what kind of perverted religion persuades a mentally retarded
English man with a mental age of ten to blow himself up as a suicide
bomber in a small town like Exeter?
From The Sunday TimesMay 25, 2008
MI5 fears jihadis will use mentally ill as suicide bombers
Islamic terrorists may be targeting mentally disturbed or disabled
people in Britain in a bid to form a new “brigade” of home-grown
suicide bombers, security officials fear.
MI5 and police say the case of Nicky Reilly, who is being held over a
nailbomb attack last week in Exeter, may indicate a new strategy of
targeting vulnerable people with mental health problems to carry out
A counterterrorism official said MI5 was investigating the extent to
which Reilly had been manipulated by a “charismatic” Al-Qaeda
“It is a grotesque concept but they are using people who are clearly
mentally subnormal,” the official said. “We know they have clever
radicalisers who will take advantage of anyone they think they can
manipulate, whether they have an IQ of 60 or 140,” he said.
Café blast suspect `sent a message of support’
Comment: violent Islam appeals to social misfits
Reilly, 22, is a Muslim convert who has spent time detained in a
mental health hospital. He has been described as a shambling
introvert with the mental age of a 10-year-old. He is believed to
have Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, and may also suffer from
Security officials say Al-Qaeda appears to have exported the tactic
from Iraq, where disabled “foot soldiers” have been used to
They point to a case in February when a suicide bomber in a
wheelchair killed an Iraqi general in Samarra, north of Baghdad.
Earlier, two women, initially thought to have Down’s syndrome, acted
as couriers for a bomb in Baghdad, killing almost 100 people.
Officials say people with mental disabilities are not only easier to
manipulate but also less likely to arouse suspicion. If they are
white Muslim converts, they are even less likely to be noticed.
The attack in the Giraffe restaurant in Exeter city centre on
Thursday caught the authorities by surprise.
Police say Reilly – who is 18 stone, over 6ft tall and nicknamed the
Big Friendly Giant – had three primitive but “viable” homemade bombs,
which they believe he may have built using instructions on the
One device exploded in the restaurant lavatory, leaving Reilly with
severe cuts to his face. Yesterday police said he was in a stable
condition in hospital.
Forensic analysis suggests his bombs were made from caustic soda,
paraffin and nails in a tin box.
Police say that shortly before the explosion Reilly – who recently
changed his name to Mohammed Rasheed – received a text message of
encouragement. They are holding two men who were arrested at gunpoint
outside an open-air cafe in Plymouth on Friday.
Security officials admitted that MI5 had been aware of Reilly but
that he had not been under surveillance.