Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The son a mother didn't know

Here is a case study in what a mother believes and the son who proved her wrong.  We raise our kids as ourselves, train them to be the best person they can be and we believe they will become what we want for them, but by their own hand in their own time. 

Robert B. took the path of the jihadist, believing in paradise for those who "...slay and are slain for Allah..."(9-111). 

Poor mum. 

From Spiegel Online August 30 by Julia Juttner

The Path of a Young German Salafist

A mother can't be fooled, and a mother notices when her child goes astray, says Marlies B. That's why she called the state authorities in October 2010 and asked if she needed to be worried about her son.
Her son Robert had changed. He'd converted to Islam, forsaken pork and alcohol, and now he wore a knit wool cap and wandered the city of Solingen, northeast of Cologne, in floor-length garments. Marlies B. says she'd never seen him this way. People asked her about it, and it was embarrassing. It frightened her.
At the end of July -- after a period when she couldn't reach him, either on his cell phone or at his apartment -- she printed out a statement from his bank account. (Robert had given her notarized power of attorney years before.) She noticed a flight booked for €447 ($647), and "all of my alarm bells went off," she says. She drove to a national-security office in Wuppertal.
"You're son is doing well," an official told her, asking her to take a seat in the hall. Marlies B. had an uneasy feeling. A mother knows, she says. Two other officials came upstairs. They had just searched Robert's apartment, and they told her that her son had been in a London prison since July 15.
Al-Qaida Propaganda
He'd taken the ferry to Dover with Christian E., another convert from Solingen, who had a criminal record. At the border they told authorities they had planned to fly from Brussels to Egypt, but the tickets were too expensive. So they'd settled on Great Britain instead.
Officials searched their bags and found handbooks for jihadists, a bomb-making pamphlet called, "How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom," and an essay on "39 Ways to Support Jihad," written by the radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki -- all propaganda material for al-Qaida. Both Germans were sent to Belmarsh, a high-security prison in south London, and isolated in solitary confinement.
"I fear that the English justice system will crack down like it did in the recent riots, and we want to prevent that," says Robert's attorney, Burkhard Benecken. His client faces up to 10 years in prison. But under German law his actions were not punishable. This week, Benecken and Robert's mother are flying to London; it will be her first visit with her son since he was arrested.
A Victim of the Stasi
Marlies B. grew up in the GDR, the former East Germany. By the age of 13, she'd had experience with the Stasi. Her parents' bakery was bugged, and her father fled to West Germany in 1969. She later was caught trying to flee to the West and spent seven weeks in custody in Görlitz, before serving a year in prison in Hohenleuben.
She was one of the 33,755 political prisoners whose freedom was purchased by the West German government. On March 13, 1985 she arrived first at a relocation camp in Giessen, then went to Unna, and in the end arrived at a temporary home in Solingen. That is where she met Robert's father, an independent craftsman 15 years her senior. They later married.
Marlies B. is now 57 years old. She's a petite woman with deeply set blue eyes. She wears glasses, and her dyed black hair has bangs cropped short. Her faced is lined with wrinkles. She calls her first husband a "criminal swine who was locked up in all the GDR jails." He almost killed her once, she says, by smashing a bottled of sparkling wine on her head in a drunken rage.
Robert's father, she says, was the first man who was good to her. He died at the age of 46, of lung cancer caused by a grinding machine he used. His death came three days before Robert's 13th birthday. Her son missed him greatly.
Even as a child, Robert was an outsider and was bullied and chased across the school yard. He dropped out of school in the 9th grade. When he was 17 he joined the military, with his mother's approval, and volunteered to go to Afghanistan. He dreamed of riding in a tank. But he wound up on desk duty. When this duty grew boring, he started spreading right-wing propaganda on the Internet. He hung a Hitler portrait over his bunk. He was forced to leave the army.
He then earned his secondary-school school diploma. In the summer of 2010 he finished training as a warehouse clerk. But he wasn't hired. Robert had long had other plans...

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