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Human interest stories
Runtime: 5’35” | 11-24-2014 11:08:36 | 3651 Hits

Usama Hasan’s story

This is the testimony of Usama Hasan, a committed Muslim who grew up in London in the 1980s. Seduced by jihad as a young man, he went to fight in Afghanistan against communist forces in 1990. After the 9/11 attacks, he started to wonder if this approach was going too far down the path of extremism and hatred. After Al Qaeda attempted to recruit him, he finally decided to speak out against terrorism following the 2003 Madrid bombings, for which he received his first death threat. Today Usama is a Senior Researcher at the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based counter extremism think tank. Despite the many fatwas against him, he continues to speak out for a tolerant Islam.

The testimonials presented in this section deal with highly sensitive issues. Taken out of context, the material could be misconstrued and cause offence. To this end, when reusing and editing the footage it is essential to uphold at all times the integrity and dignity of the interviewees, and present their statements in context. Permission to freely edit the material implies an agreement to maintain the overall messages contained in the testimonials.


Usama Hasan’s story is one of five clips available on this platform as part of a set that deals with the topic of radicalisation in Europe. The complete set includes the following:



  • Rashad Ali’s story

  • Danish experiences in counter-radicalisation

  • Belgian experiences in counter-radicalisation

  • Interview with Omar Ramadan, Head of the Secretariat of the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN)




The Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) is an EU-wide umbrella network connecting key organisations and networks of local actors involved in preventing radicalisation to terrorism and violent extremism, established by the European Commission in 2011.

More information on RAN and European Commission’s actions to prevent radicalisation can be found in the background documents below.





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