July 13, 2005
Muslims in Europe - London Bombings as Domestic Terror and Suicide
Being frightfully busy writing corporate propaganda (otherwise known as responding to transparency in quarterly reporting by - as the French rather wonderfully put it, putting heavy make up on the accounts), I am afraid this is as much an open post as anything.
Nevertheless, The Financial Times and other sources report that the identity of the actual bombers, who do indeed appear to have been suicide bombers, has more or less been established.
While approaching this with caution (things "well established" in early stage of stories may not be so), this has disturbing and intriguing implications for Muslim immigration in Europe. The bombers themselves appear to have been second generation Asian Britons -IndoPak- not sure if the news is getting it right that they are in fact of Pakistani origin as opposed to more generally Subcon. origin Muslims.
Juan Cole has some interesting comments here, but I am not sure I am in agreement regarding his suggestions on breaking cults.
Regardless, there is a real isssue there - and I think looking at the problem in the framework of cult, rather than Islam in general is probably productive as without doubt normal Muslims have a hard time wrapping their minds around this sort of nihilistic barbarism.
I invite, by the way, my co-authors to update and add to this somewhat low value you post rather than merely comment and note for readers who may not know otherwise, I shall be disappearing on some waste of corporate resources jaunt.
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That's good. They can use that anti-cult legislation to round up some Scientologists, too.
Posted by: anonymous at July 13, 2005 08:00 AM
Just wondering how useful any comments Juan Cole has to make may be in the regard, given that he wrote a commentary immediately following the bombings in which he categorically denied that British Asians could possibly be involved.
Posted by: Curious in Beirut at July 14, 2005 01:21 AM
Cole's analysis was not wrong per se. Rereading his comments he correctly focused on the take and tone of the probably real claim by the "al-Qaeda in Europe"
Precisely he said
Britain's South Asian Muslim community is almost certainly not the origin of this attack. The statement celebrated Arabness or `urubah along with Islam. No Bangladeshi-Briton or Pakistani-Briton wrote that.
He's right, it was a very Arab statement.
The statement was probably not written by a second-generation Arab Briton or even by a long-term, integrated Arab Briton resident.
That is probably correct too.
Here is where he went wrong:
So, if the statement is a guide to the identity of the attackers, this bombing could not have emanated from the British Muslim community.
Of course it depends on how strongly one reads "emanated." All in all it was an overstatement, not an incorrect analysis of the content of that note - I agree with his sense - but an overreading of the menaing of the note. A mistake, but not one driven by complete misjudgement.
Certainly given the recent leads pointing to an Egyptian radical as the possible/probable "brain" one could argue the attack "emanated" or was motivated by an outsider brainwashing four donkeys.
Complex, I see no reason to attack Cole over what was an understandable mis (or rather over)reading of the evidence.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at July 14, 2005 06:14 AM
Well, BBC is currently saying a fifth suspect may have planned the attacks and then left the UK, and law enforcement is also looking for an Egyptian chemistry student:
Posted by: Eva Luna at July 14, 2005 01:52 PM
Something that struck me in Juan Cole's analysis:
One important point to note here is that satellite channels like Zee TV and B4U concentrate on South Asian popular culture and Mumbai [Bombay] films, with lots of dancing and flirting, and if they are popular it shows that a lot of the community is not interested in Muslim fundamentalism.
Bit of an odd generalization to make about British Pakistanis, simply on the basis of their viewing habits. ZeeTV et al have a lot of South Asian focused news in addition to standard Bollywood fare. Also important to note that Pakistani soap operas and movies are often different in tone and substance. From my own observation (anecdotal, naturally) younger Pakistanis can be surprisingly devout and will often make comments about their extremely strict parents or relatives back home. Of course, when considering subcon Muslims, there is a pretty broad spectrum when it comes to adherence, integration, dress style, etc. Some are very much in touch with mainstream Indian culture (and even some Hindu traditions), others not so much.
Posted by: eerie at July 14, 2005 02:48 PM
And hey, if you come to Beirut and look at all the billboards up around town (or see what's broadcast on Lebanese teevee), you'd think there was no way any kind of conservative Islamic party would have much influence in this country.
But gosh, people are not all the same.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at July 15, 2005 01:11 AM