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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

“The western mind and the Muslim mind are two different psychologies”

A must-read article about a reporter going undercover to a Jihad-infested suburb of Leeds, England.

But his kindness to me was coupled with a darker outlook on the wider world. I was shocked when one day at the Hamara centre he began explaining how the London bombers could be seen as martyrs.

“The western mind and the Muslim mind are two different psychologies,” he said. “The Muslim mind will see that this life means nothing unless I sacrifice myself for Allah.”

Inside I flinched, but outwardly I nodded with a look of sympathy. I did not want him to close up as much of the community had done after last summer’s attacks. I wanted him to speak honestly.

“My life means nothing, you know,” he continued. “I would give up this evil, two-seconds of a life.” Earthly experience, I think he meant, was but a moment compared with paradise to come.

Later he went on to eulogise Abdullah Faisal, a firebrand Islamic cleric who was imprisoned in 2003 for inciting the murder of Jews. Faisal, said to have been a strong influence on the 7/7 bombers, has advocated the spreading of Islam “by the Kalashnikov” and declared that one aim of jihad is to “lessen the population of unbelievers”.

To Ghani, the cleric was “one of the good ones” and he advised me where I might obtain recordings of his sermons.

Once again, I felt as if I had entered a strange bubble, a world where the reality I had known before had been suspended. Bham then asked me if I would ever blow myself up for Islam. I replied that the Koran says you should not harm innocent people.

“What Koran was that?” he countered. “Don’t fool yourself by saying jihad is a struggle within, to get on with life, to motivate myself to get up for prayers and that sort of thing,” he said. “That’s not jihad. Who told you that?”

Even after these experiences, the reporter looks atthis as merely a social problem. He doesn't seem to make the leap that the next 9/11 bomber is likely to come from a place like this, the middle of a Western town.