28 August 2015

'I was a hate preacher who radicalised at least one Brit jihadi but I've changed after coming out'

A student hate preacher who radicalised at least one British jihadi in Syria and seriously considered mounting a suicide bomb attack in London has renounced extremist Islamism – and come out as gay.

Sohail Ahmed said he grew up hating the West after being indoctrinated by strict Muslim parents and sent to a hardline madrassa in east London.

The 23-year said he gained respect at college and university as Sheikh ul Islam, telling followers that the West was at war with Islam and that the “kafir” - or unbelievers - were evil.

But Sohail said that doubts about his own sexuality and help from former extremists at the Quilliam Foundation helped him move away from Islamism.

The softly-spoken physics student was born in London to parents originally from Kashmir, Pakistan.

He said: “My Dad came here when he was three, my mother when she married him at 16.

“Up until the age of four or five, my parents weren't really practicing Muslims and certainly not extreme.

“Then they were befriended by another family in our tower block, who introduced them to the hardline Salafi/Wahhabi form of Islam from Saudi Arabia. [Daily Mirror] Read more