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From Atta’s Father to Hamahmy’s Father

An important lesson to all parents is that love could be blindfold

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

The statement of the father of the Egyptian suspect in the Louvre attack, Abdullah Hamahmy, reminded me of that of Mohammed Atta’s father, one of the executors of the September 11 attacks.

The father, a former police officer, told al-Arabiya.net it is impossible that his son who used to work at a legal consulting firm in Sharjah would harbor terrorist thoughts. Gen. Ridha Rifai’i al-Hamahmy said his 29-year-old son is completely innocent and has evidence to support it.

During the interview, Hamahmy said that his son wore casual clothing and always listened to music. He added that Abdullah never had any political affiliations and didn’t follow any religious movement.

We hope the Egyptian young man is innocent. Who wouldn’t want that anyway? But it is hard to imagine that involvement in a shooting incident with Paris police, which Paris prosecutor’s office spoke of, is fictional.

The father’s sentiments are understandable, and his son may be innocent. But what is remarkable in his interview is his indication that Abdullah didn’t show signs of extremism or tendency to ISIS’ ideologies. Abdullah’s tweets revealed an ISIS mentality despite the father’s rejection that this account belongs to his son.

Access to unsupervised social media, the main recruiting platform of terrorists, can be critical even if the loving eyes assumed it was seeing otherwise. Love could be the blindfold!

Mshari al-Thaydi

The Louvre attack

Nonetheless, two security sources had already confirmed to Reuters that the Egyptian Ministry of Interior received a confirmation from the Egyptian embassy in Paris that the suspect of the Louvre attack is an Egyptian national.

Going back to Mohammed Atta’s father, he was known for his denial of his son’s relations to al-Qaeda and the September 11 attacks. The father, who is also a lawyer, said that his son is a gentle sweet educated young man.

During an interview with a German newspaper, Atta said that his son is in a disclosed location to protect him from being killed by the US secret intelligence. This reveals the capabilities of the ISIS militant now, Qaeda back then, in hiding, deceiving and then attacking at the right moment.

Access to unsupervised social media, the main recruiting platform of terrorists, can be critical even if the loving eyes assumed it was seeing otherwise. Love could be the blindfold! This is an important lesson to all parents.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat.
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Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.