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Passion Islam I December 2008 LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS I 3
No evidence of radicalism
British Universities are not hotbeds do so,” said June Edmunds, from the prioritise a list of issues, human rights
of Islamic radicalism as alleged by University of Cambridge’s Centre for was consistently placed at the top.
the government, according to a new Development Studies. “My Muslim identity is what gives
study published. “Although a minority have extreme me these human concerns,” one
The study carried out by Cambridge political views, most are concerned respondent was quoted saying.
University found little evidence of about human rights and social The report suggests that many
any threat. Most Muslim students democracy,” Edmunds said. young Muslims feel alienated by
expressed more concerned about “The UK in particular now hosts western governments’ efforts to
human rights, particularly in Islamic a new generation of Muslims who support anti-democratic regimes
countries. are more confident of their national which oppose Political Islam, and
Young Muslims were described identity and more politically- engaged by their own governments’ apparent
as being better integrated into British than their parents,” she said. breaches of human rights.
society than their parents, with a Although Muslim students in Interviewees also cited the
stronger sense of national identity. the West are often regarded as wearing of the hijab as a human
They were said to be more like to join prime targets for extremists seeking rights issue and that attempts to ban
Amnesty International than al-Qaeda. young, impressionable and educated it were perceived as “incompatible
The findings come after the British recruits, many were found to have “a with western and in particular British
government issued new controversial stronger sense of civic responsibility commitment to freedom of speech
guidelines to universities earlier this and British identity than their elders.” and multicultural practices, and a
year to monitor Muslim students and Most were members of student European commitment to values of
Islamic organisations on campuses. Islamic organisations, but these freedom, choice and individuality.”
But the study suggested that tended to be without international “If there is a conflict here, it is between
fears of campuses being used as links. Their most commonly-listed the UK government’s promotion
breeding grounds for extremism were favourite websites were BBC News of multiculturalism at home and its
exaggerated. Instead restriction on and the online editions of The acquiescence with authoritarian
the expression of religious identity Guardian and The Independent, opponents of political Islam abroad,”
was seen as an abuse of human rather than religious sites. Edmunds said.
rights. Few of the participants in the study The study, funded by the Economic
“The findings show that the young were members of political parties, but and Social Research Council (ESRC),
Muslims best-equipped to lead the vast majority voted and many had and is the first part of a major project
radical opposition to western society attended anti-war rallies. about young Muslims in Europe, North
are also among the least inclined to When asked in interviews to Africa and the Middle East.
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