Al-Jazeera today played a video of Mohammad Sidique Khan, leader of the July 7 London suicide bombers, in which he explained his reasons for planning to kill his fellow-citizens. Speaking with the distinctive Yorkshire accent of his native Leeds, the husband, father, and school aide said the following:
I'm going to keep this short and to the point because it's all been said before by far more eloquent people than me and our words have no impact upon you. Therefore I'm going to talk to you in a language that you understand. Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood.
I'm sure by now the media's painted a suitable picture of me. Its predictable propaganda machine naturally will to try to put a spin on things to suit the government and to scare the masses into conforming to their power, wealth-obsessed agendas.
I and thousands like me are forsaking everything for what we believe. Our drive and motivation doesn't come from tangible commodities that this world has to offer. Our religion is Islam, obedience to the one true God Allah and following the footsteps of the final prophet messenger. This is how our ethical stances are dictated.
Your democratically-elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters.
Until we feel security you will be our targets and until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight. We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.
I myself, I make duaa [pray] to Allah ... [garbled]... to raise me amongst those whom I love, like the prophets, the messengers, the martyrs, and today's heroes like our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and all the other brothers and sisters that are fighting in the ... [garbled] ... of this cause. With this I leave you to make up your own minds and I ask you to make duaa to Allah almighty to accept the work from me and my brothers and enter us into gardens of paradise.
This statement prompts several thoughts:
- Khan has the standard Islamist conspiracist mentality, seeing the Western governments perpetuating "atrocities against my people all over the world." His murderous activities show, once again, how conspiracy theories kill.
- Khan's you/we division is that of British/Muslim or more broadly, kafir/Muslim. Likewise, his notion of the UK and its "wealth-obsessed agendas" mirrors the Pakistani outback more than Yorkshire.
- He is clearly frustrated: "I'm going to talk to you in a language that you understand. Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood." Khan believes that shocking the British is the only way to awake them. And yet, it is hard to see how his murderous actions could help his cause. In fact, as I have shown, terrorism impedes the Islamist advance.
- By explicitly aligning himself with Al-Qaeda's leadership, Khan inadvertently brings comfort to the British population; he signals that if outside influences can be restricted, the danger of terrorism decreases.
- The hope of entering the "gardens of paradise" suggests that Khan, like other British Muslim recruits, was promised a full complement of comely heavenly virgins, and that this was a factor in his deciding for terror.
(September 1, 2005)