Getting off the Conveyor Belt to Terror ; Human Being to Human Bomb: Inside the Mind of a TerroristBy Russell Razzaque

By Cohen, Nick | The Evening Standard (London, England), February 25, 2008 | Go to article overview
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Getting off the Conveyor Belt to Terror ; Human Being to Human Bomb: Inside the Mind of a TerroristBy Russell Razzaque


Cohen, Nick, The Evening Standard (London, England)


THE pint-drinking, girl-chasing world of student life bewildered the young Russell Razzaque. He and fellow Muslims from traditional families clung to each other "like children lost in a shopping mall" as they tried to come to terms with moving from well-ordered homes into the confusion of wider society.

Fortunately, or so it seemed, his central London college had an Islamic Society, 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 his parents' religion as the beer drinking contests in the student bar. It was a front for Hizb-ut-Tahrir, whose militants instructed the young that it was their duty to fight for Khilafah the Caliphate and create a theocratic tyranny.

He had never before heard of the Caliphate, at his mosque or at home. He got out of Hizb's clutches in 1989, although they pursued him for months, and got on with his training to become a psychiatrist.

After 9/11, his student days came back to him. The newspapers and television were suddenly full of talk of the Caliphate as journalists struggled to understand the ideology of men who would murder without limit.

Razzaque resolved to use his professional knowledge to understand why some people who stepped on the conveyor belt which ends with crimes against humanity got off, as he did, while others stayed on to their rendezvous with slaughter.

This occasionally brilliant if often infuriatingly parochial book is the result. Razzaque looks hard at the 9/11 and 7/7 bombers and produces a compelling portrait of the terrorists' psychology..

Most of the murderers he studies did not come from excessively religious families. On the contrary, their parents were usually secular and determined that their sons should succeed in conventional careers.

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