Most Americans have heard of John Walker Lindh, the “Marin County Mujahid” who converted to Islam as a teenager and had gone to Afghanistan to join forces with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by the time he was in his early twenties. Few know that there are many such Westerners — including the Australian Jack Jihad Thomas and the Scot James McLintock, the “Tartan Taliban.” These men, whose only tie to Islam was religious, not cultural or national, illustrate how radical Muslims use traditional Islamic religious concepts — not national loyalty, resentment born of poverty, or other inducements now fashionable among analysts — to recruit terrorists.
McLintock was recently arrested again: “A man labelled the Tartan Taliban was detained by anti-terrorist officers in Manchester last week, it emerged yesterday.
“James McLintock, a graduate of Dundee University whose parents live in Arbroath, was arrested last Thursday but released the next day without charge.
News of his arrest came as seven other men continued to be questioned and as a newspaper reported that M15 fear a possible Christmas bombing campaign by al Qaeda.
“Mr McLintock, a 39-year-old father of four, was described as the Tartan Taliban after he was arrested at the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan on Christmas Eve, 2001.
“He was held for 40 days in Pakistan before being released.
“He was raised a Catholic, but converted to Islam and had lived in Karachi with his wife and family for two years.
“Scotland Yard and M15 are worried that Islamic fundamentalists may be preparing to carry out simultaneous attacks on so-called soft targets such as shopping centres. . . .
“Meanwhile, six men were being detained by Sussex Police under anti-terrorism legislation, as elsewhere officers continued to question a man suspected of having links to the al Qaeda network.
“The six men, of North African origin and all in their mid-20s, were arrested in Eastbourne a few days ago, but details were not immediately released by police.
They are being held under a section of the Terrorism Act relating to the arranging of funds or property for the purposes of terrorism, police said.
“They were detained by officers investigating a large-scale cheque and credit card fraud.”