Posted on 14th October 2014
A YouTube video which aims to highlight the dangers of radicalisation has been launched in the East Midlands.
‘Think for Yourself’ is a 15-minute film created by actor and comedian Humza Arshad, who already has tens of millions of hits for his ‘Diary of a Badman’ series on the video-sharing site.
PC Rizwaan Chothia, of the East Midlands Prevent Engagement Team, invited Humza to help promote the message about the challenges posed by radical and extremist views through the ‘Badman’ series, which takes a comic view of many issues of lifestyle and faith for young Muslims, and always concludes with a thought-provoking message – or Hadith – from the Qur’an for viewers.
The film was given its premiere at Crown Hills Community College in Leicester on Monday (13 October 2014), following a discussion among a group of around 30 Year Nine students at the school about the issues of radicalisation and extremism.
In the film, Humza’s ‘Badman’ character explores those issues, and the opportunities that exist to exploit feelings of alienation among young British Muslims. The star of the film also made a surprise guest appearance at the premiere, arriving in character to the delight of the students.
“Humza’s very much a rising star on YouTube, and it was clear the students were already familiar with and fans of his videos, so it is great to have got him on board for this project,” said PC Chothia.
“The aim of the film is to highlight the dangers of associating with questionable groups or individuals, safeguarding oneself from extreme messages on the internet and how people can play upon grievances.
“We are always looking for ways in which we can communicate important messages. This film makes it both entertaining as well as informative, which we hope will make it really effective.”
He added: ”We are very grateful to Crown Hills Community College for allowing us to premiere the film for their students. We hope that other schools and communities embrace the idea and hold similar sessions to watch and discuss it in different areas not just in the East Midlands, but elsewhere in the UK.”
Humza Arshad said: “It’s a great way of addressing a very serious issue and I’m really pleased to have been able to take part in the project. As a proud Muslim and British citizen, and someone who is becoming well-known through new media, I feel I have a duty to help raise awareness of extremist views on the internet and within our communities and the dangers they can present.”
He added: “It was great to see the students react so positively to the film.”
To watch the video, click on this link http://youtu.be/Yvn7YQethaI
Chief Inspector Karl Mortimer, who is the East Midlands’ lead officer for the Prevent strategy, said: “We are continually looking at how we engage with our communities. It has led to a number of novel and inventive ways of ensuring we have that dialogue, and this film is an excellent example of that innovative approach.”
Prevent is one of four elements of the Government’s CONTEST strategy to reduce the threat of terrorism and extremism to and within the UK.
It aims to:
- Respond to the ideological challenge we face from terrorism and aspects of extremism, and the threat we face from those who promote these views.
- Provides practical help to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support.
- Work with a wide range of sectors (including education, criminal justice, faith, charities, online and health) where there are risks of radicalisation that need to be dealt with.