When Cardiff extremists attack


Yesterday, 47-year old father of four, Darren Osborne, an Englishman now living with his parents in Cardiff, Wales, drove a van into a crowd outside Finsbury Park Mosque in London, killing one and injuring at least ten, all local Muslims. Before being tackled by the passers-by and arrested by the police, Osborne was variously heard laughing and shouting “This is for the London Bridge” and “I want to kill all the Muslims – I did my bit”.

What can one say about Osborne? As one of his neighbours told “Metro”: “He had lived on the estate for a few years. He’s always been a complete c*** but this is really surprising.”

That’s right, Osborne is a c***. He thus fits the basic profile of everyone who randomly kills and wounds innocent men, women and children. Not all c***s are terrorists, but all terrorists are c***s. Out of media interviews with family, neighbours and people who knew him emerges a picture of a pretty ordinary bloke but a bit of a no-hoper, whose tumultuous relationship with the mother of his four children broke down six months ago. One one hand he was a man who always helped his Muslim neighbour (and other neighbours) with little jobs around the house, but he also had a reputation as a drunk, a loud-mouth, and a brawler. His mother alluded to mental health problems. He has not expressed any racist or anti-Muslim sentiments until only recent weeks, and he has no known political associations.

Rereading this brief sketch, it strikes me how much Osborne fits the left’s ideal profile of a Islamist terrorist: an ordinary but a somewhat troubled male, with a history of substance abuse and/or mental health issues, jobless and disengaged, a lone wolf, “normal” and apolitical, suddenly radicalised by recent events. It is both sad an ironic that this profile only fits Darren Osborne and not the ISIS- or Al Qaeda-inspired terrorists.

Among the left commentariat, terrorist attacks like the Manchester Arena or the London Bridge (twice) have no broader message, except perhaps an opportunity to reflect on bigotry, racist and Islamophobia – or British foreign policy – that drives young Muslim males to these extreme actions. Certainly it’s nothing to do with Islam. It’s similar with this terror attack so far too; after vowing that the Finsbury Park Mosque attack will not divide us, “The Guardian” editorialises that “This latest dreadful act is also a timely reminder of the experience of Islamophobia that Muslims in Britain endure.” For “The Guardian” and its readers everything is. It’s also refreshing to know that “This is for the London Bridge” is an instant giveaway, unlike, say, “Allahu Akbar”, which is an Arabic for “we might never know his motives”.

J K Rawling, meanwhile, is blaming Nigel Farage. Islamist terrorists don’t represent anyone but themselves; Osborne is an indictment of a whole political and social culture.

Strangely, there have been no reminders so far that the terror is the new normal, something we sadly need to get used to if we live in a big city, and that we should all carry on as before (otherwise the terrorists will have won), that we need to respond with love against hate, that we have to understand what drives people to commit crimes like this, that we need to look for root causes of Osborne’s anger.

We’re all horrified and appalled by the attack – Osborne will, and should, rot in jail and in hell for this – but the left seems to be particularly angry the last two days. Maybe a little consistency over the recent times would have helped prevent this rude awakening to the reality of double standards, avoidance, and obfuscation.

(P.S. Ask not why in the cover picture, Osborne is giving a traditional jihadi salute – to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a raised index finger is just a raised index finger).