Discussion of Islamist terror groups is being “stifled” by political correctness, increasing the risk of young people being radicalised, a counter extremism expert has claimed.
Dr Usama Hasan said that it was crucial to debate such issues in order to tackle extremist views among the young but he told Turing House free school in Teddington, Middlesex, that frank discussion of the causes of Islamist terror was all too often thwarted, pushing these views underground.
Dr Hasan, the head of Islamic studies at the Quilliam Foundation, warned: “If you push these issues to one side, then it will explode.
“That is where political correctness went too far.
“Stifling debate is dangerous.
“We know these ignorant or dangerous views exist, but if you ignore them, they don’t go away. They fester.
“People feel a sense of frustration that they don’t have the freedom to express their views, which can lead to even more extreme views.”
Some universities have no-platform policies, whereby people with extreme views are banned from airing their views – but Dr Hasan argued this was counter-productive.
“I disagree with no-platform and safe spaces for universities,” he said.
“They are adults, not children.
“There is a middle ground between political correctness and going too far and the other side of the coin, which is inciting hatred.
“You have to balance the two.”
Last year, more than 2,000 children and teenagers were referred to the Government’s counter-terrrorism programme amid fears they were at risk of being radicalised, Home Office figures released last month showed.
Almost one-third were aged under 15 and more than half aged under 20.
Two-thirds of referrals related to Islamist extremism.