Det er ingen grunn til å være overrasket over at Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab studerte ved et britisk universitet. Britiske læresteder er blitt veksthus for ekstremisme, og universitetene mottar millioner i støtte fra land som Saudi-Arabia. skriver Stephen Pollard i Express. Myndighetene gjør ingenting.

The role of British universities in breeding and fomenting extremism is one of our country’s most shameful secrets.

Take the shady area of Islamic study centres linked to British universities. According to a report by the terror expert Prof Anthony Glees, since 1995 eight universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, have accepted more than £233.5 million from Saudi and Muslim sources to operate study centres, by far the largest amount of external funding given to UK universities.

Although both universities and donors say that they are simply promoting understanding between the West and the Islamic world, Prof Glees claims that the study centres lead to the propagation of one-sided views of Islam and spew out anti-Western propaganda.

This, even if unintentionally, softens up students for recruitment by extremist groups with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan fuelling the radicalisation of many undergraduates.

In a recent interview a student member of the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir described universities as «bread-and-butter» recruiting grounds for extremist groups.

This is the most dangerous aspect of all. According to an earlier report, up to 48 universities have been infiltrated by fundamentalists. UCL was not named as one of those 48, which shows that even in universities not previously thought of as harbouring extremists, the threat exists.

And it’s not just the obviously radical students who are a problem. Yesterday the Provost of UCL Malcolm Grant said of Abdulmutallab that: «There was nothing about his conduct that gave his tutors cause for concern.»

Last year, the Government issued new guidance to universities urging academics and students to report suspicions over extremism. The then Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell said it was a «real and serious threat».

A poll by the Centre for Social Cohesion last year found that almost one in every three Muslim students in the UK said that killing in the name of religion was justified.

The same number also believed in a worldwide Islamic caliphate (a united Islamic state), based on sharia law.

But when the Government asked the university authorities to vet speakers and to look out for student societies which could be used by radical preachers, the response from the universities was to complain about government interference and the threat to free speech.

Universities have traditionally been places where hotheaded students can demonstrate their radicalism, often to the anger of the rest of society.

But it’s critically important to distinguish between radical student politics and the extremism of militant Islam.

Not that the Government itself can claim to take terror seriously. It refuses to outlaw Hizb ut-Tahrir, one of the main groups that infiltrates student societies and then preaches the takeover of its form of Islam.

And its willful failure to take any action over the abuse of student visas is one of the biggest factors behind the UK’s status as a fulcrum of extremism. Take Dhiren Barot, described as Osama bin Laden’s «UK general», who in 2006 was jailed for 40 years for planning terrorist attacks. He used a false identity in order to study at Brunel University.

In 2008, the UK issued almost a quarter of a million student visas. A further 144,000 studentswere admitted as student «visitors» and almost the same number were allowed to extend their stay.

Though procedures have been tightened almost anyone who wants a visa can get one by ticking a few boxes on a form. With universities desperate for the cash from foreign students, it’s effectively open house for all sorts to come to study here.

So when we read about Mr Abdulmutallab we should place him in this context. His is the name we now know. But the extremists are working to ensure that while he may have failed, others will succeed. And the authorities still – despite 9/11, despite the 2005 Tube bombings, despite other terrorist plots – refuse to root out extremism.

Barely a week goes by without an extremist preacher being allowed into the UK. On Christmas Day and Boxing Day, for example, two Saudi Imams, Sheikh Faisal al-Jassim and Sheikh Abdul Aziz As-Sadhan, spoke at Green Lane mosque in Birmingham, despite having a record of anti-Semitism and regularly calling for holy war.

The Home Secretary knew full well what they stood for. He chose to allow them in.

As for those already resident here, the cry of «human rights»goes up whenever anyone suggests that they should be returned to their own country.

The extremists may be the enemy of Western civilisation but in our failure to take the threat seriously, we are our own worst enemy.