Muslim Soldier Hits Out At Extremist Groups
An ex-Army soldier has spoken out about extremist hatred and blamed the issue on communities who fail to integrate in British society. Zeeshan Hashmi, whose brother, Jabron, became the first Muslim soldier to die whilst fighting for the British Army in Afghanistan, has said more needs to be done.
The 36-year-old, from Small Heath, hit out at jihadi terror groups by calling them a “curse on humanity.”
He spoke out after the unmasking of Islamic State serial killer ‘Jihadi John’ as Londoner Mohammed Emwazi.
“Someone who kills non-combatants, humanitarians and journalists in the name of religion is not only delusional but a curse on humanity.
“The history of Islam is tainted with false prophets and caliphs, so there is nothing new with the self-proclamation of ISIL and its corrupt leaders.
“Anyone taking it upon themselves to pass that judgement can only be blasphemous. A troublesome past can never be used as justification for such heinous crimes.”
Whilst in the Army, Zeeshan was in the Intelligence Corps, a division of the Royal Signals. He went on to complete two tours of Afghanistan and one of Kosovo.
His brother Jabron, who had also joined up, stayed on and was killed in a rocket attack on July 1, 2006. He was a Lance Corporal and had been 24 at the time.
Zeeshan said, “We received support from far and wide – and we also started receiving threats from the local community. Some said my brother was a traitor.
“People would drive by, slowly pointing out where we lived and saying, ‘That is where the British soldier came from.’
“The timeline is important. Jabron was killed almost exactly a year after the 7/7 bombings in London, which had increased fear of home-grown fanatics in Britain.
“Only seven months after he died, the police managed to foil an attempt by predominantly British Pakistanis to kidnap and behead a British Muslim soldier.
“Some of the men convicted lived a few metres down the road from my mother’s house.
“If anything, Jabron’s death inspired them. Everything became more polarised.”
The family had moved to Small Heath from Peshawar, Pakistan, in November 1994.
“Every Saturday I went to Birmingham Central Library, where followers of the radical preacher Anjem Choudary and the (now banned) organisation Al-Muhajiroun were pointing at people, calling them “kaffirs” and saying they would go to hell.
“We moved into what was essentially a Pakistani ghetto.
“Jabron and I always dreamed of being in the military and I swore my allegiance to the Queen on December 19 2000, when I joined the Royal Artillery.
“The political landscape was very different then – or maybe I was more naive.
More British Muslims are fighting for jihadi groups in Syria than are in the British Army.
“You can’t expect a child attending one to suddenly, at the age of 16, realise Britain is actually a pretty diverse place.
“By that point they have already become brainwashed. Integration needs to happen right from the start; it needs to happen in communities.”
Zeeshan called on the immigrant families to take on the responsibility.
He said, “Within them are some who, despite being born here, inhabit a fantasy world where an Islamic state is the ideal and sharia the answer. They don’t appreciate what they have in Britain.
“What zealots like Jihadi John preach is a huge hypocrisy. The UK is a just and tolerant place, we have equal rights and we protect our elderly. These are Islamic principles, too, which my brother and I were deeply proud of. This is what my brother fought for – not his colour, creed or religion.
“Men of words are quite different from men of action. Jabron was always one of the latter. He wanted to make a change in his own way.”