Yorkshire suicide bombers

It sounds like some kind of bad-taste joke – ‘What do you call a Yorkshire suicide bomber?’ but, of course, it’s not.

Oddly enough, the thing which creeped me out most wasn’t that the bombers were British, or even that they were second generation, but that they were Pakistani. It’s invidious to talk about one ethnic minority as being more British than another, but the Asian community seems much more in the mainstream of British life than, for example, the Arab community. Probably just because there’s more of them and they’ve been here for longer than some other ethnicities. And besides, they play cricket, eat curry and drink lots of tea. However uncomfortable the relationships sometimes are between countries and their ex-colonies, there is a shared history there.

BTW, I do appreciate that lumping Indians, Pakistanis and Bengalis together as ‘Asians’ is missing the point in this context – there’s no likelihood of any Hindu suicide bombers on the tube any time soon – but I still find it depressing that whereas a few years ago the papers would have referred to the large Asian communities in Bradford and Leeds, now they are ‘Muslim’ communities. Not only have we changed one lazy label for another, but the new one is, in the circumstances, more alienating rather than less.

I feel desperately sorry for the bombers’ families.