Update: Abu Haleema’s YouTube content has been blocked in the UK. Details to follow.
Yesterday it was revealed that the terrorist cell who killed seven people and injured 49 in London on Saturday used YouTube as a reference. But additional information has surfaced that Abu Haleema, a British Muslim radical activist, was an associate of one of the identified attackers; and also has his own YouTube presence.
Khuram Butt appeared briefly in a documentary last year called ‘The Jihadis Next Door’, alongside Abu Haleema.
The documentary followed radical Islamist preachers from around the UK; including an event attended by both Haleema and London attacker Khuram Butt.
Haleema in ‘The Jihadis Next Door’ [Channel 4]
Earlier today on talk radio station LBC, James O’Brien referred to the documentary; lambasting the media for the platform it has provided for Muslim extremists like Haleema.
This prompted a response from Sky News’ Mark Stone; who pointed out that Haleema’s YouTube channel is still active.
Haleema is already known to authorities for allegedly radicalising a British schoolboy; who was convicted over a plot to behead Australian police officers. While he has previously been arrested and had his passport confiscated, his YouTube channel is still full of videos with modest view counts.
Following up, Vincent McAviney of LBC claims that representatives of YouTube are “opposed” to tackling this type of content.
After reaching out for comment, YouTube offered this statement from Google VP Peter Barron.
“We want to make sure that terrorists do not have a voice and cannot spread extremist material on our services. We are working urgently to improve and accelerate our ability to remove content which violates our policies and the law. These are complicated and challenging problems, but we know we can do better and we are committed to working with the government to ensure that we are part of a lasting solution.”
With YouTube’s decline in advertisers over their struggle to tackle extremism, coupled with the EU’s impending laws to enforce the company’s responsibility, it is likely we can expect more action to be taken against radical content in the future.
Update: Haleema’s channel has now been blocked in the UK.
Visitors to YouTube from the United Kingdom can now no longer view any of Haleema’s video content; though the channel is still active. Vincent McAviney notes this is a “legal block” due to his links to the London attacks.