As so often, Johann Hari goes where others don't:
A wave of young British Islamists who trained to fight who cheered as their friends bombed this country have recanted. Now they are using everything they learned on the inside, to stop the jihad.
Seventeen former radical Islamists have "come out" in the past 12 months and have begun to fight back. Would they be able to tell me the reasons that pulled them into jihadism, and out again? Could they be the key to understanding and defusing Western jihadism? I have spent three months exploring their world and befriending their leading figures. Their story sprawls from forgotten English seaside towns to the jails of Egypt's dictatorship and the icy mountains of Afghanistan and back again.
Read the whole, gripping, brilliant, beautifully written piece.
The first story Johann recounts is that of the well-educated English Jihadist Usama Hassan, who was indoctrinated in Wahabbist Islam and spent the 1990s guiding other Muslims toward Jihad in Afghanistan and Bosnia. He claims to have converted Omar Sheikh, the beheader of Daniel Pearl. But Hassan's fanaticism began to waver as he witnessed his fellow Jihadists killing one another. The 7/7 bombings in London shook him. The discrepancy between the world he had constructed in his head and the world his eyes and ears saw around him began to lead to the classic moment that many revolutionaries face as they contemplate the horror they have unleashed: