The moment I heard about the knife attack just behind the British Museum, and before the attacker’s identity was revealed, I sensed that somehow Norwegians were involved.
Sitting on huge oil reserves, those smug Norsemen aren’t satisfied with being the world’s sixth richest country. They also want to commit acts of terrorism all over the world, and specifically in Russell Square.
Then the knife-wielding murderer chose as his target a middle-aged American woman. This must have reflected the pressure Norwegians feel from the US, the world’s ninth richest country, but closing in fast.
The picture was clear in my mind, and when the police did reveal that the murderer was a Norwegian national, I toasted my soothsaying powers. The slight snag was that the killer wasn’t, shall we say, a typical Norseman.
He turned out to be Zakaria Bulhan, a Muslim Norwegian national of Somali origin. This redeemed Norwegians in my eyes, but only partly.
For, the police explained, there’s no evidence that Bulhan was “radicalised” or “motivated by terrorism”. There was evidence, however, that he was “mentally ill”. Hence he must have been motivated by his Norwegian identity. And mental illness is pandemic in Scandinavia. Just look at their suicide rate.
My facetiousness apart, we’ve heard roughly the same official mantra after just about every Muslim atrocity. God forbid we’d make a connection between Islam and terrorism. Let Norway carry the can instead.
Now I’d suggest that the urge to stab people at random is ipso facto fairly radical, unlikely to be motivated by moderation. Nor is a stabber likely to be a well-balanced individual. There exists, however, a gap between some emotional instability, which is widespread, and mental illness, which is relatively rare.
The former doesn’t override the ability to tell right from wrong; the latter may. Our police are clearly under orders to make a blanket claim of mental illness for all Muslim murderers. But what’s the truth of the matter?
Enter Parmjit Singh, Bulhan’s next-door neighbour, who has known the murderer for seven years and is willing to talk. And what do you know? Turns out the youth was “a devout Muslim”. Moreover, his ‘mental illness’ has turned out to be both a red herring and, to mix zoological metaphors, a scapegoat.
“They said he had mental health issues but that was not the boy I knew,” said Mr Singh. “The news of his mental illness is completely new, we never heard that. Honestly, I think his mental health problems are a scapegoat.”
So why did that knife see the light of day? “He wasn’t working, he was hanging around with Somalian boys and I think they had possible links to serious ISIS people – not directly, but they see all this stuff and are inspired by it.”
All that stuff Mr Singh was referring to is jihadist literature of which Bulhan was rather fond, if heaps of it found in his house are any indication.
“I think boys have put pressure on him to go there and do something,” explained Mr Singh. “He was very impressionable growing up”.
Well, this just about gets Norwegians off the hook, as far as I’m concerned. And puts us all firmly on it.
Our police diligently pursue anyone guilty of looking at child porn (the only sexual perversion singled out for opprobrium), while being completely lackadaisical about ‘all this stuff’ that incites ‘impressionable’ young Muslims to murder.
Without in any way justifying that sort of voyeurism, one could still suggest that jihadist literature presents the greater danger. The experience of the last 1,400 years shows that many young Muslims are impressionable enough to heed the murderous message and do what the founder of their creed did with so much gusto.
Any sensible government would realise that its main, not to say only, legitimate function is to protect its people. This is one duty about which there can be no ‘yes, but…’ And there’s only one possible answer to the question of how far a government should go in pursuit of this objective: as far as it takes. Whatever works.
Mass internment and deportation may be necessary if other measures fail. These may include tagging all Muslims, shutting down every mosque or community centre in which one jihadist word has ever been uttered, stopping Muslim immigration, dispersing Muslim ghettos inundating our cities, withdrawing citizenship from any Muslim disseminating jihadists literature, punishing those who read it, prohibiting such Muslim symbols as the burqa, outlawing any practice of Sharia law – you name it. Whatever works.
Above all, the point must be communicated in no uncertain terms that our enemies aren’t jihadists, extremists, Islamic fundamentalists or even Norwegians. It’s Islam that’s waging war on us, and we must fight back.
The operating words there are ‘sensible government’. Alas, our government isn’t sensible, it’s modern. Its metaphysical premises won’t allow it to take physical measures along the lines I mentioned. To paraphrase the old saying, what would Mrs Merkel say?
So let’s brace ourselves for more ‘impressionable’ youths, all mentally ill and non-radicalised Muslims, with hatred in their hearts and weapons in their hands. Let’s follow Hollande’s advice and learn to live with terrorism. And die by it.