Solving that Mumbai mystery

tallit1Remember that truly bizarre passage in the Washington Post story about the massacre in Mumbai, the one that pondered the deep mystery of why the terrorists targeted Orthodox Jews and, well, other people who identified with the wrong world religions? Here's a quick flashback, even though we have written about this before:

Speaking in London, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that American and British citizens had been "singled out" for attack by the assailants. Officials in Washington, meanwhile, said they had independently corroborated Indian intelligence that links the attacks to Lashkar-i-Taiba, a Pakistan-based extremist group with roots in the disputed Kashmir region. ...

It is not known how the attackers seized on the low-key Chabad House, along with high-profile hotels and a train station, as one of their 10 targets.

Now, a chilling New York Times report -- based on information gathered by the Indian government and provided to Pakistan -- offers many details. It seems that the dossier contains recordings of the supervisors who, by cellphone, guided the teams of killers to their preselected targets and helped them make strategic decisions.

You will, I am sure, be shocked, shocked to know that religion played a major role in the motivations for the attacks and the selection of the victims. A sample passage:

The dossier narrates a journey of zeal, foibles and careful planning, one whose blow-by-blow news coverage was followed by handlers, believed to be in Pakistan, and used to caution the gunmen about the movement of Indian security forces and to motivate them to keep fighting. ...

At the Taj Mahal, the attackers were asked by their counselors whether they had set the hotel on fire; one attacker said he was preparing a mattress for that purpose. At the Oberoi, an attacker asked whether to spare women ("Kill them," came the terse reply) and Muslims (he was told to release them and kill the rest). At Nariman House, they were told that India's standing with a major ally, Israel, might be damaged. ...

The last telephone transcript in the dossier was at 10:26 p.m. on Nov. 27, between a gunman inside Nariman House and his interlocutor. "Brother you have to fight," the caller said. "This is a matter of the prestige of Islam."

Nariman House, of course, contained the Orthodox Jewish Chabad center.

My one question: Do the recordings contain prayers? Do they give indications how the planners used and abused Islam in order to justify their actions? At some point, readers need this kind of information, in order to learn more about the divisions forming at the heart of Islam.

The New York Times printed some of the information and that's a start.

It's journalism. Quote the documents.

Photo: An Orthodox Jewish prayer shawl.

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