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British universities are fostering extremism through Islamic study centres
which were set up to tackle that very same threat, an academic has warned.

The centres, funded by multi-million- pound donations from Saudi Arabia and
Muslim organisations, have been earmarked by the Government as a key
component in the drive to counter radicalisation.

But according to a report by Professor Anthony Glees, the director of Brunel
University’s Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, some are proving
to be counter-productive.

He said the centres peddled one-sided views of Islam and the Middle East,
tantamount to anti-Western propaganda.

Professor Glees added: “The Government must reconsider its plan to use
higher education in the fight against the radicalisation of young British

“If it proceeds, it will create the very situation the Government wants to
avoid: the development of self-imposed Muslim apartheid in the UK.”

Last year ministers declared Islamic studies a “strategically important
subject” and set aside £1million for its quango, the Higher Education
Funding Council for England, to develop teaching of the subject.

According to Professor Glees, Oxford and Cambridge are among eight
universities to have accepted more than £233.5million from Saudi and Muslim
sources since 1995.

He said most of that total – which amounts to the largest source of external
funding to UK universities – financed Islamic study centres.

Arab donors claim their financial gifts help academic institutions promote
understanding between the West and Islamic worlds.

At a conference in London this Thursday the Government is expected to call
for more of the centres at UK universities.

Durham, University College London, Exeter, Dundee, City and the London
School of Economics are the other six institutions to have accepted
donations from Saudi royals and other Arab sources.

Professor Glees called on the Government to ban universities from accepting
money from Saudi or Islamic groups to fund Islamic studies and wants all
university donations to be made public.

His report will be published by the Centre for Social Cohesion think tank.

A spokesman for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills said:
“Institutions have the primary responsibility for determining and
maintaining the standards of the awards they deliver and the quality of the
education they provide.”


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