Having strong beliefs and a faith in something is a great thing. Extreme beliefs and being radicalised into changing how you think can be a problem. This could leave you feeling pressured and confused about what to do.
There are lots of people out there who would love you to join their group. Whether that is to go and fight in Syria for radical Islamic faith or join an organisation in the UK that encourages racism. They want to exploit you and recruit you to take action for them.
Though there may be parts of a group’s message that you believe in, the way that they are trying to carry out their goals may put you at risk and its unlikely that they will care about your personal safety and well-being.
You may feel really strongly that you want to get involved and that you are unhappy with your current life and want something new. It’s important that you know what you are really getting into and talk about it so you are sure.
There are a lot of videos, websites and public speeches that are easy to find and be affected by. It is easy for them to start to make you change your mind, if you are looking for something to believe in. Equally there are lots of positive organisations and groups which you could get involved with to make a difference with like-minded people.
The UK is a country where all religions, cultures and backgrounds are welcome. British citizens are safe by law to have freedom of speech and can say what they want but they are not allowed to preach hate and harm others.
Making decisions to fight for or commit acts of violence or terrorism in the name of your beliefs is wrong. Hurting other people isn’t the only way to get your voice heard and to take action for your beliefs.
Some people will run away and leave home to join a group either in another country like Syria or Iraq or maybe in the UK. Many will regret their decision and may feel stuck, unsafe or unable to get back. Lots of people find themselves in real danger and young people from the UK have been killed having joined these groups.
It is important to understand the risks, what choices you have and whether the decision is right for you. There are some websites and other information that we link to below which could help you more.
If you feel that you want to go or that you are worried about someone who you think might leave, please think about talking to someone.