Reflections on the attack on Westminster

On 22 March 2017 Khalid Masood perpetrated on the grounds of England’s Westminster Palace what was described by the British security forces and the media as a “terrorist attack”.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) immediately took credit for the attack claiming that Masood was “a soldier of the Islamic State”. Scotland Yard stated that they believed the attacker was inspired by “international terrorism”, but when they found that he was a “lone wolf”, they retracted, and said “We must all accept that there is a possibility we will never understand why he did this”.

This essay seeks to go deeper and analyse what had happened, and why.

Going deeper into the mind of a “misfit” turned “extremist”

In his novel, Kauther, Mike Ziervugal, narrates the story of a young woman, Lydia, who lives in London and loses her sense of meaning of life until she meets Rabia, and converts to Islam.[1] Ziervugal raises profoundly metaphysical and philosophical questions about identity.  He goes deep into what shapes contemporary society, drawing on the traditions of Islamic and Christian mysticism. It is a very important piece of work for us to understand the times we live in.

Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a comedy that turns out to be a horror story about what it means to be black in America.[2] Chris is a black man working for a “progressive liberal” family – the Armitages. The family’s visitors – mostly white – make complimentary remarks about Chris’s “frame and genetic make-up” and statements like “Black is in fashion!” fetishising his black skin. The Armitages are “pathological negrophiles”; but there a double ironic twist to this.

Their preoccupation is to abduct and brainwash black people to make them feel good about being used as pets and sex slaves. Chris is mesmerised to believe that he is trapped at the bottom of a deep pit. This is the first irony of the comedy – negrophiles using their “love of the black man” to abuse him. The second, more shocking, is that the family employs a neurosurgeon to strip off Chris’s brain in order to sell it to a blind art critic who wants “see” the world  through a black man’s eyes. When Chris realises this, he is contemplating how to get out of the “deep pit”, behaving like a “good boy”, laughing and joking so as not to appear rude.

How does a popular teenager become a killer?

Before Khalid turned to Islam, he was known to be a jovial, good-humoured man. At school he was a key football player and popular with his white friends, who called him “Black Ade”. If they called him by this name in good humour, the irony underlying its racial undertone probably did not escape Khalid. When he left school at 16, he never contacted his school friends, and began to be drawn into a life of petty crime becoming increasingly bitter with his life.

He went into an identity crisis.  Who was he? What was his life all about?  Clearly, he saw himself as an outsider – born black to a white teenage mother. He was angry with the world, but probably more with himself.  At the age of 40, he went to Medina in Saudi Arabia. Medina is Prophet Muhammad’s home after his Hijrah (jihad by emigration) from Mecca. Later he moved to Jeddah – the port city on the Red Sea – where he taught English to workers at the Civil Aviation. But he was careful. He did not join the ISIS or the Jihadists.  In 2009 he returned to England and settled in Luton, where he joined a language college as a senior English teacher, supervising seven other colleagues.

The person or the society?

We must get back to Ziervugal’s Kauther and the story of the London-born Christian girl, Lydia, who converts to Islam. What social and political forces shape the British society?

This is a complex issue, trivialised by the politicians, the security officers and the mainstream media. Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a brutal “comedy” of how a pathological negrophile family abused their “love of the black man” to even contemplate stripping off Chris’s brain in order to sell it to a blind art critic who wants “see” the world  through a black man’s eyes.

American psychologists analysing the American society found that mixed-race individuals are always as of “lower-status”.  It was (and still is) the case in South Africa. This was called “apartheid”.  But the term is not confined to South Africa any more. The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) of the United Nations recently put out a report describing Israel as an “apartheid regime”. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, forced the ESCWA to withdraw the report, whereupon Rima Khalaf resigned as its executive secretary.

What would be needed for the racist section of Jews in Israel to see Israel through the “eyes” of Palestinians short of digging out their eyes and transplanting them in the heads of racist Jews? This is not a silly question. Think about it.  Racism is not a fiction. It is real. It has serious consequences for society. It took the liberation movement in South Africa more than a century to get rid of its official manifestation, but it still lives on.

Khalid Masood could not change his race.  However, he could his religion. But changing his religion did not change his “blackness”, and the reality of racism in England. He could not get over his school-mates calling him “Black Ade”.  He laughed about it, and even as he grew up into manhood he behaved convivially, behaving like a “good boy”, like Chris in “Get Out”, so as not to appear rude.

Scotland Yard now says that Masood was a “lone wolf”, and that “We must all accept that there is a possibility we will never understand why he did this”.

Is there really no possibility?  Look into your hearts and into the society you live in.


@Yash Tandon

Oxford, 28 March, 2017



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