News / Europe

Study: Christmas Bomber 'Not Radicalized at British University'

In this 2001 image made available Dec. 28, 2009 by teacher Mike Rimmer, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab poses with a group of fellow pupils from Lome's International School, Togo, while on a school trip to London.
In this 2001 image made available Dec. 28, 2009 by teacher Mike Rimmer, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab poses with a group of fellow pupils from Lome's International School, Togo, while on a school trip to London.

A new report by an independent panel published in Britain says there is no evidence that alleged bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was radicalized at a British university. Abdulmutallab is accused of trying to blow up a U.S.-bound flight on Christmas Day last year.

Stephen Wall is chair of the governing body at Britain's University College London,  where Abdulmutallab was a student.  University College London appointed the independent panel which conducted the study .

What evidence showed

He says the evidence suggests that on the outside, at least, the 23-year-old Nigerian was a well adjusted student.

"Those who knew him, both academics and his friends, described him as moderate, affable, sociable, football-player, a devout Muslim but in no way trying to proselytize others, responsible president of the Islamic society," Wall said.

Abdulmutallab graduated from UCL in 2008. He's accused of trying to blow up a U.S. bound airplane on December 25 of the following year, by concealing a bomb in his underwear. He faces six federal charges in the U.S. including the willful attempt to blow up an aircraft.

When the bomb scare happened some analysts suggested that Britain's universities were becoming a hub for the radicalization of Muslims in Britain.

A broad review of the situation is currently being carried out by a representative body of British universities.

Need for change

But Wall says the results show that UCL, at least, is no breeding ground for terror. Nonetheless, he says some changes may need to take place.

"Obviously we have to think about the balance of free speech on the one hand and incitement on the other," noted Wall.

The report recommended that UCL do more to monitor visiting speakers and scrutinize student events.

Benjamin Ward, from the international watchdog Human Rights Watch, says people in Britain must be free to discuss non-violent beliefs.

"It's often people who espouse non-violent but nevertheless extreme views who are most likely to have traction with the young men who are engaged with violence," Ward said. "So I think shutting off those avenues of discussion is actually unhelpful."

Anti-terrorism measures

He says a major source of radicalization in Britain is the government's Draconian anti-terrorism measures, which he says have isolated some communities.

"Abusive counterterrorism measures that violate human rights are actually extremely counterproductive in efforts to prevent radicalization and recruitment," Ward added.

Abdulmutallab has pleaded not guilty to the charges of trying to blow up the Northwest Airlines plane.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid