Monday, 18 July 2016

Weighing Up the Evidence

Not a Jihadi, but A Narcissistic Murderer 

While the "fog" of war continues to blanket France, early indications are that the Nice truck murderer, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was a "lone wolf", angry, vengeful, and disturbed and not a jihadi.

There are superficial connections with Islam and terrorism: he lived in an Islamic area of Nice, he was Tunisian, therefore brought up within the Islamic fold.  But at this point the connections with jihadism become tenuous.

The Guardian provides an early, yet reasonable account:
Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old delivery driver and father, was shot dead by police after killing 84 people, including 10 children and teenagers, and injuring scores more in a deadly Bastille Day rampage .  Despite a criminal record which saw him convicted for the first time in March this year, Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was not known by French or Tunisian officials to have links to terrorist organisations and was said by neighbours to have had little apparent interest in religion.

Echoing the remarks of French officials, security sources in Tunisia said he was not known by the Tunisian authorities to hold radical or Islamist views.
The perpetrator appears to have been a secularised Muslim, whose commitment to Muhammad was nominal only.
 But he was troubled.  His wife had moved out with their children.  He drank alcohol.  He was not a mosque attender.
In the cluster of towering red and white blocks of social housing in northern Nice, where the couple had lived together years earlier, the Muslim community was in shock. A group of teenagers sitting on the porch of one of the huge towers claimed that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who they said had been in conflict with his ex-wife, drank, smoked and never visited the mosque.

“I was woken up by people screaming: ‘Let her go, she didn’t do anything’,” said one woman, who gave her name as Saïda, when asked about the questioning of his ex-wife. “It hurts because they are an adorable family and I don’t think they have anything to do with it. We knew her husband was violent and had moved out a while ago but that is all.”
Breitbart London corroborates this account:
A neighbour, Jasmine, 40, told BFM: “He was rude and bit weird.  “We would hold the door open for him and he would just blank us. He kept himself to himself but would always rant about his wife. He had marital problems and would tell people in the local cafe. He scared my children though.”

She added: “He was very smart with the same haircut as George Clooney.”  He appears not to have taken Islam particularly seriously, dressing in western clothes and perhaps driving a motorbike.  Another neighbour, Sébastien, said he “didn’t have the appearance of a religious person and was often in shorts, sometimes wearing ‘security’ shoes”.  A third, Anan said that she found him shifty and described him as “a good-looking man who eyed up my two girls too much”.

He has been repeatedly described as “weird” and “quiet”. . . .  A woman living in the same block said: “I hardly knew him, but from what I could see he seemed very weird. He lived alone. He said very little to anyone and wasn’t very polite. He wouldn’t hold the door open for you.”
So far, all the indications are that he should be placed in the same category as the German pilot, Andreas Lubitz who suffered from depression and, as a self-absorbed narcissist, wanted to make the world pay.

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