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PTI | London April 10, 2016:: It is the moving “intellectual version” of Islam preached by hard-line clerics and not poverty that radicalises vulnerable Muslim youth in the UK and drives them closer to terror outfits, an ex-jihadi has warned.
Adam Deen, who as a teenager joined Al Muhajiroun terror outfit which carried out more than 20 terror attacks in the UK, said he was lured to the group’s Islamic State idea because of its carefully tailored message to have maximum impact on vulnerable youngsters.
“They made Islam seem relevant. As a young Western Muslim, I was captivated.. group intrigued me and sparked my curiosity. They were young, I could relate to them and they spoke a language I could understand,” Deen said.
“They spoke of Islam in a way that made it come alive, presenting an intellectual version that was worlds away from the abstract and distant concepts I had previously been subjected to,” Deen was quoted as saying by ‘Daily Express’ today.
The reformed jihadi, who now runs the outreach programme at Quilliam Foundation, also said that it wasn’t poverty that drove him or others like him to extremism, but a failure by the Muslim community to engage young believers in a tolerant, non-extremist reading of the religious texts.
“The predominant factor in radicalisation is the ideology – it is the ideas that move people. I didn’t come from a poverty-stricken background or a broken home. I went to university, I didn’t feel angry and I was apolitical. Yet, I was indoctrinated with a radical Islamist ideology and became impassioned with the idea of an Islamic state,” Deen said.
“It was the intellectual side of Islam that made the radical ideology so appealing. Al-Muhajiroun made it sound smart and intelligent. The extremists were doing something that no one else in the Muslim community was doing. Their success is based on a dialect that made me and so many others like me feel part of something bigger than myself,” he said.
He said he was part of “this global struggle and challenge to re-establish my true identity, which could be born through an Islamic State.”
Al-Muhajiroun, which was founded by the Syrian-born clericOmar Bakri Muhammad in 1983, operated in the UK from 1986 until it was banned in 2005.
The 7/7 attacks in London is among more than 20 planned terror attacks carried out by members of Al Muhajiroun in the UK.