July 14, 2005


2 youths, British to core (Lizette Alvarez, JULY 14, 2005, The New York Times)

In many ways, the two youngest suspected suicide bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, and Hasib Hussain, 19, were British to the core, shaped by the diverse, rough, working-class neighborhood where they lived, where flashy cars, petty teenage battles and designer clothes jostle with the Muslim values of work, family and religion.

But in the past year or two, friends said, they noted a turn toward Muslim piety, nothing shocking or obnoxious, just plain to see.

Tanweer, a university-educated cricket fanatic who also excelled in soccer and whose father ran a profitable fish-and-chips shop, had taken to praying five times a day, something his family did not do, and attending a number of different mosques on a regular basis, people who knew him said.

He even took a trip to Pakistan last year to visit family and pursue religious studies.

"He went to Pakistan," said a friend who works at a local greengrocer in Beeston and asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisals.

"But a lot of people go to Pakistan. So? The lads used to tease him that he was going there to get married. I think he went for six weeks or something."

Forensic evidence indicates that Tanweer was on the subway train at the Aldgate bombing.

Hussain, a bright student who graduated from Matthew Murray vocational school in 2003, also began to shake off Western habits, even more abruptly than his friend Tanweer.

A tall, shy teenager, Hussain, who lived in Holbeck, not far from Tanweer, had taken up with a rough Pakistani crowd during his high school years, the kind who thought nothing of brawling with the white kids over girls and slights.

He was described by classmates as having been relatively docile, until instigated.

Then, 18 months ago or so, he went on the hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. When he came back, he was changed; he had grown mellow and keenly interested in religion. He began going to mosque. Sometimes, he even wore flowing baggy Pakistani pants and top.

The adults around him, concerned he was veering out of control, seemed pleased enough. He told his mother he was going off to London with friends for a few days, but on Thursday evening, when he failed to turn up, his panic-stricken mother called the police to report him missing. That phone call would help the police break open the case.

Attacker 'was recruited' at terror group's religious school (GETHIN CHAMBERLAIN, 7/14/05, The Scotsman)
ONE of the suicide bombers who struck in London was probably recruited when he attended a religious school in Pakistan with strong links to al-Qaeda and its south-east Asian offshoot, Jemaah Islamiyyah, The Scotsman can reveal.

Security sources in Pakistan are investigating a tip-off that Shehzad Tanweer attended a religious school run by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) during a recent visit to the country. The group's founder has publicly stated that he believes suicide bombing to be the "best form of jihad [holy war]".

The revelation came as Pakistan claimed that it helped thwart a terrorist attack in Britain before the May general election, and that its intervention led to arrests in several countries. However, Pakistani authorities refused to comment on reports that the UK was seeking access to Zeeshan Siddiqu, a 25-year-old British national arrested in May near Peshawar.

Suicide bombers who had it all to live for (STEPHEN MCGINTY, 7/14/05, The Scotsman)
WITH row after row of red brick, terrace houses, abandoned gardens and graffitied walls Beeston is a curious crucible in which Britain's first suicide bombers were forged.

Shehzad Tanweer, Hasib Mir Hussain, both from sink estate in Leeds, and Mohammed Sadique Khan, who grew up here, have forever tarnished the reputation of a city whose most recent export has been mass murder.

About 16,000 people live in Beeston, many from different ethnic backgrounds. Some people blamed the area for offering teenagers few opportunities and said it was forcing them to turn to fundamentalist teachings.

The plight of a community caught up in the dark, apocalyptic dreams of the religiously deluded, was summed up best by the uncle of 22-year-old Tanweer. Bashir Ahmed said: "The family is shattered and embarrassed. They cannot believe it. He did not seem desperate or extreme or capable of doing this." [...]

Muslim elders insist there was no radical preaching in the area. In fact, the imam at the mosque has said he was horrified to learn of the bombings. At last Friday's prayers Mumir Shah said: "I told worshippers that this cannot be good. We are brothers because of Abraham. Our message is one of peace and friendship."

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 14, 2005 12:00 AM

Not one mention of a girlfriend for any of these chaps. Proves my theory that a decent even somewhat mutually respectful relationship with a sexy woman will keep most men out of serious trouble.

Posted by: Shelton at July 14, 2005 12:08 PM

A society bent on saving itself would identify, kidnap, and "deprogram" these kids.

If it didn't take...

"The Farm" a la "Boy and his dog"


Is anyone compiling a database of Mosque locations?

Posted by: BB at July 14, 2005 6:45 PM

Hmmm, if there was 'no radical preaching' (not necessarily in mosques, although I am skeptical of the honesty of that imam), then how did these guys get recruited?

If a teenager knows where to go to sign up to bomb trains, then everybody else in the community at least has an idea of where he found the door.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at July 17, 2005 4:37 PM


Posted by: oj at July 17, 2005 5:06 PM