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Anorak | After Parsons Green, sympathy for the bombers

After Parsons Green, sympathy for the bombers

by | 18th, September 2017

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“Is THIS the Tube bucket bomber?” (Daily Star). Or to put it another way, “ON HIS WAY TO BOMB TUBE?” (The Sun). Or “Is this the Bucket Bombed On Way To Tube?” (Daily Express). To which the answer is ‘Dunno, is it?’

All that cash once earmarked for pre-Leveson shag ‘n’ tells could to be used to investigate jihadis in our midst. But the big-budget tabloids are content with playing catch-up. So around a grainy photo of a figure dressed in a grey tracksuit carrying a Lidl shopping bag in Sunbury-on-Thames, we get to wonder if he’s the one who placed a bomb at Parsons Green station. And, of course, we don’t know what to make of the video caught on a homeowner’s CCTV. We also don’t know why a homeowner in leafy Surrey is filming the street. Is it a dangerous area?

The Express has more on the attack over pages 4 and 5. Two men have been arrested. One arrived in the UK when he was 15, having “fled” Iraq. He was fostered by Penelope Jones and Ronald Jones. The other man is 21. He’s an Iraqi refugee also once cared for by the Joneses. The couple’s neighbour says the lad “wanted to leave home”. Well, job done. Another neighbour says the 18-year-old “seemed a really nice chap”. But he “seemed to be up at unusual hours”. In the Mail, however, he’s a “tearaway” who “was held by police just two weeks ago at Parsons Green station”. The Mirror hears him called “out of control”.

In other news, the terror threat has been reduced from ‘critical’ to “severe”. Just two weeks ago, it was at ‘Armageddon’, what with North Korean threats and Hurricane Irma. We live in hyperbolic times.

Think Of The Children

In the Sun, we get to know the name of the 21-year-old suspect. He’s Yahyah Farroukhm who was pinched at Aladdins [sic] Fried Chicken in Hounslow, West London, not far from his home in Stanwell, which is within inhaling distance of Heathrow Airport. At the time of his arrest, Farroukh was carrying a Kitkat and a drink can, which he dropped. The Mail says he has posted about his passion for smoking weed and anti-Israel images. But if those interests mark your out as a jihadi, then so much the worst for snowflake students and the hard-Left, although neither of those groups would be seen dead with a high-sugar KitKat.

Only in the Mail do we see the story couched as an asylum issue. “Council struggle to cope with influx” of “thousands of troubled teenagers” says the paper. It counts them all: a “staggering 4,2010 asylum-seeking juveniles” in council care across Britain”. The Mail says this is not to say they are all nutcases, just to highlight how many “vulnerable” children could “fall prey to radicalisation”.

A few words from some loon on the internet, and the normal, caring lad morphs into a mass murderer. Well, so goes the narrative. What it misses, of course, is the bit about what draws people towards radical and violent Islam? Why do they think it’s a worthy cause?

Frank Furedi:

Policymakers and the media continually refer to young Muslims as ‘vulnerable to radicalisation’. The term ‘vulnerability’ suggests passivity, powerlessness and gullibility. It suggests, in short, that those called vulnerable lack the intellectual resources necessary to cope with challenges. No doubt there are some weak and confused individuals drawn towards the jihadist subculture. But the reality is that most people who travel to Syria, for example, do so because they are inspired by a cause they believe is worth fighting for. Often such individuals show a capacity for planning, dissimulation, inventiveness and, above all, initiative.

The idea of vulnerability invokes individual characteristics that are often the very opposite to those actually possessed by people making the risky voyage to the Middle East. Contrary to the myth of vulnerability, these young people are – albeit misguidedly – attempting to exercise a measure of agency over their life.

If the would-be killer is so vulnerable – groomed by sick adults – is he recast from perpetrator to victim? It’s not terrorism. It’s child abuse. And how can the vulnerable be protected? The Mail says we should clamp down on Google and all that easy-to-reach knowledge. Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP, agrees. “The internet giants have made it much harder for people to find child abuse images online,” she says. “It’s time they showed the same commitment to tackling terrorism.” See images of child rape and become a paedophile, goes the thinking? See instructions on bomb making and blow up the London Underground. To see is to download and do.

The terrorists will never win, comes the declaration. But if their aim is to reduce our hard-won freedoms and make us distrustful of adults, then the enemy is having some success.



Posted: 18th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink