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Trying to reform jihadists is straight out of Evelyn Waugh

Trying to reform jihadists is straight out of Evelyn Waugh

United Kingdom (UK)
News Date: 
Sharia Watch

Evelyn Waugh specialised in black comedy – and the London Bridge incident was, as I say, tragedy. But there is a read-across from one to the other which makes the 90-year-old novel worth re-reading. I would make three points.

One is that the search for redemption among prisoners is a profoundly good task, but the facts suggest that most criminals do not achieve it. (Or if they do, it is by the mercy of God, not through well-meaning courses.) So a certain caution is warranted.

The second is that the motivation of terrorist prisoners, especially those driven by a weird version of religious duty, is radically different from the motivation of what the Royal Ulster Constabulary used jokingly to call “ordinary, decent criminals”. They do not kill because it is convenient or fun or a way of earning money, but because they think it is right.

The third is that Islamist terrorism regards deceit as a legitimate weapon of jihad, whether in terms of propaganda, or of fooling kind people who want to help you, or of literally hiding a knife up your sleeve.