Abdullah-X: The new cartoon made by former extremist aimed at stopping Britain’s young Muslims from leaving for Syria

The creator of the cartoons was once linked to banned extremist groups and was a follower of jailed cleric Abu Hamza

Jack Simpson
Monday 14 July 2014 16:47
Comments
The cartoons began in February and have already attracted thousands of viewers
The cartoons began in February and have already attracted thousands of viewers

A series of cartoons aimed at preventing young British Muslims from joining jihadist groups abroad has been created by a reformed Islamic extremist.

Abdullah-X is the creation of a former extremist, who once followed clerics Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri but now aims to use his cartoons to unpick the teachings of these preachers.

In the cartoons, Abdullah-X is a disillusioned young British Muslim who explores the reasons behind British Muslims' decisions to get involved in extremist activities abroad, but eventually decides that extremism is not the path for him.

In one video Abdullah asks, “You have to kill others to make your world purer. This is what you think Islam is? Are you for real?", while another post questions those who justify “their own hate through Islam.”

In his first interview, the creator, who prefers to remain anonymous, told Sky News that he hoped the cartoons would dissuade young Muslims from getting involved in foreign jihads, as well as dispelling some of the “myths” and “prejudices” non-Muslims may have about Islam.

Since it began in February, the YouTube channel that has also been set up, has uploaded only a handful of videos but has already attracted tens of thousands viewers to the site.

The channel’s creator says that this decision to create a cartoon and broadcast it on an online platform, was an attempt to combat the increasingly innovative and modern techniques jihadist recruiters were using to influence young Muslims.

He said: “Extremist groups have beaten mainstream society in access to the internet, they have beaten mainstream society in content, in the ability to justify what they stand for and what they believe in, when I started this project I felt that unless we take a proactive step to take some of that ground back online, it will never embed itself in the off-line reality of young people."

Read More Stories: British Jihadis have assets frozen by the treasury
France bans citizens with jihadist links from travelling abroad
Youtube pressed to remove jihad recruitment video

In June, it was confirmed by counter terrorism police that around 500 British citizens had made the journey to fight in Syria and it is believed that a large percentage of these had been between the ages of 16 and 25.

The use of the internet and social media in particular by jihadist groups was evident just three weeks ago, when a recruitment video from the State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) saw British jihadists Nasser Muthana and Reyaad Khan, both 20 and from Cardiff, and Abdul Rakib Amin from Aberdeen appear on a video online encouraging other British Muslims to join them in Syria.

Before beginning the project, the creator of Abdullah-X was linked to a number of illegal extremist groups but became disillusioned with the leadership of these groups saying that many of the people that would preach would “not have the guts” to carry out the actions, while others who talked about hatred for the West were quite “happy to claim government benefits”.

Reyaad Khan, left, and Nasser Muthana, both 20 and from Cardiff, appear in a video aimed at recruiting jihadists

And he says that these experiences have given him the experience to better communicate with the young Muslims that are now facing the decisions he once had to consider.

“I’ve been there, seen it, bought the T-shirt and asked for a refund," he said, "I have the knowledge, the background and the experience to understand that narratives such as the one driven by extremist groups.”

The creator hopes that it will change the minds of those young Muslims that may have been considering travelling to Syria and, most importantly, “save young Muslim’s lives”.

He said: “It hopes to save the lives of young Muslims who believe that jihad has become some call of duty that is mimicked for them through their PlayStation experience that they now think they can do for real in some far-off land, for a cause they don't truly understand."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in