And Now Stockholm

by Andrew Stuttaford

Another week, another atrocity, this time in Stockholm.

Douglas Murray, writing for The Spectator:

I am tempted simply to write ‘copy’, ‘paste’ and ‘repeat’ with links to my recent piece on the Westminster attack. Which in turn referenced my piece on the Brussels attack. Which itself was a re-run of my piece on one of the Paris attacks. And so on and on it goes.

If there is nothing new to say it is because nobody has anything new to learn. On Wednesday of this week, two weeks to the day after Khalid Masood ploughed a car into the crowds on Westminster Bridge and stabbed PC Keith Palmer to death inside the gates of the Houses of Parliament, what was billed as a ‘Service of Hope’ took place in Westminster Abbey. One hopes that it consoled those injured and mourning. But the tone of the sermon by the Dean of Westminster suggested that the word ‘blind’ should perhaps have been put in before ‘hope’.

In the sermon at the inter-faith service the Very Reverend John Hall said that Khalid Masood’s attack had left the nation ‘bewildered’. He went on to ask:

‘What could possibly motivate a man to hire a car and take it from Birmingham to Brighton to London, and then drive it fast at people he had never met, couldn’t possibly know, against whom he had no personal grudge, no reason to hate them and then run at the gates of the Palace of Westminster to cause another death? It seems likely that we shall never know.’

Really?

We shall never know.

Really?

Something tells me that the Very Reverend John Hall has a pretty good idea of what motivated Khalid Masood.

I thought again about that priest’s pretty little lie in the course of reading a piece by Spiked’s Tom Slater on yet another aspect of the current assault on free speech on campus:

Censorship is always, on some level, anti-intellectual. It presupposes that certain truths are best unchallenged, that certain opinions are better left unsaid, and that people are either too easily led or too easily shaken to participate in public life fully.

The Very Reverend John Hall wasn’t trying to censor anyone, but the thinking running through his claim that “we shall never know” what drove Masood (formerly Adrian Ajoa, formerly Adrian Elms) to mass murder was the same:

[C]ertain truths are best unchallenged, that certain opinions are better left unsaid…people are either too easily led or too easily shaken to participate in public life fully.

Masood , a man with a lengthy criminal record had, well, his issues, but the same could have been said of many who have participated in ideologically-inspired horror throughout history. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to assume that Islam, as Masood understood it, poured fuel onto whatever it was that smoldered within him, and, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to assume that the example of jihad threw in the final, lighted match. 

To address the implications of all that would be a worthwhile exercise, to feign ignorance of them is not. It is an insult to the victims, an insult to democracy and a part of the process that ensures that there will always be a next time.

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