From the He-Was-Such-A-Grand-Fellow-This-Is-Discrimination Department, a Saajid Badat update. “Dark Secrets of the Trainee Islamic Priest,” from The Scotsman, with thanks to Nicolei, who comments: “Saajid Badat could have been a character out of Fox’s ’24.’ His case should lessen optimism that Western schooling and exposure to Western culture can cultivate moderate Muslims. His ‘piety,’ along with the zeal of many other Muslim terrorists, shows that violence against infidels is not a contradiction of Islamic piety, but very much part of it. How many more Saajid Badats will it take to convince the West that there are thousands of ‘sleeper’ Muslim terrorists who can be awakened by calls to such piety, as they come to understand Islam more intimately?”
When devout Muslim Saajid Badat was arrested by anti-terrorism officers in November 2003, it came as a huge shock to his local community.
Astounding that any editor let this through as the lead paragraph. When was the last time a suspected terrorist was arrested and the news stories featured Muslims who knew him saying, “Yes, we knew all along he was a rotter”?
Badat, a bright, well-educated man from a deeply religious family, had been living quietly with his family and was described by neighbours as softly spoken and respectful.
Those who knew him painted a picture of a sociable, football-loving man who “always spoke out if something was wrong”.
His former headteacher said he was a quiet teenager who took his religious beliefs seriously, while his classmates considered him friendly and popular.
He took his religious beliefs seriously, eh? That, er, couldn’t be part of the problem, could it?
However, behind his outwardly quiet and often unassuming character, Badat had been hiding a dark secret. Today at the Old Bailey he admitted conspiring to blow up an aircraft.
Born in Gloucester to a strict Muslim family who moved to England from Malawi, Badat was an active member of his community and had hopes of becoming a Islamic priest.
“Islamic priest”? This shows the depth of this reporter’s knowledge of Islam.
At the time of his arrest, headteacher David Lamper said he was “shocked” by the news.
He described Badat as a successful student who worked with “maturity and commitment”, adding that he was “punctual, cheerful and polite”.
And in a statement issued today, Mr Lamper said: “While here, he (Badat) was a popular and diligent pupil. The school’s thoughts are with Saajid’s family at what must be a very difficult time.”
After leaving school, Badat began studying the Koran.
He went on to study at the College of Islamic Knowledge and Guidance in Blackburn, Lancashire, where he lived as a boarder for two years.
A world map and two pictures of mosques adorned the walls of the room he shared with five others.
At the start of his training as an Islamic priest and scholar, Badat studied daily in the computer room and library which held hundreds of Islamic teaching books.
Amazing that he got them all wrong and so misunderstood the message of the Religion of Peace that he ended up helping out the shoe bomber. Memo to Ibrahim Hooper and Stephen Schwartz: why is the Qur’an so all-fired hard to understand? Why does a serious student of Islam like Saajid Badat get it so wrong? Or … could it be that maybe he didn’t really get it wrong at all? And if not, what are you guys doing about that? (If anything.)