London police enlist Muslim comedian to fight ISIS recruiting efforts

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Humza announced this week that he had a blast filming for CBS Morning airing Thursday. | FACEBOOK/Humza Arshad Productions

LONDON (Christian Examiner) -- British police reportedly have resorted to enlisting a Muslim comedian and YouTube star to tour schools in central England in the battle to combat Islamic State recruiting efforts among Muslim youth.

Humza Arshad, 29, rose to Internet stardom after one of his original comedy series, Diary Of A Badman, took off on the video-sharing website five years ago. Today his online channel has over 60 million views.

After a special operations officer for East Midlands police forces learned about the online actor's popularity from his son, he sought Arshad to produce a video highlighting the dangers of radicalization.

When London's Scotland Yard learned about the production, officials asked the comedian to take his light-hearted approach live and broach the matter of extremism in person through a series of school assembly-styled discussions.

Overall the response has been "better than we even expected," Arshad said, noting his approach is to "give students' advice like a bigger brother," USA Today reported. "We make it fun, we don't make it too preachy. If they have any concerns they can talk to us."

Arshad, who grew to fame via social media, said Islamic terrorists are exploiting this technology platform to recruit young people. "They put out those propaganda videos (and) a lot of parents these days can't monitor what their kids are watching," he said.

The tour reportedly has been well received by youth. As of April the comedian has visited 40 London schools and reached more than 20,000 students ages 11-18 years old, according to the London Times.

Arshad even has gained support from the families of the three Muslim school girls who traveled to Syria in February to join up with terrorists of the Islamic State. As a friend of one of the girls' brothers, Arshad said the girls' decision to join the militant group was shocking.

"None of us saw it coming," he told the students. "That family is destroyed now. If we can prevent that ever happening again, (we'll) try our best."

Rumors of taking Arshad's school tour to the Unitd States already have surfaced. Arshad reported on Twitter that he recently filmed an interview segment with a CBS Morning crew for a Thursday air date.