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Thread: My Brother the Bomber

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default My Brother the Bomber

    My Brother the Bomber is an article from Prospect Magazine, UK. Very long, quite informative article about Mohamed Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the 7/7 London bombings, by a BBC researcher, Shiv Malik. Focuses on Malik's relationship with Gultasab Khan, the brother of Mohamed Sidique Khan. Worth reading in full:https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/m...d-sidique-khan
    Malik discounts the theory that Khan and the 7/7 bombers were specifically motivated by the Iraq War, finding that Khan and his group were dedicated Wahabis through the 1990s and seeking jihad opportunities since 1999.

    Lots of good stuff here, for example on how rejection of arranged cousin marriages can lead to radicalization:

    But one of the biggest factors that has helped the growth of British Islamic radicalism is marriage.

    Islamism's most important tenet is that Muslims should not be divided by race or nationalism—that all Muslims are one. It therefore can offer an Islamic route out of having to marry your cousin. Butt knows this because it happened to him. When, instead of marrying his cousin, Butt tried to marry his sweetheart, he found himself deploying the arguments of his Islamist recruiter against his own father—that compulsion in marriage is un-Islamic and that forced marriages were a cultural import from Hindu India. And when the forces of traditionalism refused to give consent, Butt, like many of his friends, ended up a pariah within his own community.

    "When you're cut off from your family," Butt explained, "the jihadi network then becomes your family. It becomes your backbone and support." He added that when you join it becomes impossible to leave because there is nowhere else to go. The network starts operating like a cult.
    On divides within Islam and how the Islamists have the insurgent advantage over more established, moderate, first-generation mosques:

    For simplicity's sake, contemporary Islam can be divided into four schools: traditionalists, fundamentalists, modernists and Islamists. Unlike the split between Christian fundamentalists and other Christians, both Islamic traditionalists and fundamentalists lean towards scriptural literalism. The main difference between the groups is how they regard the 1,400 years of theological innovation since Muhammad's death.

    While traditionalists will not hesitate to draw upon centuries of scholarly argument, evolution in Sharia law and changes in accepted Islamic practice, fundamentalist movements—of which the Saudi-backed Wahhabis are the most important—reject all theological innovation since the life of Muhammad and his closest companions. Muslims, they say, should pay attention only to the holy book and the collected sayings and doings of Muhammad. This is why, over the last 50 years, Wahhabi authorities in Saudi Arabia have demolished more than 300 historical structures in the holy cities of Medina and Mecca. They want to create a timeless Islam.

    The third and smallest group are the theological modernisers—two figures well known in Britain are Tariq Ramadan and Ziauddin Sardar—who say that Muslims should look beyond the literalism of the Koran and seek out the meaning behind the words. What counts in the modern world is not the actions of Muhammad in 7th-century Arabia, but the principles that inspired those actions. Most liberal Muslims belong to this group, but they are a small minority, both within Muslim societies and in Europe.

    The fourth school, Islamism, is a relatively recent offshoot of fundamentalism. It emerged in response to the final demise of Islamic authority with the fall of the Ottoman empire after the first world war, but harks back to the early days of the caliphate, when the Koran was the basis for law-making. It sees Islam not just as a religion, but as a socioeconomic system. The Koran is God's version of Das Kapital. Islamists pick and choose teachings from across the ages, and while they read script literally and share a religious zeal with the fundamentalists, they are more akin to an ideological movement than a religious one. Their style of work is often compared with the student far left of the 1960s and 1970s.

    Butt says that the war between these schools, which has been playing out across the Muslim world for decades, has ripped into Britain's generation gap—and that the Islamists are winning.

    ...

    Since most of traditional Sunni Islam is devoid of an organised establishment, the money for running a mosque normally comes directly from the local Muslim community. In Britain, this means that in order to maintain community harmony, the teachings remain bland and the imam will avoid theological controversy. It also means that once there is enough money to run the mosque, there is no incentive to find new believers.

    ...

    Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir are also centrally funded. They gather money from members, pass it to a central administration which then hands it back out again. These groups' lack of local community focus means that they have to compete harder for "market share," which has made them hungrier and more efficient.

    So while traditionalist mosques carry on recruiting imams from back home, keep their sermons in Urdu and other Asian languages and neglect to publish material to engage new members, the Wahhabis and the Islamists give their sermons in English and take their recruitment on to the streets of Pakistani or Bangladeshi ghettos such as Beeston Hill. They have also encouraged the schooling of British-born imams, have learned to use the internet and have generally come to understand what makes the second generation tick. The Wahhabis and Islamists win new members by contrasting their galvanising message of world Islamic justice with the inactivity and irrationality of the first-generation traditionalists. (Among those who turn to violence, such as Khan, their beliefs are often a mix of fundamentalism and Islamism.) And by arguing that the traditionalists—with their saint worship, mysticism and forced marriages—have been corrupted by weakness and Hinduism, they provide useful arguments to those Pakistani and Bangladeshi youths who want to cling on to Islam but throw off their parents' constraints.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-22-2017 at 01:53 PM. Reason: Redundant link replaced again.

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    Council Member Mondor's Avatar
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    Default Anomia

    Radicalization is primarily due to a mixture of anomia (a state where norms (expectations on behaviors) are confused, unclear or not present) and rebelling against one's parents or society. Would you say that is an accurate summery of the article?
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    The article also refers to the success that the Islamists are having in recruiting these youths. There is the matter of ideology here and terror recruitment -- that is why we don't see Hindu teens (or anglo "punks") blowing themselves up in the UK, even though there is "anomia" in those communities too. If radicalization was merely a matter of confused norms and rebelling, we'd see a lot of non-Muslim terror in the West. But we don't.

    So while traditionalist mosques carry on recruiting imams from back home, keep their sermons in Urdu and other Asian languages and neglect to publish material to engage new members, the Wahhabis and the Islamists give their sermons in English and take their recruitment on to the streets of Pakistani or Bangladeshi ghettos such as Beeston Hill. They have also encouraged the schooling of British-born imams, have learned to use the internet and have generally come to understand what makes the second generation tick. The Wahhabis and Islamists win new members by contrasting their galvanising message of world Islamic justice with the inactivity and irrationality of the first-generation traditionalists. (Among those who turn to violence, such as Khan, their beliefs are often a mix of fundamentalism and Islamism.) And by arguing that the traditionalists—with their saint worship, mysticism and forced marriages—have been corrupted by weakness and Hinduism, they provide useful arguments to those Pakistani and Bangladeshi youths who want to cling on to Islam but throw off their parents' constraints.

    For all these reasons, many British Muslim youths who had drifted towards fundamentalist or Islamist organisations were susceptible to the violent global jihadism that emerged in the mid-1990s.
    Last edited by AdmiralAdama; 06-22-2007 at 08:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdmiralAdama View Post
    The article also refers to the success that the Islamists are having in recruiting these youths. There is the matter of ideology here and terror recruitment -- that is why we don't see Hindu teens (or anglo "punks") blowing themselves up in the UK, even though there is "anomia" in those communities too. If radicalization was merely a matter of confused norms and rebelling, we'd see a lot of non-Muslim terror in the West. But we don't.
    Do you not need someone to recruit them and to instill an ideology within them?

    Many political parties do just this with the disaffected population.

    If there is no one reaching out it is much less likely someone will become part of a "movement".

    We are seeing specific targeting of a specific segment of society to achieve specific goals.

    Edit: Also hello to one and all.
    Last edited by cpalmer; 06-22-2007 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Saying hello.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpalmer View Post

    If there is no one reaching out it is much less likely someone will become part of a "movement".

    We are seeing specific targeting of a specific segment of society to achieve specific goals.
    Absolutely. Jihadists are trying to recruit young Muslims throughout the world to attack infidels/further the Jihad. There are many ways to attempt to counter this -- socially, politically, diplomatically, and sometimes militarily.

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    5 Nov 07 address to the Society of Editors by the Director General of the Security Service, Jonathan Evans:

    Intelligence, Counterterrorism and Trust
    ....You may recall that in her speech this time last year, my predecessor, Eliza Manningham-Buller, pointed out that this country was facing an increasing threat from Al Qaida-inspired terrorism. When she spoke, MI5 had identified around 1,600 individuals who we believed posed a direct threat to national security and public safety, because of their support for terrorism. That figure today would be at least 2,000. This growth, which has driven the increasingly strong and coordinated government response, is partly because our coverage of the extremist networks is now more thorough. But it is also because there remains a steady flow of new recruits to the extremist cause.

    And it is important that we recognise an uncomfortable truth: terrorist attacks we have seen against the UK are not simply random plots by disparate and fragmented groups. The majority of these attacks, successful or otherwise, have taken place because Al Qaida has a clear determination to mount terrorist attacks against the United Kingdom. This remains the case today, and there is no sign of it reducing. So although MI5 and the police are investigating plots, and thwarting them, on a continuing basis, we do not view them in isolation. Al Qaida is conducting a deliberate campaign against us. It is the expression of a hostility towards the UK which existed long before September 11, 2001. It is evident in the wills and letters left behind by actual and would-be bombers. And it regularly forms part of Al Qaida's broadcast messages.

    This campaign is dynamic, and since my predecessor spoke last year, we have seen it evolve even further.

    As a country, we are rightly concerned to protect children from exploitation in other areas. We need to do the same in relation to violent extremism. As I speak, terrorists are methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in this country. They are radicalising, indoctrinating and grooming young, vulnerable people to carry out acts of terrorism. This year, we have seen individuals as young as 15 and 16 implicated in terrorist-related activity.....

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    Default Icebergs need attention too!

    The Prospect Magzaine article is excellent.

    The latest speech by the UK Security Service head reflects some of the new thinking by the government, with a new emphasis on prevention (plus some "spin"). Information gathering aside what does any democracy do with radicalisation activity or talent spotters? An activity that is rarely criminal and acknowledged as difficult for traditional law enforcement to learn about.

    Note the recent NYPD paper on radicalisation is fine on analysis and description, but does not offer any tools to counter the activity (the NYPD report is no longer on the NYC / NYPD website).

    I like the "iceberg" analogy. Most CT work is rightly directed to those plotting attacks, when suspects / activity is exposed to view and investigation. Out of sight is the radicalisation, the scale of which is unclear and occassionally exposed to the view of LE / Intell. It is suggested that the Muslim community known far more, but are reluctant to tell LE / Intell.

    Plenty to think about.

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-06-2012 at 10:19 AM. Reason: Updated

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    Default My brother from Morocco

    A long, excellent piece on the radicalisation process in Morocco, with jihad warriors despatched to Spain (Madrid train bombings) and Iraq. Takes time to absorb. Some gems hidden there, for example the hostile reaction to the Madrid bombings which could have killed fellow Moroccans and the death of innocents.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/ma...=1&oref=slogin

    davidbfpo

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    Jason Burke has a big article out on the homegrown phenomenon in the UK:
    Omar was a normal British teenager who loved his little brother and Man Utd. So why at 24 did he plan to blow up a nightclub in central London? The Observer, January 20, 2008.
    Part 1
    Part 2

    Not really any new insights or info, except for a look at Operation Crevice - which thwarted a nasty plot and rounded out a big network. But not a bad read overall.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Old wine in new bottles

    Bourbon,

    Thanks for the links. I like reading Jason Burke and this is no exception. He has added some new details, helps with some context - notably the importance of travelling abroad, invariably UK to Pakistan, but it is "old wine". For example I admire those who have publically renounced Hizb, like Shiraz Maher, but Jason Burke is repeating old news.

    A variety of issues are there. What has happened to all those reported as being radicalised, say in Bosnia and the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan, who have not pursued the cause? Yes, they are older, may have no commitments. I cannot recall one example in the public domain of this and thousands must have done this.

    What does society do for an individual who rejects being radicalised and wants to return to his past life? They might be on the law enforcement / intelligence "radar" or fear reprisals or being denounced by the radicals.

    Dispite all my reading we still do not understand what has happened, so cannot intervene at the right point for example. In the UK context the government talks about common values, but there has been no public discussion I know of what they are.

    As one Muslim iman asked - what do you replace the radical ideology with?

    Yes, some are termed religious novices (to Islam) and what type of Muslim would be have any impact? Some argue "mainstream", "moderate" or Salafist.

    Meantime time to relax and read more elsewhere on SWJ.

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    As one Muslim iman asked - what do you replace the radical ideology with?
    Scientology.

    Joking aside, the gap between diagnosis and prescriptions is frustrating. Take for example this brief: "Terrorism and Radicalization: What to do, What not to do," Presentation to U.S. State Dept. / UK House of Lords, Oct / Nov '07, by Scott Atran. I consider he and his research partner Marc Sageman to be some of the better researchers on the topic, great stuff in the brief -- but just not enough in the “what to do” section.

    What about looking into drug rehabilitation processes? I've heard that junkies say heroin is “like kissing God”, similarly in books like Omar Nasiri's Inside The Jihad, you hear of the highs the militants get from the sense of kinship and sense of purpose they have. I imagine the volume is turned down lower in life in both cases when outside of either activities. You could where it becomes addictive....chasing the greater high.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 12-23-2008 at 04:42 PM.

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bourbon View Post
    Interesting....

    Today

    War Breaks Out Between Hackers and Scientology -- There Can Be Only One


    A loose confederation of online troublemakers who call themselves Anonymous have declared war on the Church of Scientology by flooding its servers with fake data requests, describing the attacks as punishment for the Church's alleged abuse of copyright laws and alleged brainwashing of its members.

    Anonymous congregates on the net at various hangouts such as 711chan.org (NSFW) and partyvan.info and sundry IRC channels. The group usually amuses itself by stealing passwords to downloading sites and finding ways to harass online communities that its members disdain. They were last seen on THREAT LEVEL when a Los Angeles Fox News affiliate ran a story that hilariously implied the group's arsenal included exploding vans.

    The attack on Scientology, which Anonymous has dubbed Project Chanology, started in recent days, set off by the Church's most recent attempt to censor the internet by forcing sites to remove a creepy Tom Cruise Scientology video. A wiki set up for the project directs Anonymous members to download and use denial of service software, make prank calls, host Scientology documents the Church considers proprietary, and fax endless loops of black pages to the Church's fax machines to waste ink.

    More at the LINK
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    "His eyes flickered for a moment, and I knew I had him. There are guys like this all over the world: They drink, they smoke, they snort coke, they are complete infidels in the eyes of real Muslims. But at the first mention of the words umma or jihad, they suddenly reconnect with Islam. I think this is particularly true in Europe, where young men are so far from everything, from the Muslim land. Jihad is nothing for them, nothing real. But it is also everything."
    - Omar Nasiri, Inside the Jihad: My Life with Al Qaeda: A Spy's Story

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    The man said to be one of the important recruiters for Islamist terrorism in the UK has been convicted today. Among those to have passed through where the four failed suicide bombers of July 21 2005

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7256859.stm
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    PSRU, 8 Nov 08: British Islamism and the South Asian Connection
    So the question which analysts and academics are asking themselves is: what has caused some amongst the British Muslim community to turn and embrace this violent form of religiosity? This paper attempts to offer an explanation to this question and in doing so looks at both historical and sociological factors. But before we go any further and take a look at the situation in Britain, it is firstly important to have some understanding of South Asian Islam and Islamism since it is these contemporary expressions of the religion which have been directly transferred from South Asia to Britain......

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Gaza conflict impacts extremism in the UK

    Catching up and have just watched a topical BBC report on this theme, on last night's Newsnight, a "serious" news programme; footage starts just after opening: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...ht_12_01_2009/

    Some points I'd qualify, e.g. the use of the term "moderate" Muslims. It is quite clear that the perception that the UK is not doing enough about Israel's actions is having a marked impact on the Muslim community, where anger is growing.

    Seems related to this thread as an update and MSK is cited.

    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Catching up and have just watched a topical BBC report on this theme, on last night's Newsnight, a "serious" news programme; footage starts just after opening: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...ht_12_01_2009/

    Some points I'd qualify, e.g. the use of the term "moderate" Muslims. It is quite clear that the perception that the UK is not doing enough about Israel's actions is having a marked impact on the Muslim community, where anger is growing.
    Can't view this, as I am not in the UK, but I'd walk shy of the so-called "moderate Muslims" in the UK of whom I have met a good few in TV studios. Some advertised as moderate, are clearly not. Some "Moderate Muslims" think the US "had it coming" on Sept 11th.

    Amazing how the killing of greater numbers of Muslim Civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and Darfur are seen as "less radicalising," than in Gaza.

    The answer is obvious but clearly unacceptable to some.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
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    CEPS, Aug 08: Al Qaeda in the West as a Youth Movement: The Power of a Narrative
    Why do we bother, in Europe, about ‘Islamic radicalisation’? The answer seems obvious. There are at least two good reasons: one is terrorism, with its security implications; the other is the issue of integrating second-generation migrants in Europe, apparently the most fertile ground for recruiting terrorists. For most observers, the link between terrorism and integration is a given fact. Al Qaeda-type terrorist activities carried out either in Europe, or by European residents and citizens abroad, are seen as the extreme form, and hence as a logical consequence, of Islam related radicalisation. There is a teleological approach consisting of looking in retrospect at every form of radicalisation and violence associated with the Muslim population in Europe as a harbinger of terrorism.

    This approach is problematic, not so much because it casts a shadow of suspicion and opprobrium on Islam as a religion and on Muslims in general, but because it fails to understand the ‘roots of violence’ and it arbitrarily isolates ‘Muslim’ violence from the other levels of violence among European youth. This, in turn, has two negative consequences: it does not allow us to understand the motivations for violence among people joining Al Qaeda (who are far from being, as we shall see, devoted Muslims fighting for their Middle Eastern brothers), and it unduly concentrates on “what is the problem with Islam”, precisely playing on Al Qaeda’s own terms, and spawning a debate that will have little or no impact among the segments of the population who are susceptible to joining Al Qaeda.....

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    Default Update on story

    An update on the excellent article.

    After the trial result last week, when three men were acquitted of involvement in the 7/7 bombings, The Daily Telegraph has returned to their home town, Beeston, a suburb of Leeds and reports: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/t...means-MI5.html

    Two of the defendants were found guilty of conspiracy to attend terrorist training camps overseas (Pakistan IIRC) and were jailed this week. Far more on this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7507842.stm

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-03-2009 at 12:28 PM. Reason: Add links

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    UK Home Office Statistical Bulletin, 13 May 09:

    Statistics on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008
    For the period between the start of the data collection on 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008 there were 1,471 terrorism arrests. This excludes 38 arrests made between the introduction of the Terrorism Act 2000 on 19 February 2001 and 11 September 2001 and 119 stops at Scottish ports under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.....

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