Friday, October 20, 2006

Research councils halt Islamist research

Guardian reported Research councils today confirmed they have put on hold their involvement in a government-backed project that aimed to identify the growth of Islamist groups around the world. The decision by the Economics and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council followed accusations by academics that they would be putting the lives of British researchers at risk in Muslim countries.

If things are so bad that just researching them would put their lives at risk, I guess they have identified the problem. Now can they come up with the solution, that does not mean capitulation to the threat.
In a joint statement this afternoon, the two councils said "a section of our academic community" had raised concerns about the research, which they "have to take seriously". A spokeswoman said: "We are consulting further with the community, that has already been consulted with, to make sure that their concerns have been heard. "We hope that the study can be relaunched with a more open call."
What is meant by a "more open call". You know what the problem is. Come up with ways to protect yourself.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has funded the £1.3m project, called Combating terrorism by countering radicalisation. Academics were told to focus on countries that had been identified by MI5.Researchers were to "scope the growth in influence and membership of extremist Islamist groups in the past 20 years", according to a report in today's Times Higher Education Supplement. They were expected to "name key figures and key groups" and "understand the use of theological legitimisation for violence."

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