I have watched the spread of violent extremism and jihadism across Europe and the UK with dismay, particularly given my history of experiencing threats, abuse and harassment by Muslim fanatics. This personal concern, mixed with my curiosity as a film-maker, inspired me to look beneath the surface of these movements: to talk to the people involved - to try to find out how and why they became radicalised.
Last weekend, 50 young British Muslims converged to the leafy surroundings of Kidderminster to be trained for counter-extremism work. Their purpose was to learn how to weed out emergent religious extremism from its ideological and theological roots, and therefore to prevent young people from being brainwashed into leaving their homes to join barbaric terrorist groups abroad.
An Iraq/Syria-based adherent of the self-proclaimed "Islamic State In Iraq and Al-Sham" terrorist group has been caught out online complaining about 'missing Starbucks' coffee. While seemingly trivial, the complaint actually offers a remarkable and rare insight into the entitled, privileged, westernised and deeply selfish mindset of ISIS's followers.
They are about live fast, die young. They can spend 10 years as a pizza delivery boy or three days as the world's most wanted and get death-by-cop immortality via Sky News. A chance to play real life GTA while knowing it's the true path and, posthumously, you'll persuade the stupid world to agree. And, of course, if you'd given the Kouachi brothers a lottery jackpot, they wouldn't have donated it to orphans in Palestine, they'd have reverted to previous interests in five minutes and blown it on flash cars and bling.
The government is right to take a firm stand against ISIS and those who fight in its ranks or support from the sidelines. But we need to face facts: we cannot stop British jihadis returning home; we cannot arrest our way out of the problem; and we do not have the resources to mount surveillance operations against all returning foreign fighters.