Russell Brand has said that society must accept some culpability for young Britons who move to Syria to fight with the Islamic State.
The comedian believes that it is the way in which “desperate” people are conditioned that drives them to extremist acts of violence, such as the recent beheading of American journalism James Foley.
“What frame of mind would I have to be in to leave my house in f**king East London and go, 'Right, I'm going to the desert to kill people,'” he said on his YouTube channel, The Trews.
“You'd have to take away my material comfort, my sense of security, my sense of connection to the country, my sense of togetherness - all of those things would have to be stripped away from me.”
He goes onto offer a solution to terrorism; namely preventing disenfranchisement and making every British citizen feel valued and heard, so that joining extremists is not “appealing”.
“The fact that there are so many desperate people, alienated people... doesn’t it clearly indicate that we need to build a more coalescent, communicative and bonded society here in Britain so that people think, ‘I don’t want to go to Syria and chop people’s heads off. I like it here. I feel included. I have values,’” said Brand.
“Suddenly, whoever the lad was that killed the American journalist, went from being a disenfranchised youth in east London with voice; no cultural identity worth having other than one of constant suspicion and condemnation to directly addressing the President of the United States. You can see why that would be appealing.”
He opposed further conflict, arguing that “the more we bomb these regions, the more we disrupt them, the more we arm them, the more we create these problems for ourselves in the future”.
“The answer to war and terror is not war and terror,” he added.