Why did they do it?

2006-07-06 14:46
London - A year ago, four young British Muslims blew themselves up in a murderous suicide attack on London's transport system. Here is a summary of their background and motives:

Background

Three of the men, Mohammad Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, and Hasib Hussain all grew up in the Beeston area of Leeds.

Khan, 30, was a teaching assistant at a local primary school working with special-needs children. He was said to have a real talent for working with young people and was highly regarded.

Tanweer, 22, did well at school and went on to study sports science at Leeds Metropolitan University. He was also a gifted sportsman and played cricket for the local team.

Hussain, 18, left school with a few GCSEs at grade C and below. He was quiet at school but was remembered for his large physique and had lost five stone before taking part in the attacks.

Jermaine Lindsay, 19, was born in Jamaica and moved to Huddersfield with his mother. He was said to be successful academically and good at sport. He converted to Islam in 2000 shortly after his mother did. Afterwards his behaviour was said to have changed and he was disciplined at school for handing out leaflets in support of al-Qaeda.

Why did they do it?

There were very few signs of extremism from any of the three Leeds bombers.

In 2001 Khan was said to be serious about religion but spoke out against the 9/11 attacks at his school.

Tanweer was also said to have taken religion seriously from an early age but was said to have been calm and friendly. From mid-2002 he became more focused on religion but no one around him noticed strict religious observance turning to extremism.

Hussain, who once wrote "Al-Qaeda No Limits" on a book at school, was open about his support for the group but did little else to attract attention. He took to wearing traditional Muslim clothing and reading religious texts after undertaking a Hajj visit to Saudi Arabia with his family in early 2002.

Lindsay was believed to have been strongly influenced by an extremist preacher Abdallah al Faisal who was jailed for encouraging his followers to commit murder.

Motivation

The government has offered little explanation as to the group's motivation.

A video statement by Khan, aired two months after the bombings, said this:
"Until we feel secure, you will be our targets. Until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture ... we will not stop this fight. We are at war and I am a soldier."

He also referred to Osama bin Laden and the slain al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, Musab al-Zarqawi as "heroes".

Home secretary John Reid said their motivation was anger at what they perceived to be injustice committed against Muslims around the world and a desire for martyrdom.

Were they directed from abroad?

Khan and Tanweer both visited Pakistan between November 2004 and February 2005. Khan is thought to have received some form of training there.

He is also thought to have had training in a remote part of Pakistan in July 2003, and it is believed he had visited Pakistan and Afghanistan on other occasions from the late 1990s.

The police have concluded there is no evidence to suggest they were directed by al-Qaeda or had any support from the organisation, although the nature of the bombings was typical of attacks carried out by the group.

It is also unclear whether other groups of individuals in the UK were involved in radicalising or helping the bombers in any way. No person has been charged in connection with the attacks.

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