Prohibiting extremist preachers from speaking on university campuses will not stop the radicalisation of impressionable young minds – and the ongoing coalition row between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats shows the Tories at their authoritarian worst.
“Should these men be allowed in UK universities?” frets The Times of London, in a report which begins:
Radical and intolerant Islamist leaders preached to crowds of students at almost 200 official events in the past year, according to a study of external speakers at universities including Cambridge, Birmingham and University College London.
Segregated seating for male and female students is understood to have been implemented for at least a quarter of those public meetings held by the Islamic societies at 21 universities.
The issue of university campus extremism has been brought into sharp relief since it emerged that Mohammed Emwazi, or “Jihadi John”, may have been radicalised while studying at Westminster University in London. This revelation has led to renewed scrutiny of various Muslim student organisations, their invited speakers and their practices (such as segregated seating in some instances). And this scrutiny is often welcome.
But the government goes too far when it seeks to make universities responsible for enforcing the censorship of ideas deemed “extremist”, as the BBC reports: