Without lucky breaks ‘I could have walked into the Stade de France in a bomber vest’, says Cambridge law student who grew up on same estate as Jihadi John

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Wannabe lawyer Allan Hennessy calls for more understanding of roots of radicalisation


A second year law student at the University of Cambridge has gone public to reveal that he could have fallen victim to radical Islam if he hadn’t been saved by one of his school teachers.

Allan Hennessy (pictured above) — who has completed a vac schemes and mini-pupillages at top firms and chambers including Hogan Lovells, Linklaters and Erskine Chambers — grew up on the same West London council estate and attended the same mosque as ‘Jihadi John’, the Isis YouTube executioner who was reportedly killed by US forces last week.

Hennessy describes himself as “part of a handful of young British Muslims who the education system hasn’t let down”.

Writing in a blog for Independent Voices, the Fitzwilliam College student recalls how close he came to dropping out of school, with a teacher’s plea for him to come back marking a turning point in his life. He reflects:

What would life be like had I not got any GCSEs or A-Levels? With a tinge of shame and sorrow, I came to the realisation that I could have turned to radical Islam. I could have fallen victim to Isis propaganda machine. I could have walked into the Stade de France with a bomber vest strapped to my chest.

Hennessy proceeds to urge people to “investigate the roots of radicalisation”, labelling Isis as “a consequence — not a cause — of disaffection”.

He reminds readers that Europe and the Middle East are united in their opposition to the Islamic State, before continuing:

It is not the time to point fingers and allow hate crimes to occur, as after Charlie Hebdo, or the brutal murder of Lee Rigby. It is time to start a double-edged battle against terror and disaffection.


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