It’s all about Allah and guns. Not poverty, literacy, disaffection, mental illness, or any other of the pathetic excuses apologists assign to jihad. It’s about redemption through violence in other words — the tow symbols of Islam, the Quran and the sword.
‘They think they can get an AK and get forgiven by God at the same time’: Channel 4’s Extremely British Muslims reveals how young Asian men want to join ISIS because it’s ‘the biggest most baddest gang in the world’
- Episode followed young men around Birmingham, offering insight into their lives
- Waseem and friend Naveen, turned their backs on crime and re-embraced Islam
- Pals explain many young men who join ISIS are used to gang-life on the streets
- Earlier this week think-tank claimed that Birmingham was a ‘terrorism hotspot’
- Latest episode of Extremely British Muslims will be screened tonight
By Alex Matthews and Natalie Corner For Mailonline, 9 March 2017:
Scores of British Muslims are joining ISIS because they think they can ‘get an AK and get forgiven by God at the same time.’
The startling revelation is made by two young Muslim men, best friends Waseem Iqbal and Naveed Ahmed, on tonight’s episode of Channel 4’s Extremely British Muslims.
Many recruits come from a life of crime and see Islamic extremism as a chance to regain status and feel a sense of belonging, claims Waseem.
He reveals: ”You’ve got people that are sort of like ex-bad boys that still have that gang mentality. And if you want to be in a gang, what’s the biggest gang in the world right now? It’s ISIS.’
Pictured: Extremely British Muslims follows best friends Naveed Ahmed and Waseem Iqbal around Birmingham and offers an insight into the life of a young Muslim man in Britain
This week’s show focuses on what life is like for young Muslim men in Britain and follows Waseem and Naveed around Birmingham, their home city.
The cameras accompany them visiting their friends, their favourite fish and chip shop and their place of worship, the Birmingham Central Mosque.
But while the opening scenes offer an interesting insight into their lives – the most compelling moment comes when the pair, who turned their backs on a life of crime, are asked why they think young men in their community are attracted to joining ISIS.
Waseem explains: ‘ISIS is the biggest most baddest gang in the world right now. They [recruits] think you can get an AK and get forgiven by God at the same time.’
He adds: ‘And for a lot of these guys, I’ll be honest with you, it’s that they don’t have friends or they’ve had a messed up childhood and they think ”finally I can be part of something. I can be part of something powerful and I can be part of this gang.
Pictured: Waz (left) and Nav (right) turned their backs on a life a of crime to re-embrace Islam
‘Yeah, brotherhood and yeah, nobody can mess with us and yeah, I can go to Syria and Iraq” and they’re just trying to get a sense of purpose in life.’
However Waseem and Naveed are keen to point out that Birmingham was not a breeding ground for terrorists and that attacks like those in Paris, in November 2015, were just as concerning for the Islamic community.
Waseem reveals: ‘Generally, when people ask a Muslim person ”how do you feel about ISIS or about what happened in France?”TERRORISM HOTSPOT
Earlier this month a report revealed that one in ten of all British terrorists come from five districts within Birmingham, where Extremely British Muslims is filmed.
It showed that 26 of the 269 jihadis came from Springfield, Sparkbrook, Hodge Hill, Washwood Heath and Bordesley Green.
The report from security think tank the Henry Jackson Society also found:
The number of Islamist terror offences doubled in the five years to 2015 from 12 to 23 a year.
- Women’s involvement in Islamist terrorism in the UK has trebled in the same period from 4 per cent to 11 per cent
- Bombing is the most common type of offence planned or committed
- Only 10 per cent of terror attacks were carried out by ‘lone wolves’ unconnected to wider networks
‘The answer is quite simple really, we feel exactly the same as the rest of the British public and we do feel a bit alien when the public distinct or separate us from everybody else.
‘Like we should feel any different, obviously we feel unsafe like everybody else.’
Although now devotees of Islam, Waseem and Naveen did not always embrace the religion.
They admit they shared time on the wrong side of the law but are reticent to talk about it.
Asked by a producer on the documentary ‘What were you up to?’ Naveen replies: ‘No comment.’
Providing an insight into his run-ins with the law, Waseem recalls: ‘I remember a lot of the time back then I would be getting in to trouble with the police. I remember them coming to my house to my parents, knocking the door and coming in and they were just searching the house for whatever… It happened a few times, getting into trouble.’
The pair turned back to Allah to find happiness and direction
Earlier this week a report from a government think tank claimed that Birmingham was a ‘major terrorism hotspot’.
Findings by the Henry Jackson Society said Birmingham and London have produced the most terrorists in the UK.
Out of the 269 Britons convicted of Islamist terrorism offences or killed as suicide bombers, between 1998 and 2015, 49 came from the West Midlands.