The spate of failed bomb attempts in the last week, and rumours circling through the intelligence community of a 'hot summer' have put terrorism right in front of us on our breakfast tables again.
In amongst the same old talking heads, saying the same old things on Newsnight last night as they discussed exactly WHY suicide bombers are queueing up to be blown to shreds, I heard a very interesting comment from a Muslim spokesman, whose name I only heard once - Hassam Butt(sp?)...I really can't vouch for the spelling of his surname, as I only heard it once at the end.
Anyway, Hassam drew everyone's attention to the fact that, contrary to conventional wisdom, these 'home grown' bombers aren't going to their deaths with a grudge or as a protest. These are not disgruntled, 'disconnected' outcasts from the western world (in fact, the latest batch appear to have qualified doctors amongst their number) they are in fact very normal, largely content with their host nation and with no major axe to grind. One might even go as far as to say, they're not even particularly fussed over Palestine, nor any more anti-war than most other people in the UK, nor are they frothing at the mouth to convert us Infidels to Islam...
Nope...none of that....that's at best, incidental. The curious point Hassam made was that it's not anger, or conviction, or protest that's making them do this...it's sheer joy.
His point was (and to be fair to him, I'm not directly quoting), that at some level in the Islamic community, clerics are convincing young men that sacrificing your life this way will put you directly on the express elevator to Heavan. And I suspect, Heavan is pitched to these susceptible young men as sounding very much like some kind of Ultra-Exclusive, members-only Club 18-30 holiday resort.
These guys, Hassam said, aren't going to their deaths with a sombre face, and a parting tear-filled curse at this evil world, instead, they're grinning like cheshire cats, like over-sugared and over-excited kids clambering aboard Disneyland's Space Mountain...and eagerly awaiting for that rollercoaster ride to paradise to begin.
That, I find absolutely terrifying, because you just can't fix that. If it was a protest, then perhaps you could look at the grievance and in some way deal with it (if of course, as a society, you've decided to bow to this kind of protest)...but, like I say, if Hassam is right, these guys don't really care for anything...
...other than getting to this cool-sounding Heavan-place as quickly as possible, that is.