From the Observer
Once a suicide bomber has killed himself and everyone unlucky enough to be in his vicinity, ideologues rush to claim him like rival firms of undertakers fighting over a corpse. If he has posted a video raging about the Iraq war then Bush, Blair and the neo-cons are the “root cause” of the mass murder. If his university teachers had stood back while Islamists radicalised the campus, then liberals who cannot tell their friends from their enemies are to blame.
Not until I read the New York Times last week, however, did I learn that jihadism could be explained away as a jolly jape. Pakistani police, who must cope with the equivalent of a 7/7 massacre virtually every week, had arrested five American citizens, who came from Washington DC and its Virginia suburbs. The Pakistanis claimed that they had exchanged emails written in code for months with a recruiter for the Pakistani Taliban, and were heading for an al-Qaida stronghold. The suspects left behind a video, which Washington police said had jihadist overtones and which a local Muslim leader described as a “disturbing farewell statement”.
Surveying the evidence, the New York Times wondered, “whether the men acted on a lark or were recruited as part of a larger militant outfit”. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, of course, but “a lark”? Maybe Billy Bunter has taken over the newspaper’s foreign desk. More probably…
Read the whole thing