In response to comments made by the Home Secretary Theresa May alleging that universities and the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) are complacent about the threat of extremism on campus, FOSIS has invited the Home Secretary to the 2011 FOSIS Annual Conference to engage and discuss with Muslim students on this issue. Confirmed to attend the conference is Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, who has previously stated that there is no evidence to link students with violent extremism.
Nabil Ahmed, President of FOSIS said today, "We are deeply concerned with the comments made by the Home Secretary, yet we believe the only way to progress is to sit and talk properly on this issue - to that end we have taken the unique step and invited the Home Secretary to our Annual Conference to sit down with Muslim students and openly engage with us on this."
He further added, "We believe the accusation that FOSIS has been complacent on this issue is false and unjustified; FOSIS has consistently taken measured steps to engage with key stakeholders, including members of the government, on the issue of radicalisation on campus - case in point the 'Radical Thinking Conference' co-organised by FOSIS and hosted at University College London just over 2 months ago. This conference - the first of its kind - explored discourses on extremism and highlighted the need for a mature debate on the issue, free from the sensationalism that often accompanies such discussions."
He concluded, "We find it disrespectful for commentators to throw around accusations of extremism so easily – especially when not only university vice chancellors but David Willets, the Universities Minister, himself have clearly elucidated how extremism is not widespread on campus, and have questioned whether universities are the "trigger" for radicalisation."
1. FOSIS (est. 1963) is the umbrella organisation of student groups in colleges and universities throughout the UK and Ireland, representing over 90,000 Muslim students.
3. For more details of the Radical Thinking Conference co-organised by FOSIS and UCLU Islamic Society, please go to http://media.fosis.org.uk/press-releases/1317-fosis-and-uclu-islamic-society-to-hold-radical-thinking-conference.
4. The FOSIS Annual Conference will be held at Cardiff University from the 17th-19th June 2011. For more information please visit: http://www.fosisconference.com/