The United States over reacted after 9/11, something the British would not have done Professor Louise Richardson the new Irish-born head of Oxford University has claimed.

Richardson, the first woman vice chancellor of Oxford in 800 years, claims Britain would have dealt with it better thanks to their experience in Northern Ireland.

Richardson is a terrorism expert and stated the British are more resilient than their American counterparts because of terrorist attacks during The Troubles.

Richardson’s controversial remarks were made at a panel discussion on radicalization in London.

"The British population in the course of the Troubles and violence in Northern Ireland proved really quite resilient; I think far more so than the US," she said.

"And the scale of the over-reaction in the US to the 9/11 atrocity was reflective of the fact that it was such a new experience in the US."

“The reason random attacks have so much more impact is that if no-body is chosen, no-body is safe and the fear is much more widespread. I think central to any counter-terrorism campaign should be a resilient population.”

United Kingdom universities have been accused of nurturing foreign terrorists in recent reports.

Prof Richardson said terrorists she had met had a "highly oversimplified view of the world which they saw in black and white terms."

"If there is one thing that education does, it robs you of that simplification and certitude.

"The great value of universities is that we have people with the time and expertise to explore these issues."

Prof Richardson, a mother-of-three, holds a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

She once said she was so incensed after Bloody Sunday in Derry that her mother had to stop her going to a protest march, but she later turned against violence.