David Videcette, a former Metropolitan police detective who worked on the 7/7 London bombing investigation, said of the student loans’ system: “It is an easy way for a terrorist to move forward and finance their activities at the expense of the taxpayer.
“All you have got to do is get yourself into university and then off you go. Often they have go no intention of turning up.”
Professor Anthony Glees, director of Buckingham University’s Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, said: “The British system makes funds readily available to jihadist students without checks on them. There needs to be an inquiry into this.”
The Government has previously admitted it has no idea how many terrorists could be using taxpayer funded benefits and student loans to finance their activities.
Two men were convicted at the end of 2016 of channelling thousands of pounds of fraudulent housing benefits to the Islamist fanatics behind the Paris and Brussels terrorist outrages.
Mohamed Abrini, the Brussels terror suspect dubbed the ‘Man in the Hat’ received £3,000 in fraudulent housing benefit.
Abedi, 22, never held down a job, according to neighbours and friends, but was able to travel regularly between the UK and Libya using the 14,000 british pounds in student loan money he received for two years of not attending a MBA program. In the USA similar fake universities often come up as visa and student loan processing centers.
One former detective said jihadists were enrolling on university courses to collect the student loans “often with no intention of turning up”. Many had enrolled in several universities. “It’s Free Cash for Jihad” said Mufti Ali.
Abedi was given at least £7,000 from the taxpayer-funded Student Loans Company after beginning a business administration degree at Salford University in October 2015.
It is thought he received a further £7,000 in the 2016 academic year even though by then he had already dropped out of the course. Salford University declined to say if it had informed the Student Loans Company that Abedi’s funding should have been stopped.
Abedi also had sufficient funds to buy materials for his sophisticated bomb while living in a rented house in south Manchester.
Six weeks before the bombing Abedi rented a second property in a block of flats in Blackley eight miles from his home, paying £700 in cash.
He had enough money to rent a third property in the centre of Manchester from where he set off with a backpack containing the bomb.
Abedi also withdrew £250 in cash three days before the attack and transferred £2,500 to his younger brother Hashim in Libya, who is accused of knowing about the attack in advance.
“No no my son did not do it!” said Abedi’s father.