5 New Signs of the West’s Myopia About the Jihad Threat

5. Prof: U of Calgary ignored warnings about “radicalization” of Muslim students

With a Muslim from Calgary, Farah Mohamed Shirdon, waging jihad in Iraq with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a former University of Calgary professor of religious studies, Aaron Hughes, says that for years he was concerned about Muslims on campus becoming jihadis, but that university officials were uninterested.

“I was very much bothered by the conservative nature of the Muslim student body,” Hughes recounts. “I was definitely aware of the potential for radicalization on campus. That is another venue in which potential radicalization could occur, so not just at mosques, but also on campus.” However, “I had been mentioning the conservative nature of these students and the university; they just weren’t interested in it.”

Hughes was also annoyed with these “conservative” students because they professed to know what Islam was all about: “They made teaching Islam from an objective perspective very difficult because they knew what the ‘real’ Islam was. Of course they didn’t.” Or maybe they did, but this professor, certain that Islam was a Religion of Peace, was sure that they were actually misundertanders of Islam, no matter how pious they were and how much Qur’an they knew.

In any case, university officials disregarded Hughes’s warnings about these students. They knew Islam was a Religion of Peace as well. The prospect that there could be jihadis on campus was no doubt inconceivable to them.