Humza Arshad, whose Diary of a Badman video series on YouTube has gained more than 40 million hits, has teamed up with the counter-terrorism police to produce a 15 minute film to warn young British Muslims of the dangers of being groomed by extremist ideology.
The film, which is called “Think for Yourself,” was the idea of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, (EMSOU), Prevent team.
The unit is made up of officers from the five East Midlands forces and tackles serious crime and terrorism.
Londoner Humza, 29, told the Leicester Mercury: “The police approached me and asked me if I would like to help them. They had watched some of my films and had seen that they were funny but often had a positive message in them.
“Hopefully, the film will catch the younger generation’s attention and make them aware of some of these issues. Hopefully, they will feel more of a connection with me as a public figure.
“There are a lot of websites, social media and chat groups which can brainwash young people into getting closer to extremism. I feel I have a duty to speak out, not just as a public figure but also as a Muslim and a British citizen.”
Pc Rizwaan Chothia, of the EMSOU Prevent team and co-ordinator of the project, said: “The internet is a fantastic thing but ultimately there are a lot of negative messages out there too.
“We are removing a lot of extremist material from the internet every year but ultimately that is only part of this. Humza was the perfect choice because he has a real credibility, especially with young people.
“The film is part of a one-hour lesson. The students can watch the 15-minute film and then discuss the issues it raises. Hopefully, this will be rolled out across the country.”
The project has been supported and funded by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Prevent has regularly been criticised by human rights groups for targeting and spying on Muslims.