Mubin Shaikh

     Mubin Shaikh is a former jihadist sympathizer from Toronto, Canada. Although he did not grow up particularly religious, he was exposed to various worldviews that created for him a sort of parallel identity: by day, he was exposed to people from various cultures and belief systems; by night, Mubin received Islamic education at a local madrassa. He began to shift toward an increased religiosity after his conservative uncles caught him attending a house party in high school.

 

     Feeling shame at having disgraced his religion, Mubin began to self-radicalize. He watched videos in which jihadist groups painted the West as an evil entity causing harm to the global Muslim community through its perpetuation of US foreign policy. He eventually joined a group called the Tablighi Jamaat, and traveled to Pakistan. While there, he met individuals who were members of the Taliban just before they took power in Afghanistan. Over time, Mubin had fully radicalized; and he began helping the recruitment efforts of Salafi jihadist groups.

     The 9/11 attacks changed everything for Mubin. After witnessing the collapse of the Twin Towers, he began to question the validity of acts of terror that would cause civilian casualties. He decided to go to Syria, where he spent two years studying Islam and reacquainting himself with an ideologically moderate belief system. Today, Mubin has worked for the Canadian government in its efforts to counter violent extremism, and is an outspoken advocate for CVE. In his youth, Mubin was vulnerable to jihadist propaganda that isolated him and caused him to seek answers in extremist ideology; now, he works with potentially vulnerable Muslim youth to ensure that they do not fall prey to groups seeking to take advantage of youth and naivety.