Logic takes heat out of extremism

20th June 2008 at 01:00
If Muslim students had been marginalised - and potentially radicalised - by the Government's proposals to crack down on extremism in colleges, Al-Qaeda and its supporters would have scored a remarkable victory

If Muslim students had been marginalised - and potentially radicalised - by the Government's proposals to crack down on extremism in colleges, Al-Qaeda and its supporters would have scored a remarkable victory. The history of Northern Ireland has taught us that any measure that upsets a minority group - especially if it gives rise to genuine grievances - is a potential gift to the recruitment sergeants of violent organisations which claim to represent their interests.

Consultation with 40 principals has now made it clear that colleges would prefer to address the violence they actually see in their communities - that which is caused daily by armed gangs of teenagers.

Bill Rammell, the further and higher education minister, hints strongly that the proposed guidance on extremists in colleges could be modified, as it has been already in universities, because the Government sees that sensitivity is needed in dealing with ethnic tension at community level.

It appears that those who support terrorism are about to be met with the ultimate force - an outbreak of level-headed moderation and understanding.

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