King’s has hosted 16 ‘extreme’ speakers on campus since 2015, new report finds
Only SOAS invited more
Of all UK universities, King's College London has ranked second for the highest number of extremist speakers invited to campus since 2015.
A recently published report by the Henry Jackson Society revealed that King's had hosted 16 of "extreme" events, beating Birmingham, Queen Mary, and UCL – who hosted 15 each. Only SOAS have invited more, hosting a total of 70 extreme events since 2015.
Extreme speakers, according to the society, are defined as those "representing organisations with an ongoing history of extremism". Since 2015, there have been 435 events (including off-campus student events) featuring an extreme speaker.
SOAS hosted 43 alone in the academic year of 2017-18. King's hosted eight, which was less than Birmingham (10) and Queen Mary (nine).
In 2015, David Cameron condemned many universities, including King's, for providing extremists "the oxygen they need to flourish" by hosting them at public speaking events. A rule was passed by then Home Secretary Theresa May under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (2015), obliging universities to abide by the "Prevent duty" in order to protect students from extremist speakers.
According to government guidance: "In these circumstances the event should not be allowed to proceed except where [universities] are entirely convinced that such risk can be fully mitigated without cancellation of the event."
Emma Fox, the report's author, said: "A significant number of the speakers, who spoke unopposed, have been linked to to those who have gone on to commit terrorist offences and have made well-publicised extremist remarks. There should not have been any opportunity for them to secure near-unfettered access to students."
Speakers hosted by King's have included Haitham al-Haddad, known for condoning female genital mutilation and domestic abuse, and Moazzam Begg, a pro-jihad CAGE speaker who has praised Al-Qaeda members, and encouraged Muslims to travel to Syria.