Comedian Has Backing from Families
Famous for his YouTube comedy videos, Humza Arshad has now turned his attention to a tour to deter schoolgirls from joining extremism. The tour is being backed by the families of female students that have already fled to Syria.
The Diary of a Badman star has already attracted worldwide attention after teaming up with the Metropolitan Police.
So far, he has so far visited around 40 London schools and reached more than 20,000 pupils.
The internet star, who is friends with the brother of one of the missing Bethnal Green Academy pupils believed to have joined Islamic State, said their disappearance increased his “personal motivation” to do something.
“I found out (that the girls had gone missing) two days before we started the tour. I wouldn’t say it was the perfect time but it’s so important right now because… as you can see, there’s been such an increase in people flying off.”
“A big part is social media. They put out those propaganda videos… a lot of parents these days can’t monitor what their kids are watching … I’m not going to blame the parents. It’s hard in this day and age to know what your kids are doing. They (the girls’ families) are supporting what I’m doing and I support them as well.”
Described recently by the Washington Post as “Britain’s most potent new force in the war with the Islamic State for hearts and minds” he is also in talks about taking the tour to the US.
Arshad puts his success down to his ability to use comedy to connect with teenagers. He said, “It’s unique but it’s a different way of handling something. It entertains and it’s that icebreaker.”