This article from New Zealand’s Stuff.co.nz (thanks to Nicolei) assumes, like so many others, that the converts to Islam who turn to terrorism are victims of their own ignorance: canny jihad recruiters have sold them a “distorted” version of Islam that sanctions violence. If this were true, however, it would seem to me that we would see many more instances than we do of Muslims using the Qur’an to disabuse jihadists of their violent notions. Instead, the most ballyhooed instance of this, the Yemeni scheme that won a great deal of attention in the West, has turned out to be sham — just as I suspected it was.
So I hereby call again for proof: if you can convince Muslims that jihad violence is wrong by using the Qur’an, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and explain how. But I think at this point that it is safe to say that Western policymakers — instead of prostrating at the feet of the likes of the Yemeni Judge Hamoud al-Hitar, who claimed to be able to do this — should take sober account of the fact that it is not being done and by all evidence cannot be done, and react accordingly.
PARIS/BERLIN: What prompts someone to convert to Islam and to sign up for global “holy war” in the name of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda?
Security agencies are asking that question with increasing urgency as they confront a growing catalogue of actual or attempted attacks in which Muslim converts are suspected of playing prominent roles.
Richard Reid, the convicted British “shoebomber” who tried to set off explosives in his footwear on a 2001 trans-Atlantic flight, was a petty criminal who first turned to Islam during a spell in prison.
Christian Ganczarski, a German suspected of involvement in a 2002 bombing in Tunisia, converted at 20 before embarking on a jihadist career in which, investigators believe, he became a close associate of bin Laden’s.
Other high-profile militant converts include Jamaican-born Germaine Lindsay, one of four suicide bombers who killed 52 people in London in July, and Briton Andrew Rowe, jailed for 15 years last month for possessing terrorist materials.
Frenchman Lionel Dumont, a suspected Rowe associate and another convert, will go on trial in December accused of a series of attacks in the 1990s, including an attempt to bomb a Group of Seven summit in Lille….
John Walker Lindh, dubbed “the American Taliban”, was convicted and jailed in 2002 for fighting alongside the Afghan militia, and US citizen Jose Padilla has been held for more than three years as a suspected enemy combatant in connection with an alleged “dirty bomb” plot.
In Australia, British-born Muslim convert Jack Roche was jailed for nine years in 2004 for conspiring to bomb the Israeli embassy in Canberra….
Befogged expert alert:
Once they converted, the experts said, such people often moved towards violence quickly, driven partly by a need to prove themselves. They might also be more easily manipulated by extremists because they lacked the cultural grounding to distinguish between true and distorted versions of Islam.
“Basically, you can tell them just about anything and they’re willing to believe it,” Taarnby said. “They’re not asking the right questions. They’re just accepting what they’re being told at face value.”