He went on to say, in self-justification, that “our women” have to see these things every day, and that “you people” will never be safe while the government pursues its present policies. “Our women” and “you people”: these expressions are both revealing and chilling. By “our” he meant all Muslims, though he was neither born a Muslim nor had ever lived in a Muslim country, and probably believed that no Muslim had ever so much as laid a finger on another. By “you” he meant the inhabitants of the country in which he had grown up and spent his life. If ever there was an adolescent identity crisis turned pathological, this was it: Adebolajo felt that he was more morally responsible to abstract millions than to the people by whom he was actually surrounded. Alienation could go no further. And needless to say, it was accompanied by a grandiosity that would have been absurd but for its ultimate effect. …

What these cases show is that it is not Islam that makes young converts violent; it is the violence within them that causes them to convert to Islam. The religion, in its most bloodthirsty form, supplies all their psychological needs and channels their anger into a supposedly higher purpose. It gives them moral license to act upon their rage; for, like many in our society, they do not realize that anger is not self-justifying, that one is not necessarily right because one is angry, and that in any case even justified anger does not entail a license to act violently. The hacking to death of Lee Rigby on a street in Woolwich tells us as much about the society that we have created, or allowed to develop, as it does about radical Islam preached by fat, middle-aged clerics.