I can’t imagine there will be a shortage of journalists and commenters trotting out the ‘it’s all about Iraq’ line long after after the London and Glasgow bombs have ceased to dominate the headlines.
However such a lazy linkage of the two phenomena reveals more about the groupthink that passes for contemporary left-liberal discourse than sheds light on what’s actually driving the putative nailbombers and self-immolators.
Hassan Butt, who used to be a seeker after the Caliphate but has now renounced extremist Islamism is surely better qualified to pronounce on the subject than a whole drawing room full of Islingtonians. Here’s what he says about the mens rea of the modern jihadi:
When I was still a member of what is probably best termed the British Jihadi Network, a series of semi-autonomous British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideology, I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy.
By blaming the government for our actions, those who pushed the ‘Blair’s bombs’ line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.
I left the BJN in February 2006, but if I were still fighting for their cause, I’d be laughing once again. Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the 7 July bombings, and I were both part of the BJN – I met him on two occasions – and though many British extremists are angered by the deaths of fellow Muslim across the world, what drove me and many of my peers to plot acts of extreme terror within Britain, our own homeland and abroad, was a sense that we were fighting for the creation of a revolutionary state that would eventually bring Islamic justice to the world.
In other words Islamists have their own agenda – and the overthrow of a secular dictatorship in Iraq in 2003 is merely a red herring tossed by Islamists to the hard of thinking in the West.
Butt’s article is published in today’s Observer. Is this further evidence that the Bruschetta orthodoxies that surround the commonly assumed link between foreign policy and terrorism are gradually being undermined by compelling evidence from people who actually know what they’re talking about?