My Brother the Bomber

[Prospect] Shiv Malik - I had come to Beeston in September 2005 on assignment with the BBC to help put together a factual drama based on the lives of the four 7/7 bombers - three of whom came from Beeston. Although poverty and exclusion are themes that wound their way through the lives of the Beeston bombers, it is the internal frictions within a traditional Pakistani community in Britain that best explain the radicalization that led to the deaths of 56 people. Ariel Merari, a Tel Aviv University psychologist, has profiled 50 suicide bombers and concluded that the only factor linking all forms of suicide terrorism was the way bombers were recruited and trained. It is the psychology of the group, not the individual, that is key. I asked Gultasab Khan, brother of British jihadi Mohammad Sidique Khan, whether he thought 7/7 was halal (permitted) or haram (forbidden) in Islam. After a brief pause, he replied. "No comment." Everyday morality told him that his brother had committed a cold-blooded act of terror, while his own Islamic theology told him that maybe his brother was a hero. How many thousands of young British Muslims are similarly conflicted?

2007-06-15 01:00:00

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