A film which shows how young Muslim men are being converted into terrorists has been made by a local group.
Active Change Foundation (ACF) based in a tiny office in the Al-Badr Centre in Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, says it has the tools to bring recruits back from the brink of radicalisation, and calls its methods “second to none.”
But ACF’s senior officer, Hanif Qadir said the borough was being affected by a nationwide “recruiting frenzy” and warned of “destruction on much wider scale” if action was not taken.
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“Without having a proper understanding of Islam, even the more mature and balanced individual would have a hard time to argue against the extreme groups, so you can imagine how easy it is to engage with a young person,” he said.
“Without the right support, our young people do not stand a chance.”
Speaking at Blood for Blood’s screening in the salubrious surroundings of the British Academy in Pall Mall, central London, on June 28, Mr Qadir said a second film showing ACF’s methods of de-programming was being made, and both halves of the story would be shown together to Government, police and council representatives, and in schools, universities and mosques.
He added: “If we’re going up against hard core extremists, then we need hardcore projects, with hardcore values and hardcore people.
“I sincerely believe this is our jihad.”
The film was funded by Waltham Forest police. Borough commander, Mark Benbow, who shared the stage with Mr Qadir, said he supported the project because it showed how easy it was to be turned into terrorists.
He added: “What I like about ACF is they tell it like it is. They’re one of the few organisations out there who do. ACF has managed to turn people away from terrorism.”
Former Waltham Forest detective, Chief Insp Ian Larnder, now working in counter terrorism at Scotland Yard, agreed: “I think the film really expresses the reality of life for some of our young people. The radicalisation process takes place in our estates, in our universities and in our prisons.”
The link between British foreign policy and terrorism on British soil was made clear in the film.
Written by Active Change Foundation (ACF’s) Hanif Qadir and starring amateur actors from Waltham Forest, Blood for Blood shows a clear link between British foreign policy and radicalisation.
Opening with a series of stark news images of the war in Iraq, interspersed with controversial speeches by George Bush and Tony Blair, it goes on to show a young man being persuaded into becoming an Islamist soldier.
The process, which ACF said takes several months or even years in real life, is compressed into one 15 minute conversation.
First the recruiter makes friends with the youth, giving him a sense of brotherhood before preying on his lack of direction, Then he angers him with lurid tales of the suffering of his Muslim brothers and sisters, works on existing feelings of persecution and shames him into thinking he is a bad Muslim if he does not comply.
Mr Qadir said: “To prevent the extreme elements from preaching a false and damaging version of Islam we need to create an environment where the radical recruiters are made to feel useless.
“We need to handicap them wherever possible – that’s how we’re going to stem the tide of recruitment.”