The Poster Boy of Deradicalization

UK. The information about the London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan, 28, are starting to emerge. And it shows the total failure of the wests approach to this group.

Khan wasn’t a beginner when it came to terrorism. On the contrary he was on the polices radar since he was fifteen. After taking part of a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange in 2010 he was in prison from 2012 to December 2018. He was released with an ankle monitor after serving less than half of his time. It’s well known that Khan was close to and highly regarded by Anjem Choudary (who will be subjected to even tighter controls now).

When he was imprisoned he wrote to his lawyer, Vajahat Sharif, that he wanted to take part of a deradicalization program to learn about Islam and become a good British citizen. Khan was currently taking part of a programme as a part of his probaition and it was believed that he had abandoned his earlier views. A senior Whitehall source:

He was behaving like a sleeper, he put on a good show.

Therefore the condition that banned him from being in London was waived for one day so he could attend a conference by Learning Together which is an organisation that allows students at Cambridge University to interact with reformed former convicts. Khan had in fact been so enthusiastic about the organisation that Cambridge was considering offering him an undergraduate position.

Germany, Britain, and Belgium have developed programs that focus on further integrating radicals into their community. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, focuses on finding jobs and wives for recruited jihadists. But in France, the idea was to take subjects away from their home environments.


So does these deradicalization programs work? We don’t know as they haven’t been in place for many years and there’s also a lack of data to properly evaluate them (read more here). Some countries claim they get amazing results, but they are also likely to withhold information that might place them in a bad light. But still we all rely on the programs to work, to solve all problems, even though it’s hazardous to do so. Because they seem to be the only tool we have.

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