Attacks in London

Coming back to my room for a moment before Dawkins’s talk tonight, I found that there had been two attacks in London: a van mowing people down, and stabbing attacks nearby.  At least one person is dead, and the authorities are calling it a “potential act of terrorism.”  How many more people will die like this, and what can we do about it. As I head downstairs for the talk, I’m deeply saddened. Please provide more details below if you can.


  1. Posted June 3, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Vauxhall has been reopened, and this one is not thought to be related to London Bridge and Borough Market…

  2. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Attack at London Bridge confirmed as terrorism

    “a series of coordinated attacks [at multiple locations] south of the River Thames.”

    but…”Police have said that the incident at Vauxhall was a stabbing, unconnected to the terrorist incidents at London Bridge and Borough Market.”

    “Knifeman shouted ‘this is for Allah'”

    Trump offers help to Britain, and reiterates need for Travel Ban.

    • Adam M.
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      “Knifeman shouted ‘this is for Allah’”

      But it had nothing to do with Islam!

  3. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Forget the stupid travel ban. Shut down all the Mosques, Madrassahs, and school boards which are dominated by Islamists and are preaching the virtue of this kind of behaviour!

    • Mike
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      I agree.

      • jwthomas
        Posted June 4, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Name the ones in the US who you believe are doing this.

  4. Posted June 3, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    There is the low-tech nature of it: van-driving and stabbings, as first reports come out. Unlike highish-tech Manchester with the bomb-making.

    I’d speculate that this would be a separate cell, perhaps unknown to each other, and ‘inspired’ by IS (probably) at separate times. Assuming that it’s IS, and given the recent military push-backs of IS in the Caliphate in Iraq, one would think this was confirmation of the many security reports that IS has set up networks in Europe to commit atrocities even beyond its defeat in Iraqi cities and its necessary retreat into the desert.

    If I’m right, the surprising element is that IS can operate effectively on the island of Great Britain, and not only in Germany, France and Belgium.

    The IS references to the Manchester bombing were oddly and uncharacteristically inaccurate, according to the expert on IS communications, Charlie Winter. He didn’t really understand why. I’d follow him to get the professional view.

  5. Quantumtaco
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Note how the reprehensible attackers used low-tech vans and knives rather than bombs and AR-15 assault rifles. Gun control works.

    • Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      To prevent another Manchester, we need an assault nail ban.

    • David Evans
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 3:32 am | Permalink

      Compare the murder rates in the UK and the US, then tell me gun control doesn’t work.

      • Posted June 4, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        As well as the murder rate guns contribute to the suicide and accidental death rate. Nobody commits suicide in their own home with a home-made nail bomb or accidentally runs over their teenage kid in the nighttime mistaking them for a burglar.

      • Posted June 4, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Gun control is beneficial, but it is not a panacea. The increasing diversity of tools of death employed has silenced the inane, knee-jerk calls for ‘assault rifle’ bans that used to follow every mass murder.

  6. Ken
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    1. Change the foreign policy that has seen too many innocent ME Muslims die from Western violence. These attacks are happening pre-election to help keep the Tories in power because that leads to better recruitment prospects for ISIS and others.

    2. Related to 1, specifically change the relationship with the Saudis and target their funding of radical Islamist teaching instead of turning a blind eye so that we can sell them arms.

    I don’t think either will occur, even without Trump, so I don’t expect the situation to improve anytime soon.

    • Tom
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 2:52 am | Permalink

      I totally agree with your second point.
      Regarding the first Iraq etc is only the latest excuse for Muslim violence the real cause is the frustration of a religion which has failed to live up to its crackpot ambition to be the one true faith and has to exist alongside the other failed attempts. Over the centuries each has resorted to terrorism when the excuse arises.
      The only difference between these faiths and secular terrorism is the failure of humanity to see through to the lie at the heart of all superstitions whilst secular ambition is only too obvious.

      • Ken
        Posted June 4, 2017 at 6:12 am | Permalink

        There’s more than one real cause. Religion is one, politics is another. But Jerry asked what we can do and the thing we have at least theoretical control over is what our governments do. If we can’t stop our own violent contributions to the problem, be they direct or through the Saudis, we haven’t much chance of changing anything.

        • Tom
          Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          Many have suggested that Saudi Arabia takes the initiative in the effort to reform Islam The SA Ulama is the most respected Sunni authority, however with Shia Iran eager for discontented Sunni converts this is unlikely.
          What neither of the main branches of Islam seems to understand (or want to) is that either Muslims reform Islam from within or outsiders will and with 5/6th of the world being ousiders we have the numbers and the power on our side.
          A reproachment between Sunni and Shia would be the obvious first step and I would defy any Muslim to point to anything in the Koran which prevents this.
          Christianity has had to travel a similar path and it has almost achieved a sort of co-existence between the sects.

          • Ken
            Posted June 4, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

            Declaring war on all Islam would be the worst folly and won’t reduce the violence in either the short term or long term.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 3:06 am | Permalink

      Even ISIS say that the Western interference and violence in the ME is far down the list of ‘reasons’.

      I’m inclined to say that ‘terrorism’ or ‘criminal activity’ whilst reasonable descriptions do mislead the direction of the debate. ISIS are not seeking to impose a political change, or generate income, but to promote a theocratic war, using ‘irregulars’. On that basis prosecuting hate preachers and their supporters, even while preaching in mosques, or using social media, seems a judicious move. Not easy but cuts off the incitement of young (usually) men.

      You’d have thought that older clerics and hate preachers would have grabbed the chance of dying a warrior’s death and going to heaven, but apparently not.

      • Ken
        Posted June 4, 2017 at 6:19 am | Permalink

        Irregulars for sure. There are plenty of accounts of how Western recruits aren’t very religious at all and barely understand what Islam is about. Islamists have to use politics as well to recruit these people.

        • peepuk
          Posted June 4, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          An important part of the problem with Islam are its politics. Why try to excuse its short-comings?

          A political ideology is almost always a requirement to do bad things on a big scale.

          • Ken
            Posted June 4, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

            I have in no way tried to excuse the shortcomings of Islam. But to do only that is not enough to reduce the violence of terrorism.

  7. Ken
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    1. Change the foreign policy that has seen too many innocent ME Muslims die from Western violence. These attacks are happening pre-election to help keep the Tories in power because that leads to better recruitment prospects for ISIS and others.

    2. Related to 1, specifically change the relationship with the Saudis and target their funding of radical Islamist teaching instead of turning a blind eye so that we can sell them arms.

    I don’t think either will occur, even without Trump, so I don’t expect the situation to improve anytime soon.

    • Ken
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, please delete the double post.

  8. Tim Harris
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Something I found in connexion with the Manchester bombing; it has been talked about in many other reports:

    “As Max Blumenthal detailed in an article on AlterNet, the British intelligence services played a direct role in supporting Islamist militancy in Libya, working closely with the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in a cynical bid to topple Qaddafi. When NATO escalated 2011 protests in Libya into an explicit regime change operation, the U.S. and U.K. governments encouraged foreign fighters to travel to the North African nation to help fight. Among those who took the MI6 ratline from Manchester to Libya was Ramadan Abedi, the father of the bomber.

    “During her tenure as Home Secretary, Theresa May was in charge of overseeing the operations of MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency. It was during this time that Libya was flooded with fighters from the U.K., with passports being handed even to British-Libyan citizens under government control orders for their alleged ties to extremist groups.

    “According to Akram Ramadan, a mechanic from Manchester who fought with the LIFG, roughly three-quarters of all foreign fighters in Libya arrived from his hometown in Britain.

    “With Ramadan Abedi on the Libyan front lines, his children eventually followed in his footsteps. His youngest son, Hamza, arrived in the country and joined up with an ISIS affiliate, while Salman took a trip to Libya just days before the bombing. Abedi had also reportedly visited Syria, apparently to make common cause with the jihadist groups battling the Syrian government with arms and support from the West and its Gulf allies.”

    The British & the American governments not only do not learn, they actively encourage terror, all in a ‘good cause’, of course. .

    • somer
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Im no fan of Blumenthal but it really annoys me that to be seen to do something, the politicians (including H Clinton) reach for interventionism – apparently not getting involved in a sh*tstorm and not further destabilising a naturally unstable, tribal and authoritarian region is seen as weak or in not removing a nasty regime – as immoral. The place is awash with arms, mostly from the west. I hold though that whilst the west exacerbates the problem and provides cause for resentment the underlying problem is the nature of the religion which is particularly extreme with severe internal and external repercussions. The vast majority of the killing is done by muslims to other muslims and the underlying basis is always religion – including the authoritarian secular regimes which are always supportive of religion even if they oppress extremists enough for them and their clan to stay in power.

      • Posted June 4, 2017 at 1:21 am | Permalink

        + 1. I am sorry that the suicidal tendency of Westerners to put the interests of Islamists first is apparent in this comment thread.

        • Tim Harris
          Posted June 4, 2017 at 1:42 am | Permalink

          I think you should be a little more careful in what you say, though given your attitudes it is perhaps predictable that you speak as you do. The suicidal tendency of Western governments to succour and support Islamic terrorism, both by giving diplomatic support and selling weaponry to states that foster terror elsewhere, as well as the indulgence of terrorists if they happen to be opposed to, say, Gaddafi, and generally making matters in the Middle East worse – that is what is being criticised.

          • Posted June 4, 2017 at 2:11 am | Permalink

            I was just going to return and write a longer comment to try and be clearer.
            BTW, I am shocked that so many people think that it would have been better to let Gaddafi exterminate the Libyans opposed to him. But this is another matter.
            Western powers have done many wrongs to many Third World nations, including Muslim ones. However, the first time when I saw large gatherings of Muslims expressing anger was when British authorities took measures to protect Salman Rushdie. People in the West should have taken a lesson then, but they didn’t.
            And they still don’t. I find it suicidal when, after an unprovoked and nasty attack by the enemy, your first thought is to think how you have made your enemy angry and how to appease him to prevent future attacks. I think this only encourages the enemy to think that the course is correct and will bring victory.
            The elephant in the room is Third World Muslim immigration. I think it is time to reduce it to a very small number of people who flee Islam. (This is itself controversial of course, because these people are the only hope of their homelands; moderate Muslims have so far spectacularly failed to build livable societies.) But no good person dares to suggest this out of fear to look Trumpish.
            Who is benefited by this immigration? The natives, who feel squeezed and have always to look over their shoulder? The British-born Muslim girls used by their parents as mere tools to improve the family’s prestige by bringing to Britain some unknown fundamentalist guy? Or the immigrant girls flown to Britain to marry unknown guys – and then, as Hitchens wrote, “their true miseries begin”? I suspect that at this point, the British immigration policy benefits mostly the Islamists.

            • Tim Harris
              Posted June 4, 2017 at 3:54 am | Permalink

              Well, this is the problem, is it not? Are things better now in Libya now that it is Gaddafi-less? Are things somehow less shocking now? You play this game rather too often: suggesting that criticism of Western intervention in the Middle East entails assenting to dictatorship, and then playing your moral trump-card by saying that you find this ‘shocking’. Yet you seem not to find it shocking when as a result of Western intervention thousands of people are killed, millions are displaced, and there is civil war, sectarian massacre,and yet further encouragement, owing to the chaos, of terrorist gangs. (In 2015 & 2016, nearly 7,000 refugees fleeing the chaos and killing in their countries drowned in the Mediterranean; the US-led coalition recently admitted to killing at least 484 civilians in air strikes in Syria and Iraq.)

              This has nothing to do with ‘appeasing’ anyone or anything, a suggestion that I find contemptible, but a matter of recognising that in particular circumstances any course of action or non-action leads to evil, and seeking to find the best way to mitigate a bad situation without succumbing to a complaisant policy of laissez-faire or to the splendid humanitarian fervour of a mid-century cowboys-and-indians movie, with the US cavalry riding in at the last moment to save the beleaguered whoever and restore everything to order, safety, and the pursuit of happiness.

              It should also be said that Western governments’ appetite for putting the world to rights is very selective. Saddam Hussein was supported for an important part of his career by the US, just as the US supports to the hilt one of the most illiberal regimes in the world, that of Saudi Arabia, as it girds its loins for a nice apocalyptic battle with the Shi’ites. Reagan had it both ways (or three ways), if you remember, supporting Saddam Hussein with intelligence, weaponry and materials for biological and chemical warfare, while secretly funnelling arms to Iran so that he could pay for the fomenting of yet further violence in Nicaragua.

              The elephant in the room is Muslim immigration, you say. Well, one thing that might reduce it would be to stop taking actions that increase the number of refugees.

              • Posted June 4, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

                Yes, I do find that Libya is better now than in Gaddafi’s times; and have you heard about Libyan refugees? If there are such, they must be few. There are many sub-Saharan “refugees” using Libya as a transit route, but Libyans are largely staying where they are. The glee with which opponents of US foreign policy point to present-day Libya (though in fact the USA was very reluctant to intervene) reminds me of the glee with which communists and Russian fans delighted in our poverty and lawlessness in the difficult post-communist transition period.
                Civilians do die an any war, but I have no evidence of the US-led coalition deliberately targeting them. Unlike the grievance-holding Muslim terrorists who attack teen girl concerts and ice cream parlors and shoot in the head girls who want to go to school.
                As for “appeasing”, I have no better word for the idea I read repeatedly in comments here and elsewhere – that Western Europe should not stop Muslim immigration lest existing Muslim immigrants get angry and radicalize. Some people are harsher than me and call this policy with the Churchill’s expression, “feeding a crocodile”.
                If indeed Western Europeans think that they are doomed and the only way to postpone their demise is to let in more and more Muslims, it would be honest of them to warn others not to repeat their grave mistake. However, the same Western Europeans who invite Muslims also want the Muslim migrants spread to Eastern Europe, so that Eastern Europeans also get bombed and stabbed.

              • Tim Harris
                Posted June 4, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

                Well done, Maya. Your evasiveness is beyond compare!

              • Posted June 4, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

                This is an uncivil comment. Please stick to the discussion instead of insulting other commenters.

            • Sensible Young Man
              Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

              I am in agreement with Tim, who understands the simple fact that humans don’t engage in self destructive acts unless they are prompted to do so by heinous acts imposed on them and their loved ones. The real elephant in the room is the meddling and murder in the East that preceded our present woes.

              • Jeremy Tarone
                Posted June 4, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

                Then how does one explain terrorism in other Muslim or high Muslim population countries?
                Ones that are not subject to Western meddling? We see Islamism in country after country that has significant percentages of Muslims.

                Meanwhile we don’t similar terrorism on the same level from other groups in the same areas or other areas that have seen Western (or Russian, or whatever countries intervention). No, it almost all comes from the same religion.

                There is a common thread, and it isn’t colonialism or Western intervention. It’s Islamism.

              • Posted June 4, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

                The following was true up 26th May just gone.

                Here is a list of countries in which Islamist terror attacks have occurred in the last 30 days: Somalia, Indonesia, Iraq, England, Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Libya, USA, India, Italy, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Mali, Chad, Yemen, Bangladesh, Thailand, Chechnya, Israel, Germany, La Réunion.

                This is what you have to be in order to be murdered by Islamists: a Nigerian farmer, an Iranian border-guard, a Pakistani cleric from a rival mosque, a French police officer, an Iraqi child searching for food, a German convert from Islam to Christianity, a Syrian ‘sorcerer’, a member of an Afghan wedding party, an Egyptian tribesman, young Malian lovers, an Israeli young woman ‘honour-killed’, a Chechnyan gay, a Chadian border-guard, a Bangladeshi Ahmadi imam, a Somalian coffee-drinker, a Thai child out shopping, a Kenyan labourer, a Saudi 2 year-old, an Italian train commuter, an Indian 45 year-old, an American disrespecter of Islam, the wrong kind of Muslim in Libya, an Indonesian bus worker, an English pop tweenie. And on. And on.

                Now if you want to say that all these are covered by British foreign policy, you can. But include me out. And of course the real emergence of Islamist, as opposed to ‘secular’, terrorism dates back to the mid-70s with the collapse of Nasserist Pan-Arabism and the emergence of (ultimately Qutb-inspired) Islamism, further bolstered by the ‘soft power’ of Saud financing of mosque-building and Wahhabi preaching abroad.

              • Diane G.
                Posted June 5, 2017 at 3:49 am | Permalink

                @ Dermot

                Outstanding comment!

    • BJ
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      I will never take anything Max Blumenthal has to say seriously unless it can be corroborated by other sources. Blumenthal is one of the nastiest and most dishonest pieces of work in all of media.

      • Tim Harris
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        It is not only Blumenthal saying this.

        • Craw
          Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

          People “saying” and sources are not the same thing.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      It is ironic [or something] that the UK Department for Work & Pensions has been paying benefits [welfare] into the bank accounts of UK [& EU ?] citizens who are away abroad learning how to maim & kill in Libya, Syria, Sudan etc. These benefits cheats can withdraw the monies abroad in GBP or USD [the Dinar being crap] & hey presto – a magical ISIS/AQ donation

      Anjem Choudary publicly mocked Brit citizens for being wage slaves whilst he & his ilk** taught their ‘brothers’ how to royally screw the system for every welfare benefit going. It involves the complicity of professionals & officials for the con to work – these being people also of that ‘ilk’ in the communities in question. This scandal has been going on for years & it continues.

      **It isn’t just UK Muslims, but they are notable for the depth of their fraud operation because close community, own languages, isolation from the mainstream, poverty, coming from nations/cultures where corruption is the norm [everyone pays someone higher to get even the smallest thing done]

      • somer
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        And whilst non-Muslims in Pakistan and Palestinian territories are made to observe Ramadan (which surely lowers their work productivity) Linda Sarsour at this time is promoting this

        • Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

          Linda Sarsour is the Phyllis Schlafly of Islam.

          • claudia baker
            Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

            She is also a f’n moron.

            • claudia baker
              Posted June 4, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

              (Linda, not Phyllis)

              • claudia baker
                Posted June 4, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

                Oops, I was thinking of someone else. Ya, Phyllis too.

          • Craw
            Posted June 4, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

            Actually I think this might be unfair. Schlafly was a font of twaddle and prejudice, but I think she believed her own nonsense and did not deliberately lie. Sarsour lies regularly, systematically, and about substantive things.

  9. Anne Lambton
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    No doubt we will discover, as we did after the Manchester jihad massacre, that the jihadis were on some Watch List, but weren’t being watched because of a personell shortage.

    Why is it a Watch List? It should be a Preventative Detention List. Those on the Watch Lists should be rounded up. If UK police think these people need to be surveilled, the UK government should simply arrest them. Create instead a special detention center for such people.

    Muslim countries do this all the time. It is done in Egypt, in Pakistan. It seems draconian, but that’s only because our societies refuse to acknowledge that they are at war.

    Instead, our politicians and media treat all these things as a separate incidents, rather than the organized plan of war that they are, put on by organized people, operating according to Islamic doctrine.

    One would like to hear people like Sam Harris tell the truth about this, but he is too ignorant about Islam to tell the truth, and is a laughable ignoramus who gets numerous basic facts about Islam wrong, and is unaware of many other dangerous Islamic practices.

    Does anyone care that Harris is a know-nothing? Is anyone going to point out the obvious to him about Mr Nawaz?

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    One thing I would mention is the authorities seem to be giving out very little information on this one. Maybe a new direction they are going and necessary to avoid providing the bad guys with info. Maybe a new and smarter way to be going.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      Could be. I’ve always been fine w/ not having all the facts, as long as I trusted the ones giving the facts. Facts have become unfortunate political devices. Unforeseen by me. I never thought politics would supersede science. Luckily, science is still regarded as more trustworthy. This may change.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 2:48 am | Permalink

      Maybe they don’t want to give any information to other Governments who then promptly leak it to the media.

  11. Jeannine Lanigan aka pghwelshgirl
    Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    I was in London in May, to see if it would help heal a broken heart. (It didn’t.)
    One of the areas recommended that I visit was Borough Market, although I never made it there.
    Tonight I do not feel as though I literally dodged a bullet – or a van driven by a crazed murderer. Neither do I feel a “there but for the grace of good fortune” sense of relief.
    Mostly, I feel stunned. And overwhelmingly sad.
    My thoughts are with my fellow Londoners.

  12. Posted June 3, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    What can we do about an attack like this? Probably nothing. The Islamic terrorists know that our freedoms and human rights are opportunities to strike us.

    • Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      Closely monitor the imams and the guest speakers at mosques. When any of them exhort others to commit crimes & acts of violence, arrest them and shut down those mosques.

      Just ask Maajid Nawaz for pointers.

      • Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but I meant nothing consistent with our rights and freedoms.

        • Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

          We must preserve civil liberties no matter what. I don’t believe my proposal violates any.

          The internet is also apparently being used to recruit terrorists. I am extremely wary of intrusions of privacy in that realm, but whatever legally can be done in that area (i.e., via warrants), should.

          • Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

            I don’t see how the government can monitor a mosque without violating civil liberties.

            • Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

              The typical profile is a single alienated domestic young male muslim who is influenced directly or indirectly by foreign sources. My own theory is that they are sexually frustrated losers who want a traditional muslim male-female relationship and blame our Western gender equality for their pain. This morphs into Islamic terrorism.

              • somer
                Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

                A lot of them of the al queda organised cell type are not and are highly educated – and some of the isis attackers have been organised. The Manchester bomber had a very sophisticated device. What they are not is highly educated in creative or research oriented fields. A lot also are motivated by shame because the society is pressure cooker and very shame rather than guilt oriented. If they have erred, the teaching is that all sins are wiped by violent jihad. Not only that but the jihadist reaches the highest realm of heaven there is. Plus theres so much in the Islamic world that amplifies wrongs against muslims – to point of gross distortion – and minimises other wrongs. Too much of the culture rewards “martyrdom” and vengeance.

                Only sometimes is it a lone user phenomenon. The pressure cooker family and community environment the religion sets up encourages the occasional jihadist. Such as in the Reason on Faith exmuslim website says can happen to those raised in very devout families in the west.
                “Casual Muslims can be consumed by guilt for once having had a boyfriend or girlfriend. … Blind adherence to religion later in life can be an unconscious form of repentance for indoctrinated guilt. ….In a few extreme cases, this guilt-induced repentance takes a different path. The previously non-religious ‘get religion’ and turn to terrorism. Martyrdom is seen as the ultimate repentance.”


              • Michael Fisher
                Posted June 4, 2017 at 12:22 am | Permalink

                @somer – what you’ve written rings true. The Brit Muslim suicide murderers that come to my memory are in three categories

                1] New converts who are often converted/radicalised in Brit prisons

                2] Muslims who have seriously fallen away – dropping out into drugs & petty crime. They are guilt-tripped back into an Islam POV that derides & despises everyone not of their persuasion

                3] Educated young Muslims in the by-rote non-creative streams: engineers, doctors, vets, pharmacists, business & law. My theory is these people are community/family pressured into looking at education as vocational [all about the pound notes]. They don’t follow their dreams/interests & eventually the wheels fall off – Islam fills the hole in empty lives & not-thinking-it-through is lauded as a virtue.

              • somer
                Posted June 4, 2017 at 12:56 am | Permalink

                I agree – though I think more often than drugs etc its just guilt over minor things like having had a girl/boy friend temporarily or drinking/not fasting in ramadan if they are from a religious family. Likewise “Islam fills the hole in empty lives & not-thinking-it-through is lauded as a virtue.” Especially when arriving from overseas and facing pressures of two different cultures or having to adjust to new work and everything else set and get oneself and family established from scratch – the pressures and dissappointments – which anyone could feel in such a situation. My point also is the effect of a communal guilt i.e. shame culture internalising self monitoring. Starting with the intense heaven hell indoctrination, the round the clock expected communal religious observances down to which foot to enter various rooms first, the intense self monitoring family structure complete with mahram structure and with traditions of shaming for breaking religious taboos and expectation family will be ostracised/punished by general community or clan for not enforcing sufficient standards. Of course the control of women is also internal control of the family – ensures clear kin ties – clear “islamic community” where everyone commands right and forbids wrong of everyone else and keeps separate from the non islamic.

              • Richard
                Posted June 4, 2017 at 1:10 am | Permalink

                Michael, as a former engineer I am somewhat offended by your inclusion of engineers in the “by rote non-creative streams”. If you don’t think that engineers are creative then I suggest you look at all of the technology that surrounds you in your daily life and ask yourself where it came from.

              • Posted June 4, 2017 at 4:26 am | Permalink

                Richard, si monumentum requiris, circumspice, indeed.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted June 4, 2017 at 1:37 am | Permalink

              @Richard I considered leaving out engineers because I have known a few ‘creatives’ in that broad field [civil, structural, electrical, mechanical & tens of other specialities] – problem solving is very much their game often utilising new technologies, techniques, architectures to realise what was hitherto impossible. I accept your point & I apologise.

              • somer
                Posted June 4, 2017 at 2:52 am | Permalink

                I apologise if I also insinuated engineers are not creative problem solvers and of course the key providers and applicators of technology critical to scientifically based society – and enlightenment modernity itself. Or inclined towards violent movements. I meant to say (also premise in the book referenced) the field has a high value on order and tends towards hierarchical ways of thinking (as a tendency) to solve particular problems mathematically. Of course engineering often has creative applications but it is not part of the research fields of stem that are actually significantly about changing the boundaries. The book also points out that the relevant engineers studied are highly motivated, highly valuing order and hierarchy and inclined to project faults to the west whilst frustrated by living in societies that don’t offer many opportunities (and raised in a mindset that reinforces all this).

              • barn owl
                Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

                Educated young Muslims in the by-rote non-creative streams: engineers, doctors, vets, pharmacists, business & law.

                I don’t understand your basis for this category, given the perpetrators of the most recent attacks in the UK. Khalid Masood (Westminster attack) dropped out of secondary school, and had a record of drug offenses and imprisonment for GBH. His “career” was teaching English at a foreign language school in Luton. Salman Abedi (Manchester bombing) dropped out of Salford University and didn’t seem to have regular employment either. We don’t know anything about the London Bridge terrorists as yet, and probably won’t for some time (given the information leaks that were potentially problematic for the Manchester investigation).

                Rather than diss respectable professions that many find interesting and rewarding (not just monetarily), why not look at another factor: a significant proportion of these terrorists had recently traveled to countries such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Libya before returning to the UK or to other European countries. That should have sent up a lot of red flags, IMO – why were they allowed to return, apparently without any sort of inquiry into their activities while abroad?

                Also, can you tell me what the “non-rote, creative” streams might be? Those offered in the curriculum at Evergreen, perhaps?

                (Sorry/not sorry for the snark, and no, I’m not offended by the profession-dissing)

              • Richard
                Posted June 5, 2017 at 3:47 am | Permalink

                Thank you, that is very gracious of you.

                Also, I apologise for my use of the word “somewhat” – I should have said that I was “micro-offended”, because I was more amused than offended. 🙂

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      In the UK here is an example of what could be done: close the diversity gap at places like GCHQ, SIS & MI5, people from the BAME communities are seriously under represented. It isn’t as bad as it was, but the old boys network is still very influential when it comes to steering the UK rusty boat.

      Same is true in the USA of course only worse unless they’ve pulled their socks up [I’m out of date] – according to WashPo, Five years after 9/11 the FBI had NO AGENTS with a limited, or better, proficiency in Arabic in the sections that coordinate investigations of international terrorism. For the whole agency the figure was…


      You would think, that if the NSA & CIA was hoovering up the available language talent [they were to an extent & business, finance the rest], that the FBI would be putting their in house staff on crash courses in Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and other languages of the ME & South Asia

      Then there’s the languages problem in schools of course

      • Tim Harris
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

        There are also the ‘faith schools’ that the Tories & Blair have been so sedulous in encouraging – something that Amartya Sen warned strongly against doing.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

          @Tim Agreed. I was looking forward to a 100% secular UK public schools system in my lifetime [no CofE, no RC,no Muslim schools] with no ‘faith based’ private schools/colleges allowed & it turns out to have been in my dreams only. The turnabout occurred mainly to get more private money into education & thus take the pressure off government funding

          Disgraceful cynicism by Tony & all the rest of those career politicians who haven’t ever had a proper job.

          Does my head in!

  13. Tom
    Posted June 4, 2017 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    As an ordinary Brit there is little I can imagine which does not involve wanting my Government to act with “extreme prejudice” as they used to say but I will eventually calm down

    • Posted June 4, 2017 at 2:14 am | Permalink

      I don’t think you should calm down.

      • claudia baker
        Posted June 4, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink


  14. Diane G.
    Posted June 4, 2017 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    RE colonialism & western guilt–I have a hard time believing there would be so many suicidal attackers if they weren’t convinced of the special status and perks they’ll get in the afterlife. I.e., if it weren’t for religion, Islam in particular.

    • Posted June 4, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Yes, Britain colonial authorities wronged also Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, but we do not see these people engaged in anti-British terror.

      The same way, when I hear about a terror act targeting Americans, I somehow do not think of native American extremists, though they have the strongest case for grievance.

      • Tim Harris
        Posted June 4, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        It may well of course be because the British are not at the moment involved in wars or in a thirst for oil in India, Burma, Ceylon and other places. And of course when one thinks of terror acts targeting Americans, one might consider the Oklahoma City bombing, as well as this:

        ‘The Anti-DDefamation League analyzed 150 terrorist acts in the United States that were committed, attempted or plotted by right-wing extremists. “More than 800 people were killed or injured in these attacks,” the ADL said, noting that the attacks “surged during the mid-to-late 1990s and again starting in 2009” — the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency.

        ‘They also looked at other acts of violence and determined that “from 2007 to 2016, a range of domestic extremists of all kinds were responsible for the deaths of at least 372 people across the country. Seventy-four percent of these murders came at the hands of right-wing extremists such as white supremacists, sovereign citizens and militia adherents.”

        ‘And, reported the ADL, the hate and terror mongers choose their marks carefully: Jews, Muslims and — the most common racial target — African Americans.’

        • Jeremy Tarone
          Posted June 4, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          Strange how these collections that are attempting to compare terrorists (by assuming the motive) always leave out one particular date and the 3000 resulting dead.

          I wonder if they are cherry picking.

        • Tim Harris
          Posted June 4, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          I think you should find out who the Anti-Defamation League are. They are, by the way, discussing domestic terrorism. The point is that Muslims are not the first culprits you should think of when you hear of terrorist acts in the USA, as is, I think, strongly suggested by a certain commentator here, but – by a large margin – white extremists.

          • Posted June 4, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

            There is a lot of counter-evidence, as explained here.

            And of course, the US is not the world. Globally, Islamist-inspired terrorism, at least in 2015, accounted for 95% of terrorist attacks.

            • Tim Harris
              Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

              I think the ADL was also aware, like you and I, that the US is not the world, because they did specify that they were talking about the US.

              • Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

                The point of the article is that even in the US, the numbers point to the more prevalent, and statistically significant, danger of Islamist-inspired terrorism. That’s the issue which has to be addressed.

              • Tim Harris
                Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

                Thank you, Dermot, for the article, which I have now read, and it seems responsibly done.

              • Posted June 4, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

                You’re welcome, Tim.

              • Tim Harris
                Posted June 4, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

                Although I think it very odd that the ADL should want to be cooking the books, as it were or cooking the unwittingly.

      • Sensible Young Man
        Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        Firstly, the nature of wrong differs greatly. It is one thing to occupy and partially develop a colony. Secondly, the capability to carry out terror differs between our case and the colonial case, it’s far easier to coordinate than it was back then. I also question your premise that Hindu’s etc. did not respond with a backlash.

        Regarding Native American extremists they have cemented their place in American society and are institutionally recognised as peoples who have suffered. And again, the wipeout occured centuries ago – I don’t think it’s an intelligent comparison to make. Do we have an Iraq day to honour those wrongly slain in the war? No we don’t, the wrongs of the war aren’t embedded formally in American or western society.

        • Posted June 4, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

          If you think that it is not intelligent to invoke century-old events, I recommend that you give an ear to the voices of Islamist ideologues (the ones that speak in or are translated to English) and you’ll find regular references to the Crusades.

          • somer
            Posted June 4, 2017 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

            Memri has numerous english translations of media from the Islamic world
            for their twitter account


            Or written report site

            AlJazeerah is funded and run by the Qatari state. They also support Hamas around the middle east. The AlJazeerah Arab version is pretty vile – not for western eyes, but the english version is mild of course, but with some critical slant re the west and israel. Mehdi Hassan – an editor of the UK version of HuffPo – from is the presenter of three Al Jazeera’s English language shows and from 2015 moved to washington to work on AlJazeeras english language current affairs discussion and analysis programme Up Front. Hassan constantly tweets things critical of western foreign and domestic policy towards Muslims. A couple of years ago the Islamic Unity Society filmed him talking in Pakistan about how Muslims have a very high standard of morality and they are way above the behaviour whilst Non-Muslims and Atheists live like Cattle, and Homosexuals are like paedophiles. They’ve since taken it down of course. Radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakr Bashir likewise described non Muslims and westerners as living like cattle because the Quran does actually say unbelievers are like cattle in their ignorance. In other places dogs and pigs. You can find a link to a copy of the video on godless spellchecker page – where it says “to animals” which goes to an “” site

        • Diane G.
          Posted June 5, 2017 at 3:37 am | Permalink

          “And again, the wipeout occured centuries ago…”

          Oh, no! Most authorities agree the Indian Wars lasted till 1924. Less than one century ago. No more than one long-lived human’s lifetime; indeed there are people alive now who were born before then.

    • colnago80
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Those 72 virgins in paradise.

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 5, 2017 at 3:16 am | Permalink

        Definitely one of–if not the–most enticing of the “perks” I was referring to. (To a certain demographic, anyway.)

  15. Posted June 4, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    I don’t think there’s any way, under the circumstances, that you can separate this event from religion.

    “One witness, Gerard, told the BBC he saw a woman being stabbed “10 or 15 times” by men shouting “This is for Allah”.

    “US President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday evening: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the UK, we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”

    I wonder how many of the religious understand that both of these are essentially invoking the same god. How much better off would we be if religion just went away?

  16. jrhs
    Posted June 4, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    May: “It’s time to say enough is enough.”

    Trump: “It’s time to stop being politically correct.”

    But… it’s been said many times before. How is being politically incorrect going to stop the problem? A crazy terrorist doesn’t cares about what others have to say.

    Well, here is one Chinese Communist’s way: mysterious disappearance of a suspected terrorist. And terrorist attacks still had happened. My point is that it’s almost impossible to solve this probem. (I do wish I am wrong.)

    • Sensible Young Man
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      This is the spectre of intervention in the Middle East haunting us. I would say it has little to do with Islam per se but is merely a correlative fact that the majority of the thousands of innocents slaughtered in the Middle East were indeed Muslim – this is an undeniable fact, each and every life has equal intrinsic value and importance, imagine Westminster or London Bridge but multiple orders of magnitude worse and orchestrated by two supposedly developed nations; this is the burden we face, and we must face it graciously lest we plant the seeds of hatred for next generations IS. In our globalised world, where physical distance is increasingly irrelevant we can no longer ransack other nations without expecting repurcussions in the future. I doubt compromising the liberty of British Muslims would do much good, I would suspect it would actually worsen the situation. And all of us know that the government poses a far greater threat to our wellbeing when unleashed than any comparatively primitive group of terrorists.

      • Dave
        Posted June 4, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        “And all of us know that the government poses a far greater threat to our wellbeing when unleashed than any comparatively primitive group of terrorists.”

        Do we? Do all of “us” know this? I suggest you speak for yourself rather than assuming that all of “us” share your opinion.

        Right now, I want the full force of the UK government’s law enforcement agencies, and if necessary, the UK military, to be “unleashed” on the people who carry out, facilitate and support these terrorist acts, whether they happen to be in the UK or abroad.

        And I think it should also be noted that the vast majority of the thousands of innocent muslims who’ve been slaughtered in the Middle East were slaughtered by their fellow muslims, not by western armies, and certainly not by teenage girls at a pop concert, or Saturday night tourists in South London.

      • somer
        Posted June 4, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        Again Iraq was a disaster and morally very wrong but the vast majority of the deaths there were muslims fighting others over sectarian differences and sometimes tribal ones. The same of other violence in Muslim lands – unless you include the Algerian war with the French in the 1950s or the french colonisation of Algeria in the 19th

        The oil has certainly assisted some things in the middle east. The population of Saudi Arabia has increased 8 fold since 1960 to 2015, of Iraq Six fold and of Iran Four fold.

        Afghanistan – The Taliban were encouraged by pakistan which always has wanted Afghanistan – admittedly divided along Durand line by the British but nonetheless containing (even without the Durand line a very large minority of non Pashtun. The US armed the mujahadin to push back the Russians – it had after all been invaded by Russia after a puppet regime which had massacred dissenting groups started to fail. America invaded after being directly attacked by the groups training and arming in Afghanistan under the explicit protection and encouragement of the government there. Maybe this was not necessary – or maybe the terrorist groups there would have produced ISIS anyway- after all Abu Musab al Zarqawi the founder of ISIS progenitor (Al Qaeda in Iraq) fought in Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden.

        The west directly inflicted about 2 million deaths in Vietnam – they still suffer from unexploded ordinance/clusterbombs/bombies. they are not sending terrorists

        Christian Phillipinos were colonised for 700 years but they aren’t sending terrorists.

        The difference? religion. The Quran and hadith – teach that Islam will dominate the world and that all muslims are one community. An affront to muslims in one part of the world is an affront to all.

        Yes the west has wronged these countries but it is not doing actual occupation and colonisation – Islamic powers have done
        400 years of Indian colonisation
        800 years (Andalusian Spain)
        500 years of Ottoman colonisation of Eastern Europe.
        200 years of Russian occupation
        Enslavement of Russians, Circassians, Africans and Western Europeans around the mediterranean (Barbary pirates of the Moors) But these don’t seem to count as colonisation or imperialism because they weren’t done by Europeans but some were done to Europeans.

    • Posted June 4, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      I am sorry to have to agree with Trump, but I think he is right. To stop being politically correct means to waive taboos and open a discussion. I discussed Brexit once with a friend of mine, who is an immigrant to Britain. She said that it is OK to complain of the Poles and other Eastern Europeans, but it is still a taboo to say that there are problems with some non-white Muslim immigrants. I think this taboo bears much of the blame for the enslavement of native girls in Rotherham and other places, and also for the Islamist terror. You can hardly solve a problem without openly talking about it.

  17. jwthomas
    Posted June 4, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Since there is no libertarian free will no one can “change” or “correct” anything. History proceeds by chance and all the “solutions” are the product of random thoughts by sleepwalkers.
    Wake up and cultivate your own gardens.

  18. Posted June 4, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    May: “It’s time to say enough is enough.”
    Trump: “It’s time to stop being politically correct.”

    And we all know how well banning Roman Catholics from mainland Britain worked during the IRA campaigns… no, wait, that idea would be so stupid even the Conservative Party failed to suggest it; and yet here we are, with world leaders getting closer to just that.

    And we all know how well refusing to enter into a dialogue with the IRA helped to mitigate that conflict. If the Labour government of Tony Blair gave us little else, it gave us Mo Mowlam as Northern Ireland Secretary; and I am thankful for that.

    I can think of no tactic – though I’m no anti-terrorist specialist – that will secure any population against a group of people who want to attack others with any weapon at their disposal, be that a motor vehicle, a knife or a blunt instrument. And the “Islamic State” is not some rigidly-defined organisation with a set of leaders that can be assassinated, a headquarters that can be discovered and bombed. It is a conglomeration of people that are obsessively driven, and feel utterly wronged by the western world – often for good reason.

    And turning Britain, and the U.S., amongst others countries, into police states, where we are at the mercy of officers who can demand “your papers” at the threat of incarceration and/or violence; suffer heavy-handed, and ill-conceived, attempts at filtering and monitoring international electronic communications; and further state-sponsored and/or tacitly acknowledged victimization of minority groups, is a road to ruin that produced Nazi Germany.

    Military reprisals may help in the short-term, they have only ever succeeded in forcing one side to sue for peace. But when we have no real target except citizens in our own midst, and the guilty surrounded by innocents in lands most of us will only see on a screen, then the collateral damage is going to be very ugly indeed. And we can watch that damage continue with the increase in bigotry, racist, and anti-[fill in whatever brand of faith you want here] attacks on streets all over the world.

    I think I have to (sadly) concur with a previous poster, that terrorist attacks, are extremely difficult to stop… even if a police state is created. Because if I found myself living in a police state, that victimized the innocent in the name of “public safety”, then I might actually start looking at the U.S. Constitution, and thinking that the right to bear arms might not have been so self-destructive after all; and thus we come full-circle in the most vicious way imaginable.

    • somer
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Yes theres limits on what can be done to prevent terrorism with a population in our midst that includes a substantial minority with extreme illiberal values unless the country ceases to be a democratic state or becomes selectively oppressive. You can’t square democracy with continuing to bring in large and ever increasing numbers of people who for the most part do not have and don’t want liberal democratic values even generations on – unless you can find some way to effectively integrate them and fast.

    • somer
      Posted June 4, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      the difference between islamic extremism and the IRA is you can’t negotiate with religion – it just wants you to convert – The IRA had clear political aims and was amenable to negotiation.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 5, 2017 at 4:03 am | Permalink

      “It [the Islamic State] is a conglomeration of people that are obsessively driven, and feel utterly wronged by the western world – often for good reason.”

      Odd, then, that they seldom mention such motives, instead claiming as imperative the creation of a new world-wide caliphate.

  19. Posted June 4, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    May says “enough is enough” and vows to overhaul counterterrorism policy. Which raises the question, given earlier attacks, if there are things that could have been done, but weren’t being done, Why? After all, she was the Home Secretary.

    • Posted June 4, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      I suppose that the measures she is hinting at are not beautiful.

  20. Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Sheesh, the toxic masculinity of those British coppers who killed the jihadists within 8 minutes of the first emergency call. (Not my joke, but chuffin’ good).

    Hashtag something or other pomo and 3rd wave.

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