One of the London bombers was married, with a young child and another on the way. I can understand, but never accept, suicide bombing in Iraq or Israel as part of a nationalist struggle. But when a British Muslim citizen, nurtured by that society, just indiscriminately blows up his neighbors and leaves behind a baby and pregnant wife, to me he has to be in the grip of a dangerous cult or preacher - dangerous to his faith community and to the world.
How does that happen? Britain's Independent newspaper described one of the bombers, Hasib Hussain, as having recently undergone a sudden conversion "from a British Asian who dressed in Western clothes to a religious teenager who wore Islamic garb and only stopped to say salaam to fellow Muslims."
The secret of this story is in that conversion - and so is the crisis in Islam. The people and ideas that brought about that sudden conversion of Hasib Hussain and his pals - if not stopped by other Muslims - will end up converting every Muslim into a suspect and one of the world's great religions into a cult of death.
USA Today identifies the same problem, but sees hope in the reaction among Muslims around the world to the London bombings.
I am similarly hopeful that the Muslim world is finally starting to understand that the biggest danger to Islam is not Western values, but fanatics who commit mass murder and claim that Islam not only condones such violent actions but demands them.
• Muslim communities in Britain have helped police with tips and information. British Muslim leaders said they were drafting a fatwa that would strip any bombers of the right to call themselves Muslims. "Nothing in Islam can ever justify the evil actions of the bombers," the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain said. "We are determined to work to prevent such an atrocity ever happening again."
• A new poll Thursday showed support for Osama bin Laden and terrorist bombings against Americans and their allies in Iraq falling in several heavily Muslim countries, particularly those where terrorist attacks have occurred. One example: In Lebanon, those who think violence is justified in defense of Islam fell from 73% three years ago to 39% now. The support is still sizeable, but the trend is in the right direction. The poll, part of the Pew Global Attitudes Project, was conducted before the attacks in London last week. Chances are, the bombings prompted further erosion.
• The Middle East's best known radical groups — Hamas, Hezbollah and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood — denounced the bombings, signaling their opposition to spreading terrorist tactics to Europe. Meanwhile, in the Palestinian territories, cultural figures are speaking out against efforts to impose "Taliban-style" rule and deny cultural "beauty" in people's lives.
• A conference of 180 top Muslim religious leaders issued a statement last week forbidding that any Muslim be declared an apostate. Bin Laden has frequently done this to sanction the death of Muslims he believes are too lax in their faith.All provide at least some hope that terrorism is hurting the radicals' cause among Muslims.