One of the city’s leading Imams has said that the internet should be used to lead the fightback against young men and women choosing to travel to fight with Islamic extremists.
As Ramadan gets underway Qari Asim, Imam of Leeds Makkah Masjid and Senior Editor at ImamsOnline, spoke of his “profound sadness” at the death by suicide bombing of Talha Asmal, a 17-year-old from Dewsbury, and said the teen had been “manipulated into throwing away his life for ISIS”.
Writing for the Yorkshire Evening Post, Mr Asim said: “It is a timeless truth that young people are often in search of meaning in their lives, trying to make sense of a complex world.
“In the digital age, there are many unscrupulous voices willing to offer them answers, and this is what ISIS radicalisers do. What ISIS peddle is a despicable ideology that runs contrary not only to our faith, but to humanity.”
Mr Asim said he had recently helped launch a new online magazine, called Haqiqah (meaning “the reality”), alongside other Imams, designed to confront and rebut the lies of cynical radicalisers who prey on our youth.
He added: “Our young people are not weapons, to be picked up, manipulated and discarded by terrorists.
“They are our children; the future of our community and our country. Talha could have been a doctor, or a teacher, or a businessman, or a leader. He could have been anything beneficial to mankind. Instead he died in vain.
“This must serve as a wake-up call – we each have to play our part to ensure that no more young lives are lost in this way.”