Nasreen Suleaman examines the background of 7/7 bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan. It knocks on the head those ignorant theories, emanating from both the Right and the “Left”, that multiculturalism resulted in segregration which then led to the adoption of the extremist views that produced the London bombings.
The Beeston of Khan’s youth was a largely white neighbourhood – and indeed he seems to have spent most of his time in the company of white English lads. Over the past few months I have spoken to many of those white childhood friends, friends who knew Khan as Sid, and they all tell a similar story.
Their accounts of Khan’s upbringing and character show a man who spent most of his formative years not really mixing with other local Muslims.
And, says Ian Barrett, unlike the other children of Pakistani parents, he was not under any family pressure to take an interest in Islam.
“The other Pakistani lads would have to go mosque because their families would say ‘You’re going to mosque.’ But Sid didn’t go,” says Ian. “He didn’t seem interested in Islam and I don’t ever remember him mentioning religion.”
Khan was, by all accounts, an exceptionally well integrated person. His anglicised name “Sid” was just one symbol of his willingness to take on a British identity.