A recent article by The Times that termed the NUS’ decision to lobby the government to repeal the Counter Terrorism and Security Act “a sign of campus radicalisation” is a poorly researched piece of journalism that lacks balance and integrity.

The story relies heavily on the opinions of Student Rights, the youth wing of the hawkish right-wing think tank Henry Jackson Society.
There is no attempt made to give a context to the position taken by the Students Rights or its links and associations, and there is no mention of the CTS Act and the criticism it faced from even prominent Conversative backbenchers.

CAGE would like to highlight the following points in response to the article:

Student Rights is the youth wing of the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), whose main aim is to promote American security, financial and fossil fuel interests. The HJS played a key role in the formation of the Friends of Israel initiative, which seeks to underplay Israel’s human rights abuses and sees any criticism of Israel as a sign of extremism.

By blatantly towing the Student Rights line, the story seeks to curtail open debate on the CTS Act and its threat to democracy and the rule of law. Universities in particular should be places where these sorts of debates take place.

The CTS Act is linked to PREVENT, which prime minister David Cameron recently admitted was a flawed policy, and which CAGE believes, through extensive records of real life cases, is abused, leading to to intimidation and marginalisation of Muslims and paving the way to a police state.

Cage, an organisation that represents terror suspects and which has been accused of having a pro-jihadist stance.

CAGE is not pro-jihadist as the article falsely claims. We represent survivors of torture, rendition, and killings done under the blanket of the War on Terror. We represent terror suspects who are raided, arrested and held at ports under terror legislation with the belief that basic rights should be afforded to all in line with the Magna Carta.

Cage recently provoked outrage after claiming that Mohammed Emwazi, identified as the black-clad Islamic State executioner from videos showing beheaded Western hostages, was an “extremely kind, gentle, beautiful young man

CAGE’s comments about Mohammed Emwazi referred to the period in which we had contact with him, which was last in January 2012, pre-violence.We continue to call for open debate on the reasons people are turning to violence. Part of this process is to try to understand in a dispassionate and evidence-based manner the trajectory of individuals who have engaged in acts of political violence.

Cage representatives have spoken at campus events held by Islamic Societies heavily linked to Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group which espouses the creation of a global caliphate ruled by Sharia.

CAGE has no links to Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is not a proscribed group, but we welcome dialogue with others even if we may disagree with their views. Shutting down debate is not the way to seek solutions.

(CC image courtesy of ttwff on Flickr)

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)