‘Should I expect a knock on the door?’ More on the conviction of Samina Malik

“What about Malik’s documents, the ‘records’ key to her conviction? Reports mention three – a service manual for a rifle, a jihadist text called ‘Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places’, and the Mujahideen Poisons handbook. It took me five minutes of Googling to get hold of them. The jihadist text turns out to be a fatwa by Osama bin Laden. Verso include it in a published collection of his speeches. Interest in the 7.62mm Dragunov sniper rifle implies, I suppose, that you have one. Or that you think guns are cool. The poisons handbook is a 23-page pamphlet summarising a lot of public-domain information. There’s a certain transgressive glamour to this material, and perhaps it indicates unhealthy interests, but I doubt that, if the possessor weren’t a self-declared jihadi sympathiser with a security pass at Heathrow, anyone would find it significant. Presumably an irreligious thirtysomething author can still read what he wants? Or should I really expect a knock on the door?”

Hari Kunzru in the Guardian, 15 November 2007