‘The ISIS Gun Is a Penis Extension’
‘This is the new rock and roll; jihad is sexy. The kid who was not very good-looking now looks good holding a gun. He can get a bride now, he’s powerful.’
Speaking about Islamist extremism creating jihadi fighters, former radical Alyas Karmani, now a peace activist, says the West must wake up to the psychology used by the Islamic State (ISIS) to groom young people in the West.
“It’s not about ideals – 90% of them never subscribe to the ideals,” says Karmani. “It’s other factors that are a draw. This is the new rock and roll; jihad is sexy. The kid who was not very good-looking now looks good holding a gun. He can get a bride now, he’s powerful. The ISIS gun is as much a penis extension as the stockbroker with his Ferrari.”
Karmani, who was a recruited by Abu Muntasir, known as the “godfather” of the British jihadi movement and himself now a moderate Muslim who tries to prevent radicalization in young people, explains the similarity of jihadi recruitment in his day.
“It was a virus with which we infected a generation. Now it has proliferated,” says Karmani. “[Muntasir] was a charismatic father figure. It was exciting and there was an energy … I was angry. I had a very violent dad. I had a lot of racism. I was angry and frustrated. So we planted this virus. And the kids today have caught it.
“There is a fundamental disconnect with our young people. Youth work used to be a brilliant vehicle but that’s all gone in the cuts, so who connects with young people now?” he asks rhetorically.
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