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Monday, January 18, 2010

Londonistan: Go to university, blow up a bar... or a plane

The man in the picture at the top left of this post is named Reza Pankhurst. He is pictured with his wife after being released from jail in Egypt in 2006 for belonging to an organization called Hizb ut Tahrir, which is a radical Islamist organization. I've discussed Hizb ut Tahrir several times on this blog. They're real nut cases.

As it turns out, Mr. Pankhurst is a post-graduate student at the London School of Economics. He was also apparently a strong influence in the life of Omar Sharif, the British suicide bomber whose bomb did not detonate at Mike's Place on the Tel Aviv beach in April 2003. Sharif and his companion were also sheltered by our friends from the International Solidarity Movement the night before they attacked the popular Tel Aviv bar. Mr. Pankhurst has been recruiting for Hizb ut Tahrir on the LSE campus. LSE sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in many countries but not in Britain, although the Government keeps the group “under continuous review”.

The group's stated aims are “the re-establishment of the Islamic caliphate as an independent state” but it rejects forcing reform “by means of violence and terror”.

The group is banned from recruiting and speaking in British universities under the National Union of Students' rules against promoting racism.

But a student at LSE claimed that Mr Pankhurst was one of the regular speakers at prayers organised by the students' union Islamic Society.

A society member told The Times: “He preaches every other week and is constantly bringing the subject around to politics, talking about Afghanistan and the need to establish the caliphate.

Last year he recommended we should attend a conference which I later discovered was organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir.”


A spokeswoman for LSE said: “No concerns about his conduct have been raised and we are not aware that he is a member of any proscribed organisation or has broken any laws.”

Mr Pankhurst was not available for comment at his home.
The Times of London, which broke the story, adds:
An Islamist radical whose teaching role at a leading university was exposed yesterday by The Times led a secretive “Brothers’ Circle” at which he espoused his hardline views.

Reza Pankhurst, a senior figure in the hardline group Hizb ut-Tahrir, gathered a group of male members of the London School of Economics (LSE) Islamic Society for private talks.


He is due to teach undergraduate classes this term in three topics covering nationalism and revolution in the Arab world.

Mr Pankhurst retained his position in the Islamic Society and the college despite a number of students raising concerns last year about the overt political content of his sermons at Friday prayers.

The Students’ Union confirmed that it had reported those concerns to the Islamic Society and raised them “informally” with academics.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in Germany for anti-Semitism and covered by the National Union of Students’ policy of “no platform” for racist and fascist views.
Britain has suddenly awoken to the menace that the Islamists pose because Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who tried to blow up Northwest/Delta flight 253 outside of Detroit on Christmas Day, was the head of the Islamic Society at University College in London. But its universities still have not awoken to reality.
Shortly after he tried to bring down flight 253 to Detroit on Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab became the fourth former head of a British university Islamic Society (ISOC) to have been charged with a serious terrorism offense. This is only the tip of the problem. Shaming as it is, during his time studying at University College London (UCL), Abdulmutallab was in the most conducive environment an Islamic extremist could inhabit outside Waziristan.

It is a situation that has come about despite repeated warnings. And I should know, because I've been one of the people trying to do the warning.

The results are often surreal. Just before Christmas, the al Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaki was the subject of an airstrike on his Yemen home that killed many al Qaeda operatives. Only last April my organization was trying to explain to London's City University why he was not a suitable person to address, by video-link, their Islamic Society. Despite already having been known to be spiritual mentor to two of the 9/11 hijackers, he has been advertised as the "distinguished guest" speaker at the U.K.'s Federation of Student Islamic Societies' (FOSIS) annual dinner in 2003, and at Westminster University in 2006. Awlaki is now thought to be the connection between Abdumutallab and the people who gave him the bomb with which he intended to bring down the Detroit flight.

A year and a half ago the think tank I head in London released "Islam on Campus." The reasons for commissioning the report struck me as obvious: The list of Muslim students from the U.K. who had become active in Islamist terrorism was substantial and growing.

It was a graduate of the London School of Economics who kidnapped and beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. It was two undergraduates from Kings College London who carried out a suicide bombing in a bar in Tel Aviv the following year.

But as the list of British students turning to terrorism grew, so did the denial that there was anything wrong.

Our report, published in the summer of 2008, uncovered routine extremist preaching on U.K. campuses as well as the propagation of extremist texts. In conjunction with the polling company YouGov, we also carried out and published what remains the only major survey to date of Muslim student opinions in the U.K. The results were deeply disturbing.

The poll showed that one in three Muslim students believed that killing in the name of their religion could be justified. That figure almost doubled to 60% among respondents who were active members of their universities' ISOCs. Other results included the discovery that 40% of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of sharia law into British law, and that 58% of students active in their ISOC supported the idea of the introduction of a worldwide Caliphate.

These horrifying opinions rightly shocked the newspaper-reading public. But the response from government and the university authorities was not to tackle the problem, but rather to attack the messengers.

FOSIS, which had been heavily criticized in the report, "rejected the conclusions utterly." The National Union of Students followed suit.

Then Higher Education minister, Bill Rammell, entered the debate—and studiously stepped onto the wrong side. Mr. Rammell congratulated FOSIS and the National Union of Students, expressing himself "pleased at the speed with which [they] have dismissed the findings." I hope those words don't come back to haunt him.

Mr. Rammell's reaction epitomizes the problem. University authorities and the government would rather ignore the embarrassment than tackle it. And when they do address it, it is almost always to attack those shouting "fire" rather than those working to start one. Last year during Israel's operation in Gaza, I was due to chair a debate at the London School of Economics on Islam and democracy. Radical students already holding an "occupation" on campus apparently threatened violence if I—known to be a critic of radical Islam and a friend of Israel—was to appear. The result was that the university authorities asked me to stay away from campus, saying they could not ensure my security or that of the audience.
Read the whole thing. For those of you who live in England, I can only say, be scared. Be very scared. And think about moving elsewhere.


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