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How to de-radicalise an extremist

Adam converted to Islam at age 19. In 2014, he was taken on by a "de-radicalisation" program. What happened next raises questions about how we approach extremism—and what we can really do for angry young men

By Nabeelah Jaffer   July 2018

How do you solve extremism? Photo: Andrew Lyons

When I met Adam in early 2016, he told me that he wanted to join the “Muslim army.” He had been watching videos of jihadists training and said that if he didn’t find a job he might sign up. “If I go fight at least I have a life,” he said. “What am I gonna do here?”

Adam had gained notoriety in 2015, when he went on the BBC2 Victoria Derbyshire programme. A young Polish convert to Islam, he appeared with…

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