In the fight against terrorism, Humza Arshad has found perhaps the most unconventional method: comedy. The British Muslim runs one of the UK’s most popular YouTube channels, and for several years he was the creator and star of the popular web series, “Diary of a Badman,” in which Arshad poked fun at himself, his Pakistani mother, and terrorists.
“When I started doing this I didn’t just want to make pointless comedy,” Arshad told Fusion. “I wanted to do things that would make people think.”
After catching wind of the comedian’s success, the UK’s counterterrorism unit recruited the 30-year-old to help spread anti-radicalization messaging to more than 20,000 students across London.
Arshad, who was born and raised in south London, told Fusion that his comedy is very personal. Three women from his own community left the UK for Syria earlier this year to join ISIS.
But his comedy is also about changing people’s perception about Muslims.
“For me, personally, it’s not just about stopping these young kids,” he said. “It’s also to kind of, as a role model, as a Muslim, to teach these non-Muslims that ‘Look, those people that you see in the news, they don’t represent us.'”