20/01/2016 07:56 GMT | Updated 20/01/2017 05:12 GMT

'Jihadis Next Door' Does Not Represent All Muslims -  And No, They Can't 'Go Back to Their Own Country'


A screengrab of Mohammed Shamshuddin from last night's show

Religion was created in 4000BC and 6000 years later it still plays a huge part in shaping social dynamics.

I am not religious, but I can understand why many people are. Last night I watched Channel 4 documentary Jihadis Next Door and like many others it riled me up too. Maybe not for the reasons you'd expect though.

Filmmaker Jamie Roberts spent months following the lives of several Muslim preachers across London  -  including Abu Rumaysah, the man thought to be latest ISIS executioner. At one point, he tells the camera: "These are the black flags of Islam. This one's actually the flag of the Islamic State, so one day when the Sharia comes, you will see this black flag everywhere."

Yet the programme predominantly follows Mohammed Shamsuddin and Abu Haleema, two men known for sharing their radical views in the north London area. Local celebrities, but labelled hate-figures by the press.


Abu Haleema are Mohammed Shamsuddin laughing while watching an Isis video of executions

I was expecting a very one-sided view of radical Islam  -  showing their hatred for the world, their lack of sympathy. It seemed though that these men were just two relatively normal people, brainwashed by their beliefs. So far that other Muslims were largely their greatest critics.

"This is a front for recruiting people for ISIS, who are killing people in Syria and Iraq," one Muslim gentleman shouts.

On the World Wide Web, however, the feedback was slightly more damning. The patriotic xenophobes shouted down their keyboards: "Go back to your own country."

"Don't like it, get the f*** out."

"This is OUR country not YOURS."


Another screengrab from last night's show

THIS is why it riled me up  -  this balance of hatred that people seem to feel fixes problems. If anything, it fuels it.

One, they can't leave the UK because the Home Office has confiscated their passports. And for Rumaysah leaving... well look at what appears to have happened there.

Two, what do you mean YOUR country? Plus for those saying "these are not real Muslims", these are real Muslims. They are just not your conventional, everyday believers.

I'm not condoning their actions, spreading fear is a horrible thing to do. As well I think, as an agnostic, using religion to justify hate is completely wrong.

I just think it would be nice to live in a world where compassion and altruism overcomes self interests.

In a week where we celebrate the achievements of Martin Luther King Jr, I think he said it right.

"There is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

Screengrab images by blogger