Students have defended the reputation of Westminster University in the light of the identification of Mohammed Emwazi (AKA ‘Jihadi John’) as an alumni. The university remains on ‘amber alert’ – a heightened awareness of security problems. Reporters: Danae Diz & Alex Leonards Sub- editor: Jipsa George
At the Cavendish campus the atmosphere is no different than a normal day. Students are gathered outside on breaks while others drink coffee and eat their lunch inside. They seem oblivious to the amber alert security measures that have been put in place.
Speaking to Westminster World, Nuh, a 21-year-old student who studies Computer Science, says:“ I don’t think Westminster has had any effect on his influences, or extremism.” Nuh blames the government for ‘Jihadi John’s’ actions:
Davide, 22, a cognitive rehabilitation masters student, also does not feel the university is responsible. “I don’t think it’s going to affect the credibility of the university because it’s not this university’s fault,” he says. “He decided to do this after he got the degree.”
Another masters student, who wished to remain anonymous was shocked by the media’s portrayal of the news.
“For him to go away, after the country have taken him in, and give him an education, a student loan, and come and do a pretty decent degree at a university, for him to go off and start beheading people is quite shocking”
But one student posted on twitter after the news saying she was not surprised ‘Jihadi John’ was identified as a Westminster student because the Islamic Society [ISOC] at the university is “corrupt and extreme.”
Westminster ISOC have declined to comment on the current situation and their page has been removed from the university’s website.
Security increased at Westminster
Following the identification of ‘Jihadi John’, the Cavendish campus in Fitzrovia has been put on ‘amber’ security alert. The status is in response to a ‘a heightened state of awareness of potential security problems or threats’, and means the university reserves the right to undertake random bag and vehicle searches, as well as checks on ID cards.
Westminster advises students to be ‘extra vigilant for suspicious packages and persons, and report anything of this nature to reception.’
Discussion of ‘Prevent’ strategy cancelled
Highlighting continued concerns on campus, a talk which was scheduled to be held (Wednesday 4th March) to address and discuss ‘controversial and sensitive topics in a safe setting’ was cancelled. The talk was in place to adhere to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 prevent strategy which aims to ‘prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’, whilst preserving freedom of expression.