The worthy gent in this cartoon, from the Manawatu Standard of September 23, 2011, is Murray McCully — New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister. No doubt he will also express sadness over the death, announced today, of another New Zealand soldier in Afghanistan. The soldier, who has not yet been named, is the fourth to die as a result of the Government’s foolish decision to support the American imperial adventure in that country.
Jim Veitch (Standard, September 14) suggests our social welfare services and our MMP electoral system, which supposedly fosters a feeling of inclusion, are two of the three factors that help to prevent immigrants from turning to terrorism. The third factor, apparently, is the immigrants’ exemplary “patience” as they wait to fully enjoy the good life.
Many readers of Dr Veitch’s reported words will assume he is referring mainly to Muslim immigrants — a tiny number of whom have, indeed, committed terrorist acts in other Western countries. But if we look at one of the worst terrorist incidents — the London bombings of July 7, 2005 — we find that the four terrorists involved were far from being impoverished misfits.
After a year-long investigation, MI5 found little evidence that any of them were economically or socially alienated in significant ways, Robert Pape says in Islam Daily. “Mohammad Khan, the leader, was a mentor at a primary school with an exemplary employment record. Shezhad Tanweer drove his own red Mercedes to work in one of his father’s several businesses and was a trophy-winning cricket player. Another was known for going to night clubs and talking about girls and cars. None had a history of outbursts or violence, or other signs of significant opposition to British life.”
Pape, one of the authors of Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It, continues: “What they did share was deep anger at Western occupation of kindred Muslim populations.”
In his “martyr video”, Khan said: “Your … governments continuously perpetuate (sic) atrocities against my people all over the world. Until we feel security, you will be our targets.”
I suggest that, in our analysis of the causes of terrorism, we pay less attention to academic theories and more attention to what the terrorists themselves are telling us.
(One sentence omitted in the published version below.)