For months now the British government have been trying to reduce the threats we face from the 'terrorist state' ISIS. Home secretary Theresa May has raised concerns over jihadist returning from Iraq and Syria but fails to realize the greatest threat we face is home grown extremism. Even if the government is able to implement new laws that will see returning jihadists losing their passports they will not be able to confiscate their funding, training and desire to overthrow the western world.
Young Muslims in the UK face a great identity crisis; many are unable to distinguish their cultural values from their religious beliefs. Many find it hard to find someone to confide in and it doesn't help that more often than not the people that can provide answers belong to the other side of a generation and cultural barrier that is too big to conquer. They are left feeling confused and often guilty for not knowing what Islam really stands for and what it takes to be a true Muslim.
A perfect case in question can be presented by Hamza and Mohommod Nawaz, who were jailed this week for conspiring to attend terror training camp in Syria. In 2009 Mohammad had been jailed for 6 years for blackmail, false imprisonment, kidnap and wounding. They are the perfect example of troubled youths who have had no guidance, and no hope. Extremists groups often target such youths claiming the only way they can be cleansed of their past, to get a clean slate, is to join their fight against everyone they believe is a threat. They use these young men and women to impose and fulfill their socio-political agenda under the guise of Islam, and the youth happily oblige in hopes of some sort of spiritual recompense.
They have no guidance no understanding and at such a vulnerable age are easy prey for extremist clerics like Abu Hamza and Anjum Chaudhry. But now it's no longer just the mosques that are being called in to question but schools and universities as well. Earlier this year it was reported that pupils at a school in Birmingham were not being protected from extremist views. This is just one scenario; in the news we hear of countless stories about university students being radicalized by such clerics.
As a young Muslim I am familiar with the struggle, but I was lucky because I belong to a community that has always stayed true to its youth. Every weekend we were given workshops and activities to do which admittedly at the time I didn't appreciate until now.
This month a Peace Symposium at Western Europe's largest mosque was held in modern; the issue of ISIS was raised at the event.
The key note speaker Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Word Wide leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community condemned the actions of ISIS. He also stated that such actions are contrary to Islamic teachings and how such groups are purposely rallying together frustrated and restless people from all over the world for their own agenda, he said: "Again I say that it is a cause of great pain and concern to me that these evil acts are all being associated with Islam. Nowadays, it is a major concern that Muslim youths from the West are travelling to countries like Syria and Iraq where they are being radicalized. It is quite possible that they could eventually return to their home countries and launch attacks or cause great disorder in this part of the world. Thus, clearly this is no longer a local or Muslim issue - it is an international issue that requires a global and concerted effort to stop these extremist organisations."
His words gave a message that the majority of British Muslims have been trying to spread, to stop the threat of ISIS we need to help the youth of this country. Many Muslims like me are lucky enough to have the right guidance, but for those who are lost and struggling they are becoming major targets. The government should not take a soft approach to Muslims who preach hate, who wish to cause disorder who do not understand that Islam teaches one to be loyal to ones country. Get rid of the extremists preachers in this country and you will cut the threat we face in half. The government shouldn't fear the backlash because much like our country, ISIS can do nothing without the backing of its youth.