Aafreen noticed that one of her teenage sons was becoming aggressive towards her. He told her she was "not a very good Muslim" and that her understanding of Islam was weak. Eventually all communication stopped and her son fled to Syria, where he was killed.

Aafreen's (not her real name) story is one of many that has inspired the founding of Supporting Affected Families from Extremism (SAFE). The scheme, launched in November, is giving parents advice that is independent from their Muslim communities and the authorities. It will offer "theological support" where parents — and if possible the child — are invited to sit down with imams who have experience of talking to radicalised children. "The pastoral care is about settling, and refocusing them and providing a world view to the young person that challenges their polarised thinking and uses Islamic theology to provide alternatives," says Fiyaz Mughal, the founder and director of Faith Matters, which set up the project.

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