-The "kind gentle souls" who murder for Islam -Jeep Jihadi laughs in courtroom as victims testify - family feigns shock at rampage
But he was good to his mother -Murdering for militant Islam by Daniel Pipes
Family of man charged with driving SUV through crowd issues statement
Chapel Hill, NC-AP) March 24, 2006 - Relatives of the man accused of driving a sport utility vehicle into a crowd of people on the UNC campus say they're shocked by his words and actions.
Mohammed Taheri-Azar told investigators that he drove through the crowd at a popular gathering spot on campus because he wanted to kill people as payback for the killing of Muslims around the world.
Laila Taheri-Azar, Mohammed's older sister, told reporters Friday that her brother was an average guy who liked to fish and camp with his friends and he also followed NASCAR.
She says her brother has always been, in her words, "a kind, gentle and pure soul." She says his actions are, quoting, "as much a source of shock and distress to us as they are to you."
Family members of Taheri-Azar sat in the courtroom Friday as four students took the stand to discuss what happened on March 3rd.
But he was good to his mother: Murdering for militant Islam
by Daniel Pipes
The news last week that police had arrested Sajid Badat at his home in Gloucester, England, shook many Britons.
The charges against him concerned his training with al-Qaida in Afghanistan and his possessing PETN explosives, the same substance would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid had tried to set off. Police believe Badat intended to carry off the very first suicide bombing in the United Kingdom.
But not everyone was shaken by this news. Gloucester's Muslim community esteemed Badat too much to credit the charges. One admirer called him "a walking angel" and "the bright star of our mosque."
Another described him as "a friendly, warm, fun-loving character." A cousin insisted Badat was "nothing more than a friendly, sociable, normal young lad, who had lots of friends and did not hold extreme views in any way."
Interestingly, a similar gulf in attitudes recurs almost every time a supporter of militant Islam has either been arrested on terrorism-related charges or engaged in an actual terrorist operation.
Consider three other European examples:
The same admiration for accused terrorists also gets expressed in the United States:
And similar responses are found in the Muslim world – for example this case from Thailand's Muslim-majority south:
Such high regard for terrorists has several important implications. First, it points to the adherents of militant Islam being indeed "normal, good-natured young" people, and not misfits. In common with other totalitarian movements, militant Islam finds support among many accomplished, talented, and attractive individuals – which renders it all the more dangerous a threat.
Second, the fact that those who murder on behalf of militant Islam often enjoy psychological soundness, educational attainment, sporting success, economic achievement, or social esteem suggests that Islamist violence cannot be reduced by adopting the "root causes" approach of addressing personal poverty and despair. The phenomenon needs to be fought head-on.
Third, that terrorists are (unsurprisingly) skilled at hiding their intentions has the unfortunate consequence of making them harder to discern and therefore spreads suspicion to the larger Muslim community. This in turn points to that community's heightened responsibility and incentive to ferret out potential terrorists in its midst.
Feb. 28, 2005 update: Sajed Badat, the "walking angel," pleaded guilty today to charges that he conspired with Richard Reid to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner in 2001 with a shoe bomb. He was sentenced to life in prison.
In "But he was good to his mother: Murdering for militant Islam," I reviewed the common pattern whereby family and friends of those accused of Islamist murder invariably respond with astonishment and praise the accused. I looked in some detail at Sajid Badat, called by one admirer "a walking angel" and "the bright star of our mosque," as well as seven other cases.
This is not a topic I have added to and updated, simply because the examples are so numerous and repetitious. But a quote today, about one of the four accused London bombers, prompts me to open a blog about techniques Islamist killers use to avoid suspicion.
Shehzad Tanweer, 22, Shazzy to his friends, scion of a family of model Pakistani immigrants, was universally said to be sports mad and indifferent to politics. The Daily Mail quotes his uncle, Bashir Ahmed, calling his nephew "a very kind and calm person," "respected by everyone," and "proud to be British." Richard Ford of the Australian quotes two of his friends, Mohamed Ansaar Riaz and Azzy Mohamed, bestowing the usual high praise on Tanweer: "the best lad you could ever meet," "a sweet guy who gets on with everyone," "had a fantastic sense of humour and could make you laugh," "never drank and I never heard him swear."
But then comes the kicker: "He is the kind of guy who would always condemn extremism, like any good Muslim should. I have heard him many times in the past say such things."
Comment: The task of rooting out potential Islamist murderers gets ever more difficult if they ostensibly condemn the very ideology that motivates them. This has the tragic implication of raising doubts about condemnations by even sincere Muslims. (July 14, 2005)