The suicide bomber bears no mark of Cain

Ideology makes all the difference

It is unlikely, writes Dalrymple,

that any characteristic or group of characteristics will prove to be pathognomonic of the condition of being a suicide bomber.

Certainly, says Dalrymple,

there are characteristics that appear in quite a proportion. We think of such bombers as second-generation immigrants in search of a cultural identity, who may have led a life of modern dissipation until, in a fit of self-disgust, they give up that life in favour of violent, arrogant and self-important puritanism.

The trouble is that

any characteristic that is found among suicide bombers is likely to be found among many people who are not suicide bombers. The number of dissipated young men who turn arrogantly pious is likely to be a hundred times greater than that of suicide bombers.

Nevertheless,

a religious ideology, vile and impoverished as it might be, is an important cause. Whatever the travails of Moslem immigrants to Europe, they are not objectively different in kind from those of other immigrants from far-off lands. It is ideology that makes the difference.

Dalrymple adds that discrimination between asylum-seekers is very much

in accordance with that unspeakable thing, the national interest.

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