An interesting perspective on what the mainstream media thinks of as the chasm-wide distinction between “moderate” and “radical” Muslims. Mohammed Atif Siddique’s family argues that he wasn’t a terrorist, he was just growing more devout in his Islam, and it’s just Whitey’s racism that causes him to confuse the two. But of course it is also entirely possible that Mohammed Atif Siddique’s devoutness led him to see Al-Qaeda’s perspective on jihad as reasonable. It wouldn’t be the first time: a fervent commitment to Islam is the one scarlet thread that unites all the jihadists. Atta’s visits to strip clubs do not negate this point — his devoutness is well established, and he may have thought that such visits were a good way to throw off any investigators who may have been nosing around, and/or that he was about to perform a great act of martyrdom that would outweigh all his sins, so he had nothing to lose by living it up a little.
By Michael Howie in The Scotsman (thanks to Twostellas):
THE family of Mohammed Atif Siddique, the Scottish student convicted this week of al-Qaeda terrorist offences, have come together to tell of their heartache and their anger at the way he has been treated.
They described how their son adopted a stricter Islamic way of life, a change that fractured their close relationship and ultimately led to his conviction.
But they insisted Atif – who faces at least ten years in prison – was not a terrorist and that his actions were similar to those of thousands of ordinary young Muslims seeking answers about al-Qaeda and the “war on terror”.
In a wide-ranging interview, the family claimed “thousands” of other people ran the risk of falling foul of the same offences for which Atif was convicted.
They said he had been criminalised for carrying out research on al-Qaeda.
Atif was the first person in Scotland to be convicted under controversial new terror laws that have raised questions about the balance between civil liberties and protecting the public.
Speaking exclusively to The Scotsman, Mohammed Siddique, the father of the 21-year-old, said: “After what’s happened to my son, stop your children going on the internet in case they end up in jail.
“The sad thing is, why shouldn’t our young people be able to find out what is happening in Iraq or Afghanistan? Does it mean every child that goes on to a website is considered to be a terrorist? Thousands of young people in the Muslim community will have accessed the same material.”
His wife, Parveen, said: “I would like, as a mother, to tell their children not to go anywhere near their computers. But, despite all of that, you cannot say going on the internet is a crime.
“It’s not just Muslims that go on these websites; white people also go on them. My son is being made a scapegoat.
The convicted student’s brother, Asif, said: “Every Muslim is asking questions within themselves: what is happening in Iraq? Why it is happening? What is happening in Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine?
“I was of the opinion a few years ago that unless s*** was happening on my own doorstep, it was nothing to do with me.
“But Atif was different. He was of the belief that it was to do with us, because we are Muslims and what is happening to them could happen to us. Britain was going in there – they must have a reason, he thought. But the Taleban were retaliating, encouraging people to carry out suicide bombings. Was it justified? What’s leading them to do that? These are the questions he was asking.”
And…what answers did he discover?