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The Dawn of British Jihad

The story of the British Muslims who first joined Jihad in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burma and Kashmir in the 1980s and 1990s and the youth movements that led the call to arms.

Before 9/11 British attitudes to partaking in faith-inspired armed combat were... different.

British Muslims travelled freely to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burma and Kashmir for a few weeks or months, and then returned home to their day jobs or studies - few questions asked.

In this programme, Mobeen Azhar sheds light on the people and organisations involved in this early wave of British involvement in Jihad - the youth organisations which helped send hundreds of young Brits to fight overseas.

The programme also reveals reports featured in magazines published in the 1990s by Lashka-e-Taiba - the terrorist group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Within its pages are detailed reports on how its leader Hafiz Saeed came to Britain in the mid-90s to spread the word on fighting a holy war, find recruits and raise money. The programme hears from those who answered his call - the British Muslims who built bridges with militant groups in South Asia and beyond.

Many of these 'pioneers' came from Britain's Salafi community - followers of a strict, literal interpretation of Islam. Since 9/11 the Salafis - sometimes known as Wahhabis - have often been named as the key influencers in the global jihad, but is that accurate?

The programme also explains the nuances of Salafism and how this early period of British involvement in Jihad was itself hugely divisive within the British Salafi community, creating a schism between a peaceful pious majority, and those who chose to take up arms.

Producers: Richard Fenton-Smith & Sajid Iqbal.

Available now

38 minutes

Last on

Sun 14 Jan 2018 17:00

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