To discuss whats happening in the Muslim world and what can we do about it.
Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Mass murderers have one thing in common - and it's not a 'women's problem'
One night last week, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel deliberately drove a lorry into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the seafront in Nice. Eighty-four people died, including 10 children. The terrorist organisation Isil claimed responsibility for the attack but French investigators have not disclosed any direct evidence of a link.
What has emerged in the days since, is Bouhlel’s undisputed history of domestic abuse. "He beat his wife, my cousin, he was a nasty piece of work’" said a relative of his estranged spouse. Similar stories emerged last month after Omar Mateen murdered 49 people at gay club Pulse in Orlando. His ex-wife claimed that he beat her and denied contact with her family and friends during the four months they lived together. She was rescued by relatives, who she says literally dragged her from his arms.
A third would-be jihadist, Man Haron Monis, was on bail after being charged with more than 40 counts of sexual assault when he took hostages in a coffee shop in Sydney in December 2013. Monis was also charged with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, who had been stabbed 18 times and set alight in the stairwell of an apartment block. Monis and two of his hostages died when the siege was ended by armed police.
These ‘lone wolf’ attacks are a nightmare for the police and intelligence services, who are more used to tracking groups of young men in contact with known jihadists, or who have returned from Syria. Men who are planning attacks apparently out of the blue are harder to detect, which is why the common factor of domestic abuse is so important. In each case, these mass attacks on strangers appear to represent an escalation of violent impulses they liberally indulged at home until their wives (understandably) left them.
Crucially, it links them to other mass killers who don’t try to dress up their murderous rage as a political act. It's important to spell out: this isn't an issue focused on those with Muslim backgrounds. Violence against family members and deep-rooted misogyny have been implicated in several of the worst mass shootings in the US, including the school massacre in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, in December 2012.
When Adam Lanza opened fire on teachers and children as young as six, he had already left his mother dead in bed at home. Nancy Lanza, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, was shot four times in the face by her son, offering a shocking glimpse into his matricidal fury.
Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in California two years ago, made no secret about his seething hatred of women in a video he left behind. Rodger stabbed and shot his victims, as well as hitting several people with his car before killing himself. "I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you all for it," he declared on film. "You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male."
Islamist terror groups offer young men with a record of petty crime an opportunity to re-invent themselves first as victims and then as holy warriors. They are exploiting men who flatly refuse to come to terms with the modern world, with results almost too horrific to contemplate.
Other angry men don’t even bother to claim an ideology, but the link between domestic violence and acts of inhumane political terrorism can no longer be ignored.