Ex-Royal Marine tells Maajid Nawaz why he's sceptical of UK's counter-terrorism strategy
30 November 2019, 14:26
The caller found it hard to believe that the Government's 'Prevent' strategy could stop kids becoming radicalised - and Maajid Nawaz reflected on this.
The ex-Royal Marine, who served for 14 years, has "seen extremism in its purest form".
He said that he was sceptical of 'Prevent', the UK's counter-terrorism strategy that tries to prevent people from becoming radicalised, because of his "personal dealings seeing extremism firsthand".
He said: "I just struggle to believe that it could be taken out of them."
Maajid Nawaz replied: "Well, you're talking to somebody that used to subscribe to the Islamist ideology from the age of 15 and a half onwards until the age of roughly 28.
And so, you know, though I will readily concede, Jason, that the most inefficient approach to this problem is to try and deradicalise people, the more efficient approach is to prevent the radicalisation of our communities in the first place."
Jason, the caller, said: "I've always found it really puzzling, like I say, because during my service, even in really, really young children, you could see a hatred and aggression which I think unless you unless you've seen it first hand, I don't think you can really fully appreciate how terrifying it is."
He added: "That's why I always really struggled with with the 'Prevent' thing is, how young do you have to get to these children to stop that from manifesting?"
Maajid then spoke about camps that exist in Syria and Iraq, where children of ISIS fighters are being held in detention camps, in which many thousands of children are being psychologically indoctrinated.
Maajid said: "I do take your point that there is a difference between an adult that becomes radicalised, when I adopted the Islamist ideology and I reemphasise in a non-terrorist way, but I still adopted reprehensible ideas, still, I was 16, right?
"But if you take a child from seven, or five and raised them with those ideas, and that's that's all they've ever known, it becomes incredibly difficult to take those thoughts out of that child's head.
However, it has been done."
He later said: "There are precedents where people have been able to turn their lives around after being exploited in this way as children though, again, I just reemphasise that the most efficient approach should be preventative rather than deradicalisation."