Did anyone see this last night? A very humane and insightful documentary about a middle class guy in the UK's journey from normal suburban life to being convicted of being a terrorist. It was done (obviously) by his brother who was posing questions to Muslims and non-muslims as to how this could have happened? And what made him want to travel overseas to train and fight with the Taliban.
What I found really interesting is the similarity between the journeys of people involved in far right groups and the young radicalised muslims. Both groups target loners, people who don't feel like they belong or feel powerless. They then give them a focus, a belief structure, a community, a sense of belonging all backed up with source material which fills them with anger and hated for those against them. And most importantly, a feeling of power.
One guy demonstrated how easy it is to 'brainwash' young people into jihad for the documentary (he was a very down to earth, cool guy from Yorkshire who was not in any way involved in the radicalisation of muslims). He showed the target audience films from Iraq of muslims being shot by US troops from a helicopter and jeering them as they fell to the ground dead, of torture in jails - really horrific graphic stuff all of which Im sure is easy to locate online if you know where to look, and instilling in them hatred and revulsion for the west. Now there's obviously a huge leap from that to picking up arms and fighting but the overwelming feeling of anger and that you need to support your brothers and sisters who are subject to this slaughter is a very basic human emotion.
It showed how mosques regularly get hate mail, just horrible narrow minded offensive material. More and more we are now seeing how radical groups from both sides of the fence are intent on creating a them and us culture. They're different, they're the problem - We have the solution. No matter whether you believe them or not all religions are based on love and respect. Its just a shame people time and again lump in most Muslims (and incidentally I was reading earlier today online about radicalised Christians - Oklahoma is one example of their work - not that you ever hear the words radicalised Christian on TV as it’s not a headline grabber) with the radicalised psycho's we see on TV. Division is never the answer.
And then this morning on the news I hear about US airstrikes killing civilians in Syria. Fuel to the fire… It didn’t work last time, it won’t work this time...
Anyway, enough of my thoughts. Check it out if you get the chance, some real thought provoking TV.