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These bombers are to be condemned, but they’re not evil

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

In the wake of the London bombings, one word seems to be resonating between much of the public, much of the media, and many politicians. That word is ‘evil’. The attacks themselves were doubtlessly evil, but as far as I am concerned, the perpetrators were not.

To say that terrorists are evil is as illogical and irrational as saying bacteria are evil when they kill patients. Nobody would possibly trust a doctor who said that a patient was afflicted with ‘evil’, and we should no more trust politicians who insist on calling these bombers evil. To call them that suggests that they are an ever-present force which can never be truly and completely overcome, and immediately marks them out as ‘different’ from the rest of society, when the message to be taken away from the tragedy is that these young Muslims were not ‘different’ at all – they were normal young lads, cruelly brainwashed by expert criminals. As such, we should be viewing the radicalisation of young Muslims in this country as a major problem which needs to be tackled, not some mystical wicked force.

Many will have great difficulty in having sympathy with these killers, but it should be remembered that they are killing for irrational reasons which have been planted by expert criminals. And, what’s more, society at large has contributed to their delusional fantasies by continually alienating the Muslim community. Every time we mention terrorists who claim to follow Islam they are branded ‘Muslim terrorists’. Yet we would never dream of labelling the IRA ‘Christian terrorists’, or of characterising KKK lynchings as murders committed by ‘Christian extremists’. Similarly, the religious background of Jewish, Sikh, or Hindu terrorists wouldn’t even be worthy of mention. Clearly, the mass media have succeeded in beginning to demonise one religion and heritage in the national conscience – and now, even our Prime Minister is refusing to come out unequivocally in support of the Muslim community. Is this not exactly what happened in Germany circa 1933, and exactly what millions later fought and lost their lives to avoid?

We should not be demonising a whole religion, and calling its members ‘evil’. We should be tackling the extremists who are brain washing the young people of this country into killing themselves and others, and who are no more Muslim than William J Simmons was Christian. Perhaps I’m wrong, but if the bombers had been Christians called ‘Joe Bloggs’, ‘John Smith’, and ‘James Jones’, rather than being Muslims called ‘Shehzad Tanweer’, ‘Hasib Mir Hussain’, and ‘Mohammed Sadique Khan’, I think there would have been much more of national outcry against the people orchestrating the attacks, campaigns to educate young people against radicalisation, and – ultimately – a lot more sympathy for the bombers.

The real tragedy from these bombings is that we haven’t learned the lessons. After the attacks, Muslims are more excluded than ever, and new anti-terror laws to be introduced will almost certainly end up being enforced more against Muslim communities, further alienating them, and increasing the opportunities for criminals to radicalise the young people of these communities. Effectively, the national response to this attack is doing little more than making future attacks more likely.

The London bombers are many things. But ‘evil’ is not one of them. And until we realise that, the situation becomes more grave by the day.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Anonymous

    02.14, 17/10/2006

Dear Sir…

I stumbled upon your site quite by accident and must confess that after reading your comment concerning the “London Bombers” as to be condemned, but they are not evil is incredulous!

I know of two people in London who were on their way to do a normal days work in the city who were both affected by the bombings. One was an old friend who was on the tube train carriage which was bombed, and the other was my partner at the time, who nearly caught the bus which was blown apart.

The girl on the tube train sustained a broken arm and leg with severe hearing impairment for some days, plus the trauma of being the victim of a terrorist attack. She has made a full recovery but has due to the shock left London and does not use Public Transport whatsoever in the city.

These people, or rather “Garbage” had no thought whatsover except malice aforethought…brainwashed, I grant you, however, they had a choice…they preferred to kill others to satisfy a religion that has been bastardised, by those who have reverance and high standing, who think they know best for the populas that follow, like all religions, and ideologies the world has seen.

Interpretation and mis-interpretation, changing the rules to suit political or religious means to procure gain in some way that it changes the whole course of history and the status quo…for what…the deaths, maiming, traumatisation of innocent people…

Alienating these people, the Muslim people, I dont think so…they come to our shores, ignore and openly deride our customs and ways, do whatever the hell they like, dont speak English, bleed the social security system dry, and what’s more do not integrate well into our Western Communities with other foreign nationals…the Chinese as a race, dont go around killing people due to their religous and ideological beliefs in the 21st century do they? Certainly not in London anyway or on these shores…

Budha said that all men have a choice in the way they act and behave towards each other…If I offend one man then it is his choice to become offended…sticks and stones analogy.

Muslims are getting far too much media attention, I think there should be a complete media stop on all this bullshit going around about “Poor Mohammed Muslim”…she cant wear the head gear…if we go to their countries we have to abide by their customs and rules, or we have to get the hell out…they operate a multicultural society there dont they!!!

You do as they say or you get the shit battered out of you or beheaded…Go take at look at how these backward, savages operate in their own country…want some horror in your life…well check out http://www.ogrish.com. That’s whats really happening, and these scumbags are playing these “Death-Tape” recordings here in the U.K. and rejoycing in the Mosques…what sort of a society lets that happen…The Police, MI5, and other Special Agencies that operate should be given absolute power to go into search Mosques…these breeding grounds for preaching religious, political terror…

We are way too soft on these people…you want to live here, then you do as we say, or get the fuck out of our country within 24hrs…you kill us…we kill you…eye for an eye. They want mass murder…we can do that too by burning their Mosques down and slaughtering them. You want a religious war…you got one!

And as far as the “Lessons” are concerned, they are all educated enough to know wrong from right, especially if they were raised on the Western State system…which we and our fathers and grandfathers paid for…I have no sympathy for them whatsoever…they are a disgrace to humanity and should be exterminated off the face of the earth

I wonder Sir if you are a true British subject, who’s side are you really on…are you one of the new generation of “Blairite-P.C. Do Gooder’s”? Would you feel differently if friends, family were casualties of this attrocity, or would you calmly wave it off and just say we had it coming, then feel sorry for the Bastards that did it?

I never used to be like this, and certainly not racesist, but when your friends and loved ones are caught in their barbaric, fanatical bullshit religion…No one will stop me from recompense.

Simon Turner

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    21.26, 18/10/2006

I’m sorry to hear about your friends, and I’m glad that they’re recovering. As I said, the acts committed against them were undoubtedly evil.

We clearly have different views on immigration, but I’m not sure I understand your point when you say “the Chinese as a race, dont go around killing people due to their religous and ideological beliefs in the 21st century do they?”. Of course, they don’t in this country as a rule, but their homeland is hardly a model of freedom and democracy. But that’s by-the-by.

I think you forget that the London bombers were born and brought up here in England. They were British. They were not foreign nationals. They were amongst the 2% of people in this country who happen to believe in a particular incarnation of God, but they were, nevertheless, English.

You call yourself ‘Anglo-Saxon’. In 5AD, it was the Saxons who invaded our green and pleasant land, and in that sense ‘Anglo-Saxons’ are no more English than, say, the Romans who arrived only fifty years later, or the Normans who invaded over 1,000 years later. Our very culture is built on the fabric of other cultures, so in that context, your stance on immigration is, perhaps, anything but English.

The reason I say that the bombers are not ‘evil’ is that to label them as such absolves them, and society, of responsibilty. You say they had a choice and chose the wrong option – True. If they were ‘evil’, then they had no choice but to do the ‘evil’ thing. We need to look at why they chose to do the wrong thing – you clearly have your own theories, which I personally do not agree with, but the very fact that you can see reasons behind their choice demonstrates that they were not evil – they were human, with the human concious, and yet chose to do something evil. If we merely say they did it because they were evil, then we get nowhere, learn nothing, make no changes, and leave ourselves open to further attacks.

As my regular readers will testify, I’m anything but Blairite, and I don’t think my position would be any different if my friends or family had been involved.

Clearly you have strong opinions to which you are entirely entitled, and with your quite horrific experiences, I don’t want you to think that I’m trying to change your mind. I just felt that I had to respond to your comments, and explain my position.

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2nd July 2007.

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sjhoward.co.uk » Why terrorists aren’t ‘evil’

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