Prevent Watch

How to de-radicalise an extremist

When I met Adam in early 2016, he told me that he wanted to join the “Muslim army.” He had been watching videos of jihadists training and said that if he didn’t find a job he might sign up. “If I go fight at least I have a life,” he said. “What am I gonna do here?”

Adam had gained notoriety in 2015, when he went on the BBC2 Victoria Derbyshireprogramme. A young Polish convert to Islam, he appeared with his former mentor, Hanif Qadir, head of the Active Change Foundation (ACF), one of several organisations the government has used to de-radicalise suspected extremists.

Qadir told the show that Adam was “on a path to terror,” until he got involved. He said he had taught Adam that he was following the wrong kind of Islam. “We’ve pulled him back from the edge, let’s say,” claimed Qadir, in what was a broadcast-ready advertisement for the government’s approach.

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