A Few Thoughts on the Toulouse Incident

Events in Toulouse are still developing and it is too early for definite anwers. But from what I am reading in the papers and on news websites, the murders of Mohammed M. will set off a new debate on homegrown terrorism - once more. I never really liked the term. Some people seem to be using it whenever a terrorist perpetrates an attack inside the society he lives in or used to live in. But how much sense does it make to use that term if that terrorist, for example, trained at an al-Qaida camp in Waziristan (or elsewhere, for that matter)? Other people appear to be applying the term homegrown whenever there doesn't seem to be an immediate link between the terrorist and a known terrorist organization. But these kinds of links are sometimes difficult to establish - so what are we gaining from applying the label homegrown to an attack only until we know better later? My sense is that Mohammed M. MAY turn out to be a better example for something else: I find it very interesting that he allegedly claimed to be a member of al-Qaida. Now that may or may not be factually true, but it may be TRUE ENOUGH. the targets he chose (Jews and soldiers of a country active in a Muslim country) are in full keeping with al-Qaida's explicitly identified targets. It is strongly unlikely that al-Qaida will disown him. In fact he may just have done what al-Qaida has been trying to get people to do for a while now, namely to act on their own and stick the label AQ to their attacks. So if he says it is an al-Qaida attack and al-Qaida doesn't contradict - who is to say it isn't?

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