Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Islamist Recruiter - 7/7 Bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan

David Frum pointed me to Prospect magazine which has a feature story using interviews with Khan's brother on how Khan became an Islamic recruiter and force for the evil design of Islamic supremacism. The article also touches on funding sources for mosques (Saudi, HUT, Muslim Brotherhood), and Wahabbism.

Here's an excerpt below (emphasis is mine in bold and large type). Pay attention to the part about how they find out about the interests of the target person and focus on those. From a previous post, I pointed to an article that mentions this is the tactic they use in trying to convert people from other religions ie: Sikhs and in particular they try and find Sikh girls going through a spot of trouble to convert. Unfortunately, many girls end up being used as prostitutes or trophies in Pakistan for money.
it takes about 30 years for a sizeable second generation to establish itself and then become frustrated with its status, both within its own community and the wider society. This frustration arises in part from a question of identity. Whose culture and values do you affiliate with? Those of your parents or of your friends? Those of your community or of your country?

Hassan Butt, a former recruiter for the British jihadi network (the term violent Islamic extremists in Britain use to describe themselves), who twice met Sidique Khan, says that the reason radical Islamic movements in Britain have been able to recruit thousands of young Muslims is that they have managed to exploit this identity problem.

Butt—who was interviewed in the August 2005 issue of Prospect, just after 7/7—left the jihadi network in February 2006. (His route out, documented in a recent interview on the US current affairs programme 60 Minutes, has been slow and painful, and earlier this year he was attacked near his home in Manchester for his betrayal.) After he left the network, Butt told me that as a recruiter, his most important job was to discover what his potential recruit identified with, and then to pick holes in it. For example, if the potential recruit felt Pakistani, then Butt would focus upon the difficulty of being both British and Pakistani. Butt and many other recruiters find this easy because they know what it is like. Having lived in Britain all his life within a strongly Pakistani household, Butt felt neither British nor Pakistani. "When I went to Pakistan," he said, "I was rejected. And when I came back to Britain, I never felt like I fitted in to the wider white British community. And you've got to remember that a lot of our parents didn't want us to fit into the British community."

Religion—in this case a purified and politicised version of Islam, far from the traditional "folk" religion of the first generation—was a natural way of transcending this cultural dislocation. "Here come the Islamists and they give you an identity… you don't need Pakistan or Britain. You can be anywhere in the world and this identity will stick with you and give you a sense of belonging....

According to Butt, the other big factor that has helped Islamist recruiters is the fact that in many communities, Islamists are winning what some have termed a "civil war" within Islam. 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....

On the other side, British fundamentalists and Islamists are centrally funded. It is estimated that over the last two decades, Saudi Arabia has set aside $2-3bn a year to promote Wahhabism in other countries. It is not known how much of that money has come to Wahhabi groups in Britain, but one major recipient has been the Leeds Grand Mosque.

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....

I translated my usual question of whether he thought what his brother had done was "good" or "bad"—he had said that it was a terrible thing several times—and instead asked him whether he thought 7/7 was halal (permitted) or haram (forbidden) in Islam. Only when a look of stunned surprise come over Gultasab's face did I realise that I must have been asking him an entirely different question. After a brief pause, he replied. "No comment."

Here, it seemed, was the perfect example of the division between two worldviews—secular ethics and an embattled Islamic faith. How long had Gultasab managed to function with these two conflicting positions fighting within him? Everyday morality told him that his brother had committed a cold-blooded act of terror, while his own Islamic theology told him that there was no clear answer and maybe his brother was a hero. How many thousands of young British Muslims are similarly conflicted?

This is a question that Peter Clarke, the head of Scotland Yard's counterterrorism unit, is still trying to answer. After three further suspects from the Beeston area were charged this April with being involved in helping to plot 7/7, Clarke held a press conference in which he accused some West Yorkshire Muslims of keeping information from the police. "I firmly believe that there are other people who have knowledge of what lay behind the attacks," said Clarke. "Knowledge that they have not shared with us. In fact, I don't only believe it. I know it for a fact."...

When I asked Gultasab why he didn't try to prevent his kid brother from going down the path of jihad, he gave a similar answer. No one had expected him to become a suicide bomber. Why would Sidique kill himself barely a year after his wife had given birth to a baby girl—on whom he apparently doted? This question was never really answered, but most people in Beeston were pleased that the kids were becoming more religious. "Better them being Wahhabi than on drugs," said Gultasab. "People appreciated the kids running a bookshop because they were peers to the younger generation—who were no longer listening to the elders." The elders thought that the kids would come back to their roots. As Gultasab told me, when marriages took place without family consent, people thought that eventually everything would just be reconciled, as things usually are between children and their parents. And why would Sidique, the moderniser of his community—and "the kindest member of our family"—end up committing such a barbaric act?"

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