London, June 17: A student leader has blamed the British government's cuts to public services as the reason behind the Muslim youth travelling to join terror groups such as Islamic State.
Malia Bouattia, the controversial National Union of Students (NUS) president who refused to condemn IS, said Britons have no choice but to go off to Syria to join the IS because they feel disempowered, Daily Mail reported.
Mass unemployment, the closure of youth centres and the fact that education was being privatised and rendered inaccessible have taken away vital support networks for Britain's youth, she said.
Bouattia, 28, made the remarks in a debate at the University College London on why more than 800 British citizens have travelled to join the IS in Syria and Iraq.
"We need to start asking why people feel so desperate that they have to take such actions that they are not necessarily in a space where such ideas are harnessed or encouraged like in the education system, we might say," she said.
"What is leading particularly young people to feel so kind of disempowered that they are left with no choice but to go off to Syria or join certain groups?" she asked.
Focusing on mass unemployment amongst British Muslim youth and privatisation of education, she said: "And I did 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."