Under pressure to respond to the rising number of young people traveling to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), British police have turned to YouTube for help. It's there they found "Badman" Humza Arshad, a young British Muslim comedian with over 60 million video hits and a message that's nothing to laugh about, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips.
The challenge is finding a way to compete with the apparent excitement and even the perceived glamour, however delusional, of the Islamist militant groups that some Western Muslims are running away to join. Those groups have learned how to tap into the cultures that recruit them.
British jihadi calls for others to join, but now there may be a response.
Arshad, 29, tours schools in London, speaking out against radicalization, but first reminding students he isn't preaching from the predominantly white police force: He's "Muslim and not a terrorist."
"We need things like this, especially with all the kids going off to Syria and a lot of people getting radicalized and thinking it's a holy war," Arshad said.
It's an extension of a piece he did in which he finds jihadist material on his cousin's laptop and goes to an extremist meeting.
It occurred to Arshad, and to British police, that he could be funny and useful at the same time.
"There's so much going on right now and I think this was the perfect time for me to do something a bit positive and to just promote that violence is wrong," Arshad said.
Humza's YouTube channel is extremely popular. He does a good job of stereotype-piercing, pointing his wit at both sides of the cultural divide.
"Violent terrorist Muslim wind attacks an vulnerable innocent garden chair," he said in one skit.
It depicts a world in which everything can be blamed on terrorism and there isn't much that's not fair game.
Humza can connect with the kids while Britain's police forces, which have had difficulty recruiting from minorities, often cannot.
"And I thought, the police? Do I really want to work with them? I mean, that's my street cred going really down," Humza said. "But then I realized I didn't really have much street cred in the first place, so I thought, 'Hey, let's just do it."'
The trick, though, is to engage the kids, but not to preach.
With such serious subject matter, Humza said the key is to "keep that balance."
When asked which came first, the comedian or the anti-terrorist operative, Humza said, "definitely the comedian."
"I actually never thought I would be where I am today in tackling these type of issues," he said.