Not your "typical" Muslim

Many of those who have been following the aftermath of the London bombings were possibly shocked to learn that the fourth terror suspect is Jamaican-born Germaine Lindsay, a 19 year old husband and father. Unlike the images projected in the media, Muslims come in racial backgrounds and are not just from Middle East, as Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.

According to the Black Infomation Link, the Islamic Invitation Centre claims on its website that Islam is the fastest-growing religion among African-Caribbeans in the UK.

While the vast majority of African Caribbean Muslims are peaceful, there are a few who became radicals. Richard Reid, another black Briton of Jamaican descent, was arrested and found guilty for attempting to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes.

Peter Ratcliffe, director of UK Monitoring Centre for Racism & Xenophobia, said the fact that Lindsay had a Jamaican background had no relevance to the crime he is suspected of because Islam is a world religion.

He said: “Islam takes precedence over national identity. The fact that he’s Jamaican is not relevant. It’s unusual that we’ve got someone of Jamaican descent but it’s not as surprising as it appears.

Professor Ratcliffe said that people carried an “archetypal stereotype” image of likely terrorists but stressed Islam was a world religion and a “primary identity.”

Hughie Rose, chairman of the UK Black Panthers Party, said Islam naturally draws Blacks because it offers them a lifeline. “Anytime that you have a people stripped of their language, religion, culture, name and history, there’s a void there.

"Islam comes to people that are dead and lightens up that void. Islam has been able to do that for Black people and awaken the Black man. He’s seen as a dead man in the West with no hope for him.”

In an exclusive interview with yesterday's Boston Globe, the Germaine Lindsay's grandfather, Austin McLeod had serious doubts about his grandson and daughter converting to Islam. He said that his daughter grew up worshiping in a Christian church and that he opposed her conversion to Islam.

''She told me she converted, I tried to persuade her not to," said Austin McLeod. ''She grew up in the church with us. So she had no reason to doubt the God we had been serving. I told her the Lord had been good to us."

The 62-year-old Jamaican who moved to Boston in the early 1990s was shocked to hear this his grandson was involved in the attacks, making hime sceptical about Lindsay's involvement.

''Why would he put his family aside?" McLeod asked. ''What proof do they have? In the blink of an eye, he's gone, I want to know the proof."

McLeod said he only met his grandson in person once, about seven years ago, but described him as ''a very loving young man." He said that he wanted to talk to his grandson's wife, Samantha Lewthwaite, about his mental state in the days before the bombing, to see what could have changed him.

''It's devastating, I'm trying to hold my head up, because I know that if it was him, it wasn't [because of] the way his parents brought him up," said McLeod, who brought up his family in Jamaica before coming to the United States in the 1990s. He and his wife, Stella Coleman-McLeod, moved to Dorchester about eight years ago, he said.

''If he did it, we'll deal with it. If he didn't, we wouldn't want to suffer the consequences."


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