A documentary on Islamic extremism in the UK concludes the West must be made aware of how the Islamic State (ISIS) is marketing itself to new recruits in order to effectively combat those efforts. The nonprofit Clarion Project, dedicated to combating Islamic extremism through education, reported on the film Sunday.
Jihad – A British Story is a documentary by Deeyah Khan, first aired in June on Britain’s iTV. Khan wished to understand why some young British Muslims are attracted to fanatical cults such as ISIS. After speaking to young people across the UK over the course of two years, Khan says, “I was horrified to find so many people with backgrounds like mine turning to extremism.” Khan describes herself as “born in the west to parents from the east,” and had to give up her own singing career because of threats to herself and her family from Muslim radicals.
“It’s not about ideals – 90% of them never subscribe to the ideals,” former radical Alyas Karmani, now a peace activist, says in the film. “It’s other factors that are a draw. This is the new rock-and-roll; jihad is sexy. The kid who was not very good-looking now looks good holding a gun. He can get a bride now, he’s powerful. The ISIS gun is as much a penis extension as the stockbroker with his Ferrari.”
Karmani speaks of his own experiences, having been recruited to the Islamist cause by Abu Muntasir. Muntasir himself, who was also interviewed for the film, was known as the “godfather” of the British jihadi movement before becoming a moderate Muslim and actively working to prevent radicalization of young people.
“It was a virus with which we infected a generation,” Karmani said of his initiation. “Now it has proliferated. [Muntasir] was a charismatic father figure. It was exciting and there was an energy . . . I was angry. I had a very violent dad. I had a lot of racism. I was angry and frustrated. So we planted this virus. And the kids today have caught it.
“There is a fundamental disconnect with our young people. Youth work used to be a brilliant vehicle but that’s all gone in the cuts, so who connects with young people now?” he asks.
Karmani identifies the culture clash between Muslim immigrants parents and their children in the UK as laying the foundation for these recruitment patterns.
“If [the youth] have to be repressed about sex, about their friendships [with their parents and family], who are they going to talk to? It makes them exposed and vulnerable.”