Byline: NICK COHEN
THE pint-drinking, girl-chasing world of student life bewildered theyoung Russell Razzaque. He and fellow Muslims from traditional families clungto each other "like children lost in a shopping mall" as they tried to come toterms with moving from well-ordered homes into the confusion of wider society.
Fortunately, or so it seemed, his central London college had an IslamicSociety, whose officers offered young Muslims a home from home. Pakistani food,soft drinks and older students anxious to be his friends were a tempting offer.
Razzaque slowly realised that the Islamic Society had as little to do with hisparents' religion as the beer drinking contests in the student bar. It was afront for Hizb-ut-Tahrir, whose militants instructed the young that it wastheir duty to fight for Khilafahthe Caliphate and create a theocratic tyranny.
He had never before heard of the Caliphate, at his mosque or at home. He gotout of Hizb's clutches in 1989, although they pursued him for months, and goton with his training to become a psychiatrist.
After 9/11, his student days came back to him. The newspapers and televisionwere suddenly full of talk of the Caliphate as journalists struggled tounderstand the ideology of men who would murder without limit.
Razzaque resolved to use his professional knowledge to understand why somepeople who stepped on the conveyor belt which ends with crimes against humanitygot off, as he did, while others stayed on to their rendezvous with slaughter.
This occasionally brilliant if often infuriatingly parochial book is theresult. Razzaque looks hard at the 9/11 and 7/7 bombers and produces acompelling portrait of the terrorists' psychology..
Most of the murderers he studies did not come from excessively religiousfamilies. On the contrary, their parents were usually secular and determinedthat their sons should succeed in conventional careers. …