A British man convicted and jailed for Islamic terrorism in 1999 has, in a lengthy and indulgent feature with Sky News, blamed violent computer games for “dehumanised” young Britons going abroad to fight for the Islamic state.
The twelve minute report – which showed at regular intervals yesterday on Sky News – features a number of recorded interviews with British Muslims expressing their opinions on the reasons for the radicalisation of young muslims. One, a rapper, blames ‘injustice’ and cites Muslims in the UK who are so distrustful of the government and media they don’t even believe the political executions of ‘Jihadi John’ of three Westerners are real.
Convicted terrorist Shahid Butt opines that Britain’s young are “dehumanised” by violent computer games, saying “you’ve got an eight, nine, ten year old child playing those kind of violent games with heads blowing off and limbs blowing off. What kind of mentality is that child going to have? You’ve dehumanised that person. To go and fight in Syria is as easy as going on holiday to Disneyland. Because you’ve made it easy!”.
A spokesperson for the counter extremism think-tank Quilliam told Breitbart London that Butt’s assessment failed to consider many of the real reasons young people go abroad to fight, and that it oversimplified the matter. Ghaffar Hussain said: “I don’t think video games are that prominent in the radicalisation process. Many people play computer games across the board, and they don’t turn into Jihadis”.
Butt, 48, was jailed for five years in 1999 for his part in a planned bombing campaign against the British consulate, an Anglican church and a Swiss-owned hotel in Yemen. During the court case surrounding his involvement the prosecution accused Butt, who now lives in Birmingham, of being “part of a campaign by militants to drive western influence out of Yemen and set up an Islamic state”. It was reported at the time that when the sentences were passed, those accused shouted “Allahu Akhbar” (Allah is the greatest) in defiance.
In the report, Butt explains his own involvement as a British citizen fighting abroad. Explaining that he originally went to Bosnia as an aid worker, he portrays himself as a benevolent figure, saying “So I’m handing out food packs… and I’m quite happy, I’m doing something good… those mothers and those children were all looking into my eyes and I knew what they were saying to me. They were saying, ‘well what about us?’. And at that moment I remember saying to myself, I’ve got no money, I’ve got no food, but I can fight. I will fight for you”.