Daesh abuses the most vulnerable in our society

In towns and cities across the UK, there are vulnerable individuals who have fallen into petty criminality, substance or alcohol abuse. They need professional help. But what they certainly don’t need is a terrorist organisation exploiting their weakness and goading them into committing murderous acts of violence.

Recent terror attacks in France and Germany have involved young people with very troubled backgrounds. At the same time, they are often struggling to define their Muslim identity with a very basic understanding of their faith. Events in their life may have given their self-esteem a knock and there is a strong urge to lash out. Domestic abuse and violent behaviour and language are often noted among radicalised individuals.

Daesh preys on these people. It manipulates their psychological pain and lack of achievement to the terrorist’s advantage. It poses as a friend and guide. Through social media and the darker spaces of the web it grooms individuals with a poisonous ideology that offers easy answers and blood-soaked solutions.

Nobody in their right mind commits the kind of atrocity we saw in Nice, driving a lorry through a crowd of men, women and children. But Daesh builds on a damaged person’s sense of grievance giving it direction and motivation. We recognise this at Kikit where our Muslim Recovery Network programme tackles substance or alcohol abuse before moving on to deconstruct the twisted version of Islam that Daesh peddles.

One youth said to me that he had lived badly, falling into crime and with no job, but terrorism would help him to die well. He might at least hope to enter Jannah by losing his life in the cause of Daesh. But this is a false promise. It is a lie. No reward awaits a murderer who kills children. There is no glory for killing an old man in a church. These are evil acts that provide no short cut to Jannah – but only shame and damnation.

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