There are some interesting aspects to the attack on Russell Square. For example, I am strongly sympathetic to the idea that someone who barely lived in an Islamic culture, spending their time in Norway and the UK instead is not a person I would naturally assume to have acted ideologically, however, I do not – as is usual for white male individualists – have strong feelings toward my biological origins, and I am sure others do. I lack the perspective to say for sure that an ethnic Somali would not self-identify with Somali culture, in which Islam plays a significant role. Also, I have not yet heard anything said about who raised the perpetrator.
Of course, white males do convert to Islam and non-White Western males are at least as likely to do so.
In addition, I do not think that where a person (any person) is both mad and religious that we ought to disregard their religious positions. After all, are we not also told not to assume that people are violent just because they suffer from illnesses that have made others violent? It seems to me that being mad and being a totalitarian-Muslim both have a relationship with one’s propensity to kill, and in both cases that does not all go one way for any individual. I have certainly met mentally ill people and Islamic people rendered less violently inclined for both reasons (although I have not met any Muslims of a totalitarian disposition for whom I would extend that courtesy).
Aside from issues of interpretation, there are questions of fact. Did the police engage a mental health professional before suggesting publicly that mental illness was a factor? Also, the police making such a public statement has the potential to undermine a trail, and in the event mental illness is not a supportable defence would a verdict have been endangered? It is certainly inconsistent for the police to rush to such judgements and that inconsistency leaves them open to accusations of political motivation with respect to their statements, as does the notable omission of the perpetrator’s name.
Of course, none of the above adds any real clarity, but does also mean it is fair game for people such as Razi G to make their own minds up elsewhere in this blog.
LATER: details of the suspect are in the Standard.