The UK government’s cuts to education funding could be to blame for a rise in young British people joining terror groups like Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, a student leader has said.
Speaking during a debate at University College London (UCL) this week, Malia Bouattia said the “political climate which we’re in is causing people to take “certain actions and joining these groups and wanting to inflict violence”.
The 28-year-old student leader said the youth in Britain feel “disempowered” and are forced to turn to extremism.
“What is leading particularly young people to feel so kind of disempowered that they’re left with no choice but to go off to Syria or join certain groups? And I’d also say we have to look at mass unemployment, the fact that education is being privatised and rendered ever inaccessible, youth centres have been closed down, every service available to support young people to allow space for critical thought and development has been shut down by the state,” she said.
Bouattia, the first Muslim woman to become NUS president in the organisation’s history, became leader of one of the UK’s largest students’ bodies in a closely-fought election in April.