Former jihadist turned charity worker warns youth against going astray
Aug 4, 2015 Muhammad Manwar Ali, a former jihadist group member in Afghanistan, now runs a Muslim educational charity in the UK, with the hopes of preventing young people from going astray with their own radical thoughts.
The 56 year old left England after graduating from the university 33 years ago and according to him spent over 15 years with an extremist group in Afghanistan. After parting ways with them, Ali returned to the UK in 2008 to set up a charity organization called Jimas.
“Some of it was fighting actually at the battle front, shooting and shelling as you said. So looking back I would not recommend to anyone to get involved in such situations without adequate knowledge and making sure that they are not end up as I believe we have been causing more harm than good,”
Ali further emphasized that his decision to leave the Islamic sect wasn’t taken out of impulse; rather it was borne out of deep awareness of the detrimental effects of the group’s activity. He said that he found that many locals were not willing to join extremist groups and many kids lost their families as well as opportunities to attend school after the conflicts.
“Those kids came running up to me and said ‘take us back to England, for education.’ You know they are brave, they mean well, and they come to you and anything to get out of that country, that situation just to go to school, to have education, have good life,“
Besides helping people get out of their difficulties, Ali offers free public lectures in an attempt to dissuade young people from joining extremist groups. He also takes part in social activities with other former extremist group members with the hope of saving more people through their own experiences.
“We should own the responsibility to talk about the issues that confront us, good things or bad things, but openly talk about them. And it’s good to have a concern and have radical opinions and thoughts, but you should never resort to violence and then a blanket hatred for other people,”