The Washington Post features an article about the popular comedian Humza Arshad, who spreads an anti-extremist message to British Muslim youth.
At a time when the flow of British Muslims to the war in Syria shows no sign of ebbing, Arshad has positioned himself as the anti-Jihadi John. Like Mohammed Emwazi, the scowling Islamic State executioner, Arshad is a London-raised Muslim from an immigrant family whose face has become instantly recognizable to millions of young Brits through videos uploaded online.
But where Emwazi seeks to terrify the world and seduce fresh recruits to join his bloodthirsty crusade, Arshad’s message is precisely the opposite: Laugh at extremism; don’t fall prey to it.
I’ve watched a couple of the videos from his “Diary of a Bad Man” series (they have been viewed more than 60 million times), and while I can’t say I find him particularly funny, or even comprehensible, obviously his brand of humor is not aimed at the likes of me.
Arshad seems interested in putting forward a benign and non-violent version of Islam to Muslim youth– respect your parents, engage in charity (toward non-Muslims as well as Muslims), etc. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.