The pathetic public execution of an innocent man on July 22 joins the events of July 21 and July 7 as a reminder of why a narrow, reactive law-enforcement approach to terrorism will always penalise the populace more than the terrorists. You win this war militarily (in the badlands of Pakistan and elsewhere) and culturally (which is a much tougher battle). Shoot-outs on the Tube aren’t going to be much help – though, if they advance from Brazilians at Stockwell to theatregoers at Leicester Square, overcrowding at the Olympics isn’t likely to be a problem.
This war might also be won at national borders, where, in the case of suspected fizz bomber Muktar Said Ibrahim, Britain evidently failed:
One of the four suspects in the attempted suicide bombings in London last week spent several years in prison as a mugger, the Telegraph can reveal.
Despite his record, Muktar Said Ibrahim, 27, also known as Muktar Mohammed Said, was granted a British passport less than a year ago. A key condition of naturalisation is that an applicant must be ‘‘of good character’‘.
The same article offers an alternative “root cause” for British terrorism:
Sarah Scott, 23, a neighbour of the family, said that Ibrahim had given her a pamphlet, Understanding Islam, last November and had highlighted key passages.
“He talked about evil spirits,’’ she said. ‘‘He said there were a lot of evil spirits around because everyone was evil around here.’‘
Evil spirits! It was evil spirits all along.
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