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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Students block Islamic militants
Student recruitment leaflets have sparked anger
The National Union of Students is trying to keep a militant Islamic group off university campuses - accusing it of promoting "racism" and "hatred".

Student leaders in Manchester called the police when the organisation, Al-Muhajroun, began handing out leaflets to students on Monday.

Students want to stop the group using freshers fairs to recruit young Muslim students arriving at university for the first time in the next few weeks.

The leaflets incite hatred, they talk about the destruction of Israel and about promoting homophobia - it's generally racist material

Brooks Duke

The NUS says that the group is using "racist" leaflets that promote hatred against Israel and homosexuals.

The union has offered its assistance to universities which want to enforce a policy of not allowing a platform for offensive views on race.

"The leaflets incite hatred, they talk about the destruction of Israel and about promoting homophobia - it's generally racist material ... they also promote the discussion about the Jihad and the Holy War", the NUS vice-president, Brooks Duke told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.


But the union has emphasised that it wants to defend multiculturalism and the freedom of religious expression - and that its criticisms of this specific group is part of its campaign to encourage open debate and mutual understanding between communities.

And the union says that there is no connection between recent attacks in the United States and its opposition to this organisation - with the blocking of Al-Muhajroun dating back to the union's annual conference in March.

In particular conference delegates had been concerned over allegations of anti-Semitism.

'Prosecution should follow'

Student fears over the activities of extremist groups on campus were echoed by Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, Phil Willis.

Students, particularly those beginning university, needed to greater protection from the recruitment efforts of extremist groups, he said.

"I think there's a very worrying trend here, it's not just this year, the last three years there have been major problems with extreme Muslim groups targeting campuses," he said.

Such recruitment activities could be deterring Muslim students from attending university, he said.

And he said that "prosecutions should follow" where recruitment material was in breach of the law.

'The leaflets incite hatred'
Student leaders want extremists banned from campuses
See also:

14 Sep 01 | Education
Fear closes Islamic schools
14 Sep 01 | Americas
Islam: Faith under fire
09 May 01 | Education
Oxford drops Hitler historian debate
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