‘Rehabilitating’ Jihadis With Cage-Fighting?


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UK officials have taken naivety and wishful thinking to a new level: not only are some of the most violent Islamic terrorists being released onto the streets, but in order to “rehabilitate” them, they are being trained by a former radical Muslim in one of the most violent forms of sports—cage-fighting, which even the Olympics refuses to acknowledge.

CNN’s “Cagefighter ‘cures’ terrorists,” by Nic Robertson and Paul Cruickshank, has the details.  While the entire 2,300-word report is worth reading, for its eye-opening (or eye-popping) qualities, the following lengthy excerpt summarizes:

In the shadow of London’s Olympic stadium, home of the Summer Games, is a hotbed of radical fundamentalism dubbed Londonistan, from where al Qaeda has already recruited for some of its most ambitious plots.  In past months, dozens of convicted terrorists have been released in the UK, including onto the same London streets….  At the same time a no-holds barred fight for security is under way. It is unorthodox, but British officials say it is working, producing results which have never been seen before — and at its epicenter is a veteran Muslim cagefighter. … “Unfortunately, we know that some of those prisoners are still committed extremists who are likely to return to their terrorist activities,” Jonathan Evans, the director of British domestic intelligence service MI5, warned two years ago. The task of managing the re-integration into society of these young men has proved beyond the capabilities of most Muslim community groups. But one east Londoner, proud to be both British and Muslim, has felt religiously compelled to take on the fight.  Usman Raja, the 34-year-old grandson of a Pakistani immigrant is not tall but he is built like an ox, with a close shaven head, short beard, and otherwise pure muscle….Raja is one of the UK’s most renowned cage-fighting coaches… He is also a man of deep ideas, including harnessing Islamic teaching to defeat the ideology of the terrorists.  Three years ago, Raja began taking under his wing some of the most dangerous offenders being released from the highest security wings of the British prison system; men convicted of carrying out terrorism on behalf of al Qaeda in murder, assassinations, bombing, and arson plots.  His aim was to rehabilitate them into mainstream society.…. Raja tried a novel approach with some of the most challenging freed convicted terrorists; he coached them cage-fighting skills.  Raja says it proved a remarkably effective way of breaking them out of their pro al Qaeda mentality and opening up their minds to his counter-extremist message.

Some questions:

First, where is the proof that training violent jihadis in cage-fighting is a great success, “producing results which have never been seen before”?  Indeed, the report later quotes a UK official gushing about how Raja—who “once subscribed to fundamentalist views himself, and says he came close to fighting Jihad in Bosnia in the 1990s”—is “the most successful guy out there doing this sort of work.”

Yet the closer one reads, the more it appears that the only proof for Raja’s success is that the released jihadis he is training have not (yet) been rearrested on terror charges.

Is that really proof that this approach is working?  Are all jihadis like trapped animals that, once released, must instantaneously start terrorizing all and sundry?  Is it inconceivable that they could still harbor the same jihadi inclinations, yet have learned to be patient, in accordance with jihad’s prescribed tactics (see taqiyya and tawriya), even as they continue training in acts of violence?

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  • semus

    I agree this probably is not solving a long term problem and will only quell the concerns of those who would rather turn a blind eye anyway. So the glaring problem will move further under the radar.

    "UK officials who myopically think only in the short-term and according to their leftist paradigms are now fully convinced that training jihadis in cage-fighting—that is, preparing them for extreme acts of violence—is the way to go."

    Perfect classification I will add one thing to this though, unfortunately for too many of the "Officials" it's a purposeful myopia.

  • JeremyBeadleshand

    I can't possibly believe how stupid this is. We release violent murderers and rapists to the care of a violent murder or rapist who teaches them the most brutal sport outside of Japanese robot fights. Way to teach them that violence isn't the answer. Reward them for committing crimes by teaching them how to commit them far more violently. I hate my government so much. Where is V when you need him.

  • kingofdisco

    Well, there is reverse psycology, but this is surely some wacky modern branch of perverse psycology. When a puppy sh1ts in your house, everyone knows you rub its nose in it and throw it out the house, so it learns not to cr&p inside in future. But this seems to be the wolf in sheeps clothing teaching other fancy dress converts to sh1t twice as big right on the civilised place, when they perform their next bowel movement of hatred in your house. Is there not another, more multi cultural way? Like a healthy diet of romcoms, holistic healing, aromatherapy, long walks in the local park, sitting in the lotus position, and Mary Poppins reading from children's books like Thomas The Tank Engine? And tickle the soles of their feet with feathers every Friday afternoon 'till they laugh themselves into submission? Or perhaps ask them to convert to christianity, and go out and preach the gospel of a superior religion, or go home? That is what christian dogs are now asked to do in many places, isn't it? Or would that be practicing the religious code of reciprocity that no one dares preach? I’m all for for muzzling or chaining, which self-respecting vinyl spin doctor who's whipped the crowd into a frenzy isn't, but what’s so wrong with a simple dog collar, connected to the almighty, and the nearest police station?

  • http://iamiranaware.wordpress.com/ IranAware

    Actually the thought of making the captured terrorists fight to the death every day in a cage watchable online might be kinda nice…

  • Rifleman

    It can work, if the jihadis are cage fighting with Alaskan Browns. Allah will protect you, Abdul.

  • patriotwork

    What next, caged rapists? And for something really heinous– caged bullies. Social justice? cage Michelle O. and another foodnazi.

  • Eddie

    if sports can nullify the 112 Quran verses that demand Jihad, Terror and Violence from the believers, why not Ping-Pong or Tennis???

  • Schlomotion

    Is it the cage fighting aspect that repels Mr. Ibrahim or is it the terrifying aspect of a fair fight? I think these remote speaking pundits and bloggers are freaked out by anything that resembles a true one-on-one without the extra padding, spoon-fed questions, and guaranteed outcome of being interviewed or published by a favorable agency. Mr. Ibrahim looks nothing on TV like his pictures. The pictures depict a rugged and handsome young man. The television shows a balding, out of shape low-brow intellectual. The videos of Suhail Khan vs Robert Spencer show that the towering mongol Khan would be a quick win in a brawl, despite the Turko-Greek heritage of Spencer. I think it's a great idea, or would be a great idea for the jihadists and the counterjihadists to be matched in televised Mixed Martial Arts fights. It would be much more exciting and much more decisive.

    • Shirl

      As someone who has met Raymond, all I can say is he's one tall and muscular dude, probably more than most linebackers! Are you that hot on him, Shlo, that you have looked up all his pictures and videos?

    • Crossbow87

      Is this really the site to describe your homo-erotic fantasies?

    • Drakken

      God made man, Sam Colt made man equal and the only good muslim jihadist is a dead muslim jihadist. Let the purge begin.

  • Ghostwriter

    With all due disrespect to Schlomotion,is it really a good idea to put jihadists in MMA bouts? They were violent enough already. This will make them worse. All you've done is prove that you're an idiot of the highest order.

    • Schlomotion

      Then where's my Shillman Fellowship?