Everyone is shocked that Bashandi could have become a suicide bomber. But of course! They’re always shocked! Search the archives, and whenever a Muslim is arrested on suspicion of terrorist activity, you will find friends and neighbors saying how shocked they were, how pious he was, etc. etc. No one seems to look into that piety to see if possibly it was a motivation.
Anyway, here’s another from our tired and overworked Shocked! Shocked! Department, from “Bomber described as mild-mannered” in Aljazeera, with thanks to Aranjuez:
Neighbours of the bomber who carried out a deadly attack against tourists in Cairo last week have described him as a quiet, soft-spoken young man.
On Monday, the Egyptian Interior Ministry identified the bomber as Hasan Rafat Ahmad Bashandi, 17, an engineering student at the Banha campus of al-Zaqaziq University and a resident of the relatively squalid northern Cairo district of Subra al-Khaima.
Several members of the Bashandi family had been rounded up over the weekend for DNA sampling analysis which eventually helped Egyptian investigative police identify the bomber’s remains.
But neighbours and friends who knew Bashandi well are still grappling with the idea that the mild-mannered and generous young man could have taken his own life and in doing so killed three French tourists and an American and wounded several more.
They describe the Bashandi family as well-educated….
This means he couldn’t have been the bomber? Quite the contrary.
Helmi said she never noticed anything out of the ordinary about the would-be bomber, and is shocked that someone from his background could allegedly commit such a crime.
“He was a normal young kid like all his peers. He wasn’t a Sunni extremist like people we see on TV. Yes, he used to pray but just like all young men in the area who go and pray in the mosque.”
Said al-Sharif, who owns a shoe repair shop in the same building, said he saw nothing in Hasan Bashandi’s behaviour to indicate he harboured any violent tendencies.
“He was a normal kid, very polite but secluded. He didn’t mingle much with people, but all in all I would describe him as a typical young man. There was nothing that stood out in his behaviour,” he said.
“We occasionally used to see him go pray in the mosque and come back. But this was just like all other young men in the street who gather in Friday prayers.”
Neighbours and friends who knew the Bashandi family well are refusing to believe that someone they saw grow up over the years could be behind the deadly bombing.
“We still don’t believe what happened. He is very well- mannered. Neither he nor any of his family smoke even,” Helmi explained.
Oh, well, why didn’t you say so earlier!! If they don’t smoke, then he couldn’t have been the bomber!!
She said the family celebrated life and pointed to one of the Bashandi brothers’ wedding.
“[They] had music and even dancing. They even got a DJ to spin the turntable and deliver popular Arabic songs.”
Al-Sharif vehemently denies Bashandi could have been involved in the bombing.
“I think he was there by coincidence and [the explosion] happened. For him to do such a thing is far from true. Just now I heard on TV that police found drugs and nails in his apartment,” he said.
But the Egyptian Interior Ministry paints quite a different picture, describing Bashandi as a man with almost no friends, who spent a lot of time in the mosques and was particularly affected by his father’s death in September 2004.
Investigative profilers say Bashandi spiralled deeper into his seclusion, which they theorise may have led to his final, deadly act.
Over the course of the eight months after his father’s death, they claim the 17-year-old began to change his philosophies. They allude to several CDs containing so-called “extremist” ideologies.
“Only now did we hear from the [television] broadcasts that his attitude changed after his father’s death. We never felt that or noticed any changes in his attitude. We know the family as conservative and respectful. They also said on TV something we never heard before, that he recently started to tell his mother that TV is religiously prohibited,” al-Sharif told Aljazeera.net….