By now the identities of the July 7, 2005 London suicide bombers are known from effects they left on the scene, and possibly DNA testing.
Britain seems to be in shock that they are British citizens and not foreigners. An article tries to probe how Britian's multiculturalism fits (or conflicts) with all this, and probes why there are angry young Muslims there. Partially the problem has to do with how some Muslims struggle to fit in within a Western society, how they may be alienated by racism they experience, as well as how angry they are at images of Muslim troubles worldwide, from Kashmir to Palestine to Bosnia.
The families of three bombers have issued statements that show they are convinced by the evidence they were shown that indeed one of their family members was a suicide bomber.
Now let us discuss the profiles of each a bit.
Hasib Mir Hussain
Hasib Mir Hussain was just 18 years old, has prior arrest records, and never completed proper secondary education.
The odd thing is that he bombed a bus and not an underground tube train like the other three did. Why did he not go to a train and do the same as the others did? Did he have last minute regrets of the deluded mission, then accidentally blowing it in the bus? One theory was that he could not board the train because the northern service was suspended.
Even the police investigation in London wants to know what the last 81 minutes of his life were like. They are seeking mobile phone info to try to piece together what really happened, and why he delayed his bomb and went for a bus instead of a train.
The BBC has a profile for Hasib.
Shehzad Tanweer was 22, which is relatively young. He has been arrested for disorderly conduct. Again his profile as a suicide bomber is plausible.
Here is the BBC profile for Shehzad.
Jamal Lindsay was a 19 year old Jamaican-British convert to Islam, originally named Germaine Lindsay. He has a young kid, and a pregnant wife. Because he is young, feel alienated from his family (his estranged father reestablished ties recently), being a new convert, he may be a plausible suspect too. His mother, Maryam McLeod, understandably distraught about all this, has a difficult time accepting that her son is a suicide bomber, killing 26 people, and clings to the hope that he is wrongly identified.
The BBC has a profile for Germaine.
Mohammad Sidique Khan
What I initially had a hard time with is the first suspect, Mohammad Sidique Khan.
He was 30 years old, not exactly immature or impressionable. He has a wife and a newborn baby girl.
He also had a job as a teaching assistant, and was well liked by the pupils and the parents. He previously talked to the press (Times Education Supplement) about his work, and seemed to be proud of it. Neighbors said that he did not seem to be an extremist.
Yet, his family seemed to accept the fact, saying that he was brainwashed. Moreover, the CCTV images seem to show him with the other three, all carrying big backpacks on their way to the mission. Also this Reuters news article mentions the images, and says that British MI5 intelligence have scrutinized Khan, but decided that he is not a threat. This Telegraph article details how Khan used gyms to recruit the others.
Here is the BBC profile for "Sid".
Magdy El Nashar
Magdy El Nashar has a B.Sc from Cairo in 1994, an M.Sc, and a Ph.D in Biochemistry in 2005. He is 33 years old, is divorced and has a 3 year old daughter. He was arrested in Cairo, and said to deny any charges he was involved in the bombings.
Information is still emerging slowly on him. So far, I am not convinced that he is an accomplice.
First, he specialized in Biochemistry. Perhaps police investigators don't know the difference between chemistry and biochemistry, but I know that they are totally different. His research was on enzymes and stuff like that.
Most feedback on him has been positive. Ranging from his brother saying that he expressed sorrow over the attacks, him being a source of pride for his family and friends, those who attended the Leeds Mosque with him saying that he is compassionate,
The Egyptian Ministry of Interior in an unprecedented statement, have said he has no Al-Qaeda links and that he maintains he is innocent. Egypt has also said that it is not prepared to extradite him to Britian, no treaty exists for extradition with Britain, and that the constitution forbids extradition. That last statement flies in the face of many Egyptians who were handed over to the USA since September 11.
On August 9, 2005, the Egyptian authorities released Magy El Nashar without charges. In a conference shortly after his release, he said he knew Jermaine Lindsay, and helped him find a place to stay. Lindsay introduced him to Hasib Hussain, another suicide bomber.
Also, he seems to have defended his Ph.D. in May 2005. If someone was going to blow up something a few weeks after that, why bother with the hassle of a Ph.D?
The worst thing he seems to be guilty of is that he trusted someone else not well known to him and gave him the keys to an apartment he rented.
He may be a fool, putting too much trust in people he does not know well. He does not seem to be a criminal at all though.
- Wikipedia article on July 7, 2005 London UK bombings.