The suffering brought down upon the families of young men who sneak from their homes to fight a war abroad is unimaginable.
And now it is becoming clear that their stories have a major part to play in preventing any more impressionable young people from throwing their lives away. It is easy to see how it happens.
Disaffected and impressionable young men are easy targets upon which to impress radical views, turning well-meant but misguided intentions into something sinister for somebody else’s twisted ends.
The result is young men from Portsmouth leaving the country for places like Syria under the mistaken impression they are doing something honourable.
The group who left this city to go and fight for Isil using the nickname Britani Brigade Bangladeshi Bad Boys must have been enthused to join such a cause.
Now four of them are dead.
And any more young people who are tempted to follow in their footsteps should be under no illusion about what will happen.
Attempts to radicalise young Muslims will not stop, and neither should the efforts of the government and our community in trying to get the message across that going to fight abroad is not some glorious and noble mission.
It is good to hear from home secretary Theresa May today that the government is doing its best to prevent this from happening.
But she is right that much of the work needs to come from our communities – with local families who have seen relatives joining Isil speaking out about the terrible consequences.
And we are pleased to discover that a series of events will be taking place later this month to reach out to those most vulnerable.
It will help to put many minds at rest and surely make in-roads to deliver the message that there is a terrible price to pay for extremist activity.
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