Perhaps the least surprising thing about the Stockholm suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly is that he went to a British university. Well, I say university: Bedfordshire University, or Luton College of Higher Education as it was called pre-makeover, was labelled “the worst university in Britain” by the Sunday Telegraph back in 2004, and that’s up against some pretty stiff competition.
As anyone watching the disgraceful riots last week will have picked up on, violence is not the preserve of the uneducated or poor. Indeed, throughout modern history, Left-wing student movements have shown both a willingness to commit violence to get their way and to condone violent acts by others.
Rather than terrorism being a product of poverty and despair, as we’ve always been told, statistical studies of Islamic terrorists show they are no poorer than the population at large. Islamism has very little to do with “injustice” and everything to do with alienation and isolation (80 per cent of jihadis are immigrants or the children of immigrants), a thwarted sense of entitlement, idleness, and radical anti-Western politics.
Which is why British universities are, of course, the perfect breeding ground for Islamism, combining all of those things. As Michael Burleigh described in his excellent book Blood and Rage, it was the expansion of university places across Europe after the war, where lots of unemployable young people with a sense of entitlement were immersed in violence-loving Left-wing dogma, that led to terrorist movements in Italy, Germany and elsewhere.
In Britain, where a hyper-sexual youth culture that glorifies violence (how many jihadis were formerly Ali G-alike hip-hop fans? I’ve lost count) adds to those problems. Our universities have become recruiting grounds for Islamism, beginning with our first suicide bombers Asif Muhammad Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, two young men who became just the latest in a long line of embittered losers who blamed the Jews for all their failures.
This process has been aided by a lazy arrogance by university authorities, who have allowed radical preachers on to campuses whose views on women, gays and inter-faith relations make Terry Jones look like a tedious wet liberal. Among them is University College London, alma mater of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underpants bomber, who was radicalised there. It’s particularly ironic as UCL was established to allow Dissenters, Catholics and Jews to go to university, and to free education from theocratic control.
Last week I suggested that British humanities departments may be a threat to our culture, but perhaps British universities are an actual threat to world peace.