You have to laugh. Two men who’ve admitted to trying to go abroad to fight jihad had to buy copies of Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies before their glorious mission. Shouldn’t the publishers cash in by publishing a Jihad for Dummies? It would sell like hotcakes.
The young chaps, Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed, are off to jail for a while, but to paraphrase Bill Hicks, I don’t think we’ve lost any cancer curers here.
But they are far from being Britain’s stupidest jihadis. This country, which is at the cutting edge of social trends in pioneering the Reverse Flynn Effect, seems to produce an enormous number of very thick Islamists. I know there are some dunces in the world of jihad, such as the suicide bomb instructor in Iraq who accidentally killed his entire class, but Britain must be a world leader.
There was the Birmingham gang convicted last year, the leader of which, Irfan Naseer aka ‘Chubbs’, wrote on his Friends Reunited Page, ‘Oh yah i’m also a terrorist hahahaha’. Chubbs, being British, was also grossly obese, weighing a hefty 23 stone, so presumably al-Qaeda would have had to invent a special new XXL suicide belt for him.
His co-conspirator Ashik Ali was caught on microphone telling his wife that they were like the Four Lions but ‘one man short’. Indeed – the group also bought the bomb-making materials on eBay under the username ‘terrorshop’. Perhaps the funniest thing is that, having raised £14,500 by fraud, they then lost £9,000 on currency speculation on the euro.
Or there were the July 21 bombers, who tried, and failed, to kill dozens of people on the underground largely because the brains of the operation, Muktar Said Ibrahim, who got an F in maths at his London comprehensive, screwed up the formula involved in making the bomb.
Then there was another Brum gang who tried to ignite some sort of Ulster-style war by attacking an English Defence League rally, but turned up 2 hours late. There but for the grace of God and the stupidity of man.
And let’s not forget Richard Reid, the shoe bomber who tried to blow up an aeroplane with some matches, it never occurred to him that he might be better off using the toilet and maybe a lighter. Or there was the Underpants bomber, London University student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to down a plane on the way to Detroit, only for his pants to burst in flames. Genius.
There is even a Northern Irish jihadi now, Eamon Bradley from Derry, who turned his back on a life of drugs and crime when he found God, and credits Islam with saving his life; although as he’s in the middle of an insane holy war, I imagine his life expectancy would have been higher if he’d stayed in Derry taking acid. I know religion can rescue people from drugs but couldn’t he have found Zen Buddhism or something?
Still, as much as the jihadis live a life of internecine violence and clannish grudge-bearing, are they really prepared for the Irish?
Of course these people are only funny as long as they continue to screw up, and I won’t be laughing when one of their shinbones lands in my face on the Tube. But as much as radical Islam is a deadly threat, my main feeling towards some of the young and not very intelligent men who latch on to this fantasy is pity. Although a minority are spoilt rich kids with nothing better to do, most are confused and angry products of globalisation, their parents having been brought over to take low-paid and low-skilled jobs in countries that were totally alien to them and troubling for their kids; a world offering too many confusing and contradictory messages about how to live. No wonder they latch onto the comfort of certainty offered by holy war.