Sunday, June 14, 2015

muslim teenagers see ISIS as 'pop idols' like One Direction and Justin Bieber says country's most senior Muslim prosecutor

  • Top Muslim prosecutor warned that another 7/7 terror attack could happen 
  • Nafir Afzal said British teenagers see ISIS as 'pop idols' like One Direction 
  • Children are manipulated by Islamists like sex grooming gangs, he added
  • Next government should recruit Muslim role models to help mentor teenagers who have been radicalised, prosecutor said
Prosecutor Nafir Afzal said hundreds of British teenagers see ISIS as 'pop idols' like One Direction and Justin Bieber
Prosecutor Nafir Afzal said hundreds of British teenagers see ISIS as 'pop idols' like One Direction and Justin Bieber
Hundreds of British teenagers see ISIS as 'pop idols' like One Direction and Justin Bieber, putting children in danger of being radicalised, the country's most senior Muslim prosecutor has said.

Nafir Afzal said teenagers are at risk of 'jihadimania' and warned that 'another 7/7' could happen unless Britain makes sweeping changes to the way it tackles terrorism.

Mr Afzal, former head of the Crown Prosecution Service in the north-west, said children are 'manipulated' by Islamists and that Britain needs a new approach in the way it deals with radicalisation.

He told the Guardian's Nigel Bunyan: 'The boys want to be like them and the girls want to be with them.

 That's what they used to say about the Beatles and more recently One Direction and Justin Bieber. The propaganda the terrorists put out is akin to marketing, and too many of our teenagers are falling for the image.

'They see their own lives as poor by comparison, and don't realise they are being used. The extremists treat them in a similar way to sexual groomers – they manipulate them, distance them from their friends and families, and then take them.'

Mr Afzal added that a community-led approach to dealing with teenagers who have been corrupted by terrorists would be more successful than the 'stale' strategy used by the police and security services.

The prosecutor warned that unless the next government recruited young Muslim role models to help mentor those who are being radicalised, the country could face 'another 7/7' terror attack.

He believes that young people are far more likely to listen to people who have gone through their experiences than authority figures. 

'At the moment, even the language is wrong. People talk about Isis as if they have some kind of religious basis or political dimension – a kind of glossy, glorious campaign,' he said. 

The reality is that they're no more than narcissistic, murderous cowboys. We need to stand up and say that very, very clearly, rather than allow kids to be drawn to them like the equivalent of pop idols.' 

Hundreds of young Muslims are thought to have travelled to Syria to join ISIS, but Mr Afzal believes there are far more 'ticking time bombs' still in Britain.

His comments came as it emerged that the Labour councillor's son caught trying to cross from Turkey to Syria with his family may be part of an extremist group.

Waheed Ahmed, 21 – the son of councillor Shakil Ahmed – is said to be a member of the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which advocates a global Muslim caliphate, similar to the one established by ISIS. 

Ahmed, a politics student at Manchester University, was arrested by Turkish police at the border town of Reyhanli last week.

 He was one of a group of nine detained, all from Rochdale, including four children aged from one to 11.


Nafir Afzal last month quit the CPS despite being cleared of allegations suggesting he texted a defendant in a case.
In the four-line email, Mr Afzal said there was 'no secret reason' why he was leaving after 25 years with the CPS.
Mr Afzal proved himself to be an outspoken advocate of bringing to justice those accused of the most heinous and sometimes sensitive offences.
This included a move to overturn an earlier decision on an Asian Rochdale sex grooming ring that led to a series of convictions.
He said that an over-sensitivity to political correctness and 'fear of appearing racist' by 'white professionals' may have stalled justice.
More recently he was responsible for the successful conviction of disgraced former BBC presenter Stuart Hall.
He also led the prosecutions of Coronation Street actors Bill Roache, who was cleared of rape, and Michael Le Vell, who was also acquitted of child sex abuse.
The prosecutor last year claimed that there would be a fresh wave of Operation Yewtree arrests concerning the abuse of children by celebrities.
He said: 'This is a growing industry. There are more arrests scheduled over the next few weeks. Some are very high-profile figures.' 
Mr Afzal began his CPS career in central London and went on to be awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Years Honours List in 2005 for his public service and involvement with the local community. 

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