Sunday, July 08, 2007

Perspective: From Baghdad, with hate

Left: Kafeel Ahmed alleged to be the driver of a Jeep Cherokee laden with gas cylinders and gasoline into the main terminal of Scotland's busiest airport on June 30.

THE three medical students had to get home quickly. They were Sunnis in a predominantly Shia section of Baghdad, and easy prey to the murderous, sectarian gangs roaming the streets. The friends had successfully navigated the pot-holed, rubbish-strewn route on many occasions but on this day in 2004 their luck ran out. Turning a corner they ran straight into elements of the al-Mahdi army, one of the biggest Shia militias. A machine gunner opened fire. The trio died instantly.

Then, as now, Baghdad was one of the most violent places on the planet and their deaths went largely unreported. Certainly, no one could have imagined how the shooting triggered a chain of events that would end, three years later and 2,800 miles away, in mayhem at Glasgow Airport and on the streets of London.

One of the trainee doctors who died was a close friend of a fellow Iraqi and Cambridge-based, newly-qualified doctor Bilal Talal Abdul Samad Abdulla. Investigations into the events of last weekend suggest that Abdulla, a suspect in the attacks, may have been motivated by the tragic events in his homeland three years earlier.

Read the rest the Scotsman