Wednesday, July 27, 2005

'He told me he was going to get 80 virgins'

The Independent has delved into the background of Yasin Hassan Omar and Muktar Said Ibrahim, the two young men who are now wanted for last week's failed bombings in London. A disturbing picture of double-lives and hypocrisy emerges.

On the one hand we have fiercely loyal followers of radical Islam:

Said Ibrahim was also reported to have grown a beard and to have begun wearing traditional dress. A neighbour of Ibrahim, Sarah Scott, age 23, who lives two doors down from the Stanmore home Ibrahim used to live with his parents, described a conversation they had last November. "We were standing outside our houses chatting. He asked me if I was religious and I said I did not believe in anything. He said I should. He told me he was going to get 80 virgins when he got to heaven if he praised Allah.

"He smiled and laughed as he said it, then he gave me this book about Islam and told me to read it.

On the other hand, we have a couple of regular western guys:

At Curtis House, the two men joined others in regular trips to the park. Vance Noor, 18, who lives in an adjoining housing block, said: "The two guys would come out every Sunday. It was always around the same time ­ 4pm to 7pm. They were part of a group of about 11 Somalis who used to come out to play [football].

"They didn't have sports clothes ­ they wore jeans and T-shirts but they did have football boots. They just seemed to be normal guys. They were friendly but didn't talk much beyond that. We just knew them as regular guys. They weren't that good at football though."

Interestingly enough, there were other western activities that the boys did seem to be good at:

One local shop owner said Omar had tried to steal food and was "always looking for ways to make money". Another witness said Said Ibrahim could be regularly seen outside Arnos Grove Tube station, some four minutes walk from Curtis House, smoking marijuana.

Not very becoming for a devout follower of Islam. Terrorists have a word for this. They call it "assimilation". I call it "having your cake and eating it too".