Facts of ‘terrorist’ killings are clear but our society is divided by the meaning

Dec 5, 2019 by

by Gavin Ashenden:

Islam has three political strategies; immigration, population and violence. Reflections on Usman Khan..

There is a well-known doctrine in Islam called Taqiyya. It’s the principle that should some deceit further Islam’s interest, you have a duty to deceive. It looks tragically as though Usman Khan was pretending that had been de-radicalised, when in fact, as his killing spree indicated he hadn’t. But he had deceived a number of people on the way.

If that’s true, it makes Jack Merritt’s death doubly tragic. His poor father, desperate to honour his dead son’s memory, asked the politicians not to use his son’s murder in their political campaigns as a political football. But, that wasn’t going to happen. It didn’t happen; it couldn’t happen.

The facts of last week’s ‘terrorist’ murders in London are clear and beyond any kind of dispute. But their meaning divides our society just as grievously as Brexit, or the election campaign.

We find that we have to make decisions about the programmes that offer the rehabilitation of offenders. We have to make judgments about human nature; and we have to decide if Islam is just one religion amongst many, or unique in how it sees itself and what it is setting out to achieve.

The rehabilitation of offenders is the easiest and least offensive of the three questions. The work that Jack Merritt and his Cambridge colleagues set out to do was wholly admirable. Those of us who have met, befriended and even admired people who have fallen through the social net feel passionately about giving people a second chance. Everyone ought to be given a second chance.

But are there any limits? The very press that has been praising the work of the Cambridge rehabilitation programme and its reaching out to Muslim terrorists has gone strangely silent over James Ford.

If you watched any of the video footage on social media, James Ford was the last man to be dragged off Usman Khan. Ford was incredibly brave. He too was an ex con. But some years ago, he had killed Amanda Champion, a vulnerable young woman with learning difficulties. Now Ford seems to have disappeared from the public narrative. There is nothing romantic and no victimhood attaching to that kind of murder. But he too was part of the well intentioned rehabilitation programme. No one is now asking how his heart and mind have been changed by the programme.

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