On 3rd February 2010, Quilliam co-director Ed Husain was invited to speak at University College London (UCL) on ‘London, Yemen, Detroit – What makes a UCL student turn to terror? Can this be prevented?’
The event was chaired by Edward Malnick, News Editor of Pi student newspaper. Pi invited Ed to speak after a major feature interview in their newspaper. The event attracted approximately 170 students, including several members of UCL’s Islamic Society (ISoc).
Ed spoke about his own personal experiences with Islamists organizations in Britain and then focused on the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, formerly the President of UCL’s ISoc. Ed emphasized that we do not yet know the full facts as his trial is pending.
Ed explained that whilst Umar had already expressed extreme views and sympathy for the Taleban prior to his arrival to Britain, why was he not de-radicalized in Britain? Citing quotes from Umar’s postings on a website where he spoke of feeling lonely and wanting to take over the whole world to create a Muslim empire, Ed asks why he was not challenged on his views while in London.
The extent to which Umar was radicalized at UCL and what practical solutions are needed to contain extremism were among the audience’s questions.