In the fictional role ofSherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch would be one of the first intellectuals an equally fictional government would turn to for advice on tackling terrorism.
In real life? Perhaps not so much.
But the actor has nevertheless unveiled what he perceives to be the best way to solve the ever-escalating threat posed by militant group the Islamic State(Isis).
Cumberbatch – who has himself campaigned on behalf of the Stop The War Coalition in the UK, which protested against the war in Iraq – agreed that the blame for their existence “really is” the by-product of the government’s foreign policy in the Middle East.
“The usual means of showing your prowess and strength just won’t work with this,” he told the Daily Beast. “You can’t kill an idea with bombs – in fact, you often strengthen ideas with bombs.”
“To really understand [Isis] is how we’re going to be able to start combating it, and changing it,” he continued. “Although, I think there’s nothing else in the world that would make any right-minded person want to be totally opposed.
“If there was conscription and I was asked, I would go, because it’s fundamental to every person’s ideology on this planet, no matter what race or creed you are. It’s their way, or death. That’s as clear-cut a divide in morality and principles as we’ve faced with fascism in the Second World War, and we haven’t really had a uniting common understanding in something that’s so the polar opposite to what’s sacred in life than that, really.
“It’s a form of ethical and moral genocide, as well as the idea of race. It’s about killing everyone who doesn’t believe – even Muslims who don’t believe in the same extremity of what they believe in.
“It’s astonishing, and terrifying, and needs to be opposed,” he added. “But, I do think the smart way of doing it is to understand it totally first.”
Elsewhere in the interview, he somehow likened being a closet homosexual in the Thirties era of Alan Turing- whom he plays in new biopic The Imitation Game- to the radicalisation of Muslim youths today.
“Things work in close proximity, and it spreads by word of mouth,” he said. “If you have people of the same ilk side-by-side, that’s the best way to spread a secret. You don’t want it publicised, and you have to do a great deal of subterfuge.
Being a homosexual in that era was considered morally repugnant, punishable, and curable.”