"Islamic radicals [are] hiding behind the scenes, influencing the minds of young people. ... Someone is persuading them, brainwashing them." — Ahmed Muthana, father of the jihadist Muthana brothers.Mehdi Hassan is the fourth British man from the coastal city of Portsmouth to be killed while fighting for ISIS in Syria. Hassan was just 19 when he left with four friends for Syria in October 2013. They named themselves the "Britani Brigade Bangladeshi Bad Boys." Four of the five have been killed.
Much of the media has, over the last few years, attempted to explain why British Muslims are being radicalized, and why some wish to fight for a terror group known and feared for its brutality.
Some commentators blame the darker corners of the internet; some point to the supposed glamour and glory of war, and others attribute part of the blame to "government policy" and the "persecution" felt by British Muslims living in a country allegedly full of "anti-Islamic feeling."
Those concerned with the practical workings of radicalization, however, look to the initial involvement of Western recruits to ISIS with extremist preachers and organizations. Even while crediting the allure of the internet, it seems improbable that anyone would join a cult or extremist group without some encouragement or introduction.