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Terror Plot: Why Doctors?

  • July 17th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

haneef.jpgCharges against the “doctors” group accused of planning bomb attacks in the United Kingdom have stimulated action by Australian authorities against Mohammed Haneef, held in Queensland under suspicion of associating with a criminal group.


This week (17.7.07) he was granted bail by a Magistrate, but immediately detained, as federal authorities had revoked his temporary work visa.

Detentioin of non-citizens without a visa is standard practice under Australian immigration law, but the logic of the act has been contested considering the grsanting of bail, and an appeal is expected.

Australia’s Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, says he was given information about the accused man’s association with a member of the group in Britain.

The twenty-seven year old Indian doctor from Queensland’s Gold Coast Hospital has been detained since his arrest on 2.7.07 while moving to board a plane at Brisbane International Airport.


The arrests of a group of young professional Muslim men have provoked much debate, including bitter arguments developing in Australia over civil liberties, and some insightful commentary.

This example from Hassan M. Fattah writing in the International Herald Tribune (15.7.07), on the question why a Muslim doctor and engineer in the UK, “at the pinnacle of their society”, may have been behind the failed car bombings:

“How could such acts be committed by people who have supposedly dedicated their lives to scientific rationalism and to helping others?

“The answer, some scientists and analysts say, may lie in the way that a growing movement of fervent Muslims uses science as reinforcement of religious belief, rather than as a means for questioning and exploring the foundations of the natural world.

“‘It’s not that surprising for doctors and engineers to be involved in political Islamist movements – both of the violent and the more moderate sort,’ said Taner Edis, associate professor of physics at Truman State University in Missouri and author of An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam

“Muslim scientists are among the most politicised groups in the region, and the Muslim approach to the scientific method, in the most extreme cases, can squelch the freewheeling curiosity at the heart of scientific discovery …

“‘The conception has been that modern science is developed outside, and we need to bring it into our societies without it corrupting our culture.'”

“In other words, science is a tool for furthering an ideology rather than a means of examining core beliefs…

“Medicine and engineering have long been the most prestigious professions in the Arab world …

“Many notable militant leaders, too, have graduated from those schools … Extremists are of course a tiny minority of the thousands of graduates …”

Reference; full text: Hassan M. Fattah, “Islam’s best, brightest and (increasingly) radical”, International Herald Tribune, Paris, 15.7.07; (16.7.07)

Picture: Press photograph, Mohammed Haneef