by Mohammed Nazir Tabassum
It is believed that more than 600 British born Muslims have joined forces of Islamic State in Syria. They are now deemed as a potential threat to not only the already devastated states of Syria and Iraq but to the Western world too. Many of them don’t hesitate to express openly their intentions to target Britain.
Today the big question is: What circumstances drive these young people to risk their and others’ lives in an undefined manner?
There are many factors that contribute to this complex problem. The first and immediate finger points to the religion, Islam. But researchers have reasonably worked out that “all Muslims are not Islamists; all Islamists are not Jehadists and all Jehadists are not devout.”
What I commonly see is that it is hatred, violence, moral outage, disaffection, peer pressure, the search for a new identity and a sense of belonging and purpose that are the major driving forces leading British born Muslim youth into the arenas of danger. These young men are neither inspired by the Quran nor by the religious teachings. To them Jehad is thrilling and thus calls to action. It promises glory and esteem in the eyes of friends. Through the friends it provides for eternal respect and remembrance in the wider world.
Most of the British born Muslims that join Jehad in Syria are in their late teens or early twenties. They are a generation bored, underemployed, overqualified and underwhelmed. To them Jehad is egalitarian, equal opportunity of employment and above all it is thrilling and glorious in this world and the world hereafter.
As already stated, these young British Muslims are far from being religious. A large number of them are involved in terrorist activities. They don’t practise their faith regularly. Born and brought up in the UK they prefer to fight in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan but despise to join British Armed Forces. It was a British Muslim who recently beheaded an American.
There is something in their socio-economic circumstances, something in their character or something else that drives them to tread this thorny path of Jehad. Most of them lack empathy, are lonely, unsuccessful with women and have a history of petty crimes. All included, yet they are far from being pious. In Jehad, they have found a cause to validate their anti-social behaviour. They are misled by the notion that something is wrong with others and nothing is wrong with them. They are convinced that they can see things more keenly than others can do.
A number of British-born, educated young women have volunteered themselves to marry Islamic State jihadists. Their parents are unaware of this and they come to know only when they make newspaper headlines. These tendencies are alarming and require certain remedial steps to be taken immediately.
It is important that the parents at home and Imams in the mosques should stop teaching the children of Muslim immigrants to despise and detest the British state. They must teach the young ones to respect the British values, customs and traditions. It must be made known to the young people that their ancestors have contributed to the defence and development of present-day Britain by fighting the two world wars. Nearly a million men from South Asia served in British uniforms; thousands were martyred and hundred were decorated, more than a dozen with Victoria Cross. This is the identity that they should be proud of.