extremism”. In this article I highlighted the views of two British Muslims who stood trial for conspiracy to murder and cause explosions in a failed double car bombing in London on June 29, 2007. One of the accused, Twenty-nine year-old Bilal Abdulla, a doctor in the National Health Service told a police officer that the British government and armed forces are terrorists because they use violence to achieve their aims and he was doing the same.

From Abdulla’s statement it is clear that his radicalisation began with what he perceived as terrorist crimes committed against Muslims by Britain’s armed forces. Many young Muslim extremists go down the same radical path as Abdulla not because they are somehow taught a perverted version of Islam, which may be only a small influencing factor; but because they see the hypocrisy of the international world order, where Western leaders and governments stand above the law and can do what they like with no consequences.

This is the reality of the situation which organisations like Quilliam fail to grasp or even discuss. Informed citizens are not naive, they are aware via independent media sources that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has nothing to do with democracy, but oil and Western geopolitical power in the Middle East.

According to Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor in the article, “Straw admits oil is key priority” (Guardian: Tuesday, 7 January 2003) Jack Straw, the then Foreign Secretary for Britain admitted that energy resources is key to British foreign policy and was a factor in the Iraq war.

MacAskill even quoted a Foreign Office source who said, “I can’t say that energy is irrelevant (to the Iraq conflict) but the issue is one we would have to deal with even if Saddam was a cuddly individual”. This means that Britain would have interfered in Iraq even if Saddam Hussein had remained a friend of the West. The entire justification for the Iraq war was effectively a lie. Organisations like Quilliam will not deal with these vital issues.

This leads back to the main context of this article regarding Lord Carlile’s review. Putting aside the obvious hypocrisy of Lord Carlile’s recommendations there are concerns that this review will be used to stifle any critique whatsoever of British foreign policy in the Middle East.

One example that this is already happening relates to Deepak Tripathi a former BBC producer and author of Breeding Ground: Afghanistan and the Origins of Islamist Terrorism (Potamac Books).

The research for Tripathi’s book came from his doctoral dissertation, a work which was rejected by the University of Sussex for simply being critical of Western foreign policy.

Tripathi described how he was met with hostility by the external examiner in a nearly two hour interrogation which was suppose to be an oral exam. He said that his thesis was left unmarked with no signs that the pages had been read and hardly any comments apart from a tirade of angry notes written on a few pages.

He later found out that the internal examiner had ties with the security services in Britain and the United States, where she was advisor to Homeland Security Management Institute, University of Long Island, New York; and she also ran training courses for the British military.

The external examiner was also a military officer who specialised in British military doctrines.

In the end Tripathi’s efforts to publish his thesis was frustrated by the examiners at every turn and he did not receive his degree. (”The Failure of Academia: British University endorses the “War on Terrorism”: Global Research: Ramzy Baroud: January 14, 2011)

What happened to Tripathi could happen to other Muslim students or any student who dare challenge Western foreign policy, and Lord Carlile’s review will lead to further infiltration of British universities and colleges by British intelligence.

Lord Carlile’s review threatens the very nature of academic freedom in Britain, in affect the education establishment is now under increasing surveillance to spot students who may be considered a threat to British economic interests.

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