The University of Westminster has hit back at claims it is a fertile breeding ground for Islamic fundamentalism as arguments rage over who is to blame over the British-raised Islamic State (IS) extremist known as "Jihadi John".

Security services and the university have both come under fire after Westminster graduate Mohammed Emwazi was identified in reports as the terrorist behind a string of brutal executions in the Middle East.

The university said it "condemns the promotion of terrorism", while Home Secretary Theresa May rallied to the defence of the UK's security and intelligence services, calling them "true heroes", following claims on Thursday by campaign group Cage that MI5 drove Emwazi to extremism.

Kuwait-born Londoner Emwazi had been pinpointed as a potential terrorist by the British authorities but was nonetheless able to travel to Syria in 2013 and join a group responsible for the murder of several Western hostages.

Responding to claims tonight from a fellow former student that the university was a fertile ground for radical Islam and extremism, a spokesman for the institution said: "We condemn the promotion of radicalisation, terrorism and violence or threats against any member of our community. We have strict policies to promote tolerance among our 20,000 student community, who come to study from over 150 nations.

"Any student found to be engaging in radicalised activity or intimidating others would be subject to disciplinary procedures. As a London-based university operating in a diverse multi-cultural city, we are fully aware of all the influences within this international city. With other universities in London, we are working together to implement the Government's Prevent strategy to tackle extremism.

"We strongly encourage anyone who is concerned about radicalisation to speak out and contact our pastoral team at the university. The safety and security of our students is our foremost concern."

Tory former shadow home secretary David Davis said the revelation that the knife-wielding man in a series of chilling beheading videos had been on the radar showed the approach of MI5 was "ineffective".

"Given the numbers who appear to have slipped through the net, it is legitimate to ask: how many more people must die before we start to look more closely at the strategy of our intelligence services?" he wrote in The Guardian.

Relying on disruption and interference rather than prosecution and imprisonment "leaves known terrorists both to carry out evil deeds and to recruit more conspirators", he warned.

There was also a renewed suggestion - from a former independent reviewer of government anti-terror laws - that Emwazi might have been prevented from joining up with IS had restrictions on suspects not been relaxed.

"Had control orders been in place, in my view there is a realistic prospect that Mohammed Emwazi, and at least two of his associates, would have been the subject of control orders with a compulsory relocation," Lord Carlile told Sky News.

"If that had been the case, he would not have done what he's done in recent times," the Liberal Democrat peer added.

A power to force suspects to move to another part of the country - dropped when control orders were axed in favour of Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Tpims) - has now been restored.

But Lord Carlile's successor, David Anderson QC, dismissed similar criticisms made by London Mayor Boris Johnson as a "false debate" because the full control order regime was available until the end of 2011 and some of those associated with Emwazi had been subject to them.

Addressing the Conservative Party's Welsh conference, Mrs May issued an impassioned defence of the way the intelligence and security services were addressing the danger posed by Islamist extremism and other threats.

"You might not see the work they do. You might not know the risks they take. You might not be told about the plots they stop.

"But these remarkable men and women are true heroes. And they deserve the support and respect of every single one of us."

The former head of MI6 also hit back at claims that the security services played a role in Emwazi's radicalisation.

Asim Qureshi, research director of Cage, claims Emwazi was interrogated by MI5 and subjected to security agency harassment before becoming a militant.

But Sir John Sawers, head of MI6 from 2009 to 2014, said arguments that harassment drove Emwazi to join IS were "very specious".

"The idea that somehow being spoken to by a member of MI5 is a radicalising act, I think this is very false and very transparent," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Sir John said there were "several thousand" people who were of concern to the intelligence agencies and there had to be a "balance" in the way they were dealt with.

"They're doing their professional job by being aware of these people. But there are probably several thousand of these individuals of concern and the numbers are rising as more people go to Syria and Iraq and are radicalised out there," he said.

"And no one is talking about rounding up all these people or keeping 100% coverage, there's just not the resources to do that and it would be contrary to our principles of human rights to do that ... so you do have to find a balance in there."

Further defending the security services, Mrs May added: "The answer to a threat as serious as this has to be resolute and uncompromising. If (IS) want to create their own state, we must stop them.

"If the police and the security services tell us they need strong legal powers, we must grant them.

"If the terrorists want us to turn against one another, we must say 'no, we stand united, united behind our British values'.

"And to those people who in recent days have attacked the brave men and women from our security services, who work in secret and without thanks, who strive tirelessly day and night to keep us safe, I say this: You might not see the work they do.

"You might not know about the risks they take. You might not be told about the plots they've stopped and the lives they've saved. But these remarkable men and women are true heroes - and they deserve the support and respect of every single one of us."

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he thought Britain's involvement in military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya had increased the danger of terrorism and the money should instead have been spent on boosting security services in this country.

"I think all these foreign wars have probably made things worse rather than better," he told BBC Breakfast. "There is an enemy within this country - a fifth column, as I have called it before.

"We have got to deal with it."

Jihadi John rose to notoriety after he first appeared in a video posted online last August, in which he appeared to kill American journalist James Foley.

Dressed in black with a balaclava covering all but his eyes and the ridge of his nose, and a holster under his left arm, he reappeared in videos of the beheadings of US journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and American aid worker Peter Kassig.

Last month, the militant appeared in a video with Japanese hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, shortly before they were killed.

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