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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid