Reuters has a short interview with Hassan Butt, the reformed former British jihadist who spent 10 years recruiting and organising the training of European militants.
Former radical, Hassan Butt (BBC)
Butt describes how he turned his back on extremism following the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005, and how he has since devoted himself to convincing others to do the same, despite death threats from his former peers, and the ongoing threat of prosecution for his past activities.
Since he turned his back on extremism, Butt has become a touchstone for young Muslims looking to escape militant groups.
He has met the government’s counter-terrorism minister to discuss “outreach” to hardened British Islamists — estimated to number at least 2,000 — and taken his ideas into prisons and mosques, where much of the radicalization is said to go on.
Butt says he has helped 15 young men in Manchester alone extract themselves from their extremist ideology, potentially thwarting attacks.
“Of the 15, 11 had been sent for terrorist training. I know because I personally sent these guys to camps,” he says.
With more support and funding, he is convinced he could establish outreach countrywide.
“With everything else in Britain — gangs, drugs, domestic violence — there’s an outreach program. But when it comes to Islamic radicalism, there is no credible program because no one has any idea how to run one properly,” he says.