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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Irishman who fought in Syria: "I wasn't radicalised"

“When a young man arrives and he feels very vulnerable at the checkpoint, he’s going into what would basically look like a horror movie of ruins and gunfire.W

Housam Najja
Housam Najja
Image: Sky News

AN IRISHMAN WHO fought alongside jihadists to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad says that he believes he is being monitored, but was “not radicalised”.

Speaking to Sky News today, Housam Najja said that he understands how young men can be pursued to take up arms for the likes of the Islamic State.

Currently, Ireland and Finland top the table of European countries who have seen the largest percentage of their Muslim population travel to Syria.

Around one in every 1,500 Irish Muslims travelled to Syria. That is compared to just one in 5,000 in the UK. Few are thought to present any danger here.

Najjar calls himself a “soldier of summer”, who took part in the Libyan uprising before moving on to Syria to “topple the dictatorship”.

He says that he can see why young men can become radicalised.

“Basically, when a young man arrives and he feels very vulnerable at the checkpoint, he’s going into what would basically look like a horror movie of ruins and gunfire.

“So these radical elements would approach them, offer them a weapon, offer them a kind of brotherhood and this unsuspecting person, in his vulnerable state, would probably accept that offer.”

Last month it was reported that the Department of Justice was planning to curb the use of the internet to spread jihadists’ messages to young Irish Muslims.

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