Thursday, March 15, 2007

Excusing a Terrorist

Reuters carried this unconscionable headline yesterday:

DOUAR ESCUELA, Morocco (Reuters) - Neighbors of a Moroccan suspected suicide bomber portray him as a religious man who tried in vain to lift his family out of poverty after his release from a prison term for membership of a militant group.

But no one in this fly-blown Casablanca slum raided overnight by police was able to explain why Abdelfattah Raydi detonated a belt of explosives in an Internet cafe on Sunday night, blowing himself to pieces and wounding four people.

The Moroccan government said the blast was a terrorist act, reflecting concerns around north Africa that political violence is spreading from Algeria, where Islamist groups have stepped up a bombing campaign inspired by al Qaeda.


"We are all poor here but Raydi's family is the poorest and their situation is the hardest to endure," said one woman.

She like other Neighbors asked to not be named, explaining that local government officials might mistake their sympathy for Raydi's family as support for radical Islamists.

Security officials said Raydi embraced an uncompromising version of Islam that permits political violence. They suspect him of becoming a foot soldier for al Qaeda in north Africa.

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