Today, Zakaria Bulhan (19) pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and charges of wounding. He had been charged with murder and attempted murder, but the court accepted his excuse. The resident of Tooting, a borough in south London, is the responsible party in what has become known as the Russell Square stabbings.

It was in August 2016 that the young Somali Muslim stabbed an American tourist to death, and severely wounded five other people. Bulhan’s fatal victim was Darlene Horton, a 64-year-old retired teacher. Bulhan stabbed her in the back, piercing her heart and her left lung. Horton died on the spot. His attack was similar to attacks carried out by knife-wielding Muslims, not only in the UK but elsewhere in Europe and Israel. Muslim jihadis have been called upon by radicalized teachers of Islam to carry out attacks in the West by any means necessary, including attacks with knives, swords, machetes, and moving vehicles.

However, in Europe, crimes like Bulhan’s have been determined to be acts of mental illness. The Old Bailey court accepted his explanation that he had been suffering an acute episode of paranoid schizophrenia when he carried out the mayhem. The BBC, in its report on Bulhan’s conviction, made no mention of his Somali nationality nor his Muslim religion.

The Heat Street website found that a person of the same name – Zakaria Bulhan – listed at least one book advocating violence to spread Islam in a personal account on the Good Reads website since 2014. That book is “Riyad-us-Saliheen,” (The Meadows of the Righteous) which first appeared in the 13th century. The book is a compilation of sayings, ostensibly by the founder of Islam, Mohammed, that are paired with later writings on Muslim morals, fighting, and etiquette. On jihad -- war or righteous struggle -- the book says, "And fight against the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) collectively as they fight against you collectively. But know that Allah is with those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious), and "Jihad (holy fighting in Allah's Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know." 

Somalia -- Bulhan’s native land -- is one of seven countries which President Trump, following the lead of his predecessor, Barack Obama, listed among those whose citizens were to be prohibited admission to the US under his January 27 executive order. That executive order has now been effectively annulled by an order that was issued by the U.S. federal appeals court in San Francisco.



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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