Doctors Without Borders

‘The Hippocratic oath is null and void for practicing Muslims [because] when a call for jihad is made by the emir [Osama bin Laden] everyone must answer including doctors and surgeons." That’s Khalid Kelly, a radical Irish convert to Islam, responding to my question about how doctors, sworn to protect human life, could possibly have sought to kill innocent civilians in a London nightclub and Glasgow airport last weekend.

‘The revelation that six out of the eight suspects arrested in relation to the most recent U.K plot were doctors should actually cause little surprise. Al Qaeda’s Egyptian number two, Ayman Al Zawahiri, is a qualified surgeon who, according to some reports, even today practices medicine in the tribal regions of western Pakistan. Zawahiri was no ordinary surgeon according to his uncle, whom I spoke to in Cairo earlier this year, but was regarded as a "genius" by his peers at a Red Crescent hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan where he did stints during the 1980s. In fact Zawahiri was not even the only surgeon-jihadist in that hospital. Its director, Dr. Sayyid Imam (also known as Dr. Fadl), founded the Peshawar wing of the terrorist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad and was a key mentor to Zawahiri and other future al Qaeda leaders.

‘Jihadist groups such as Al Qaeda have particularly focused their recruiting efforts on attracting highly skilled individuals, like doctors, as operatives. Such recruits are more likely to have the technical skills needed in assembling explosive devices and the discipline required to carry off an operation. Al Qaeda’s standardized application form, discovered by the U.S. military in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, required candidates to specify their precise educational achievements and to list their "intellectual" and "professional skills." This helped Al Qaeda recruit only the most promising operatives from the thousands of jihadists present in Afghanistan.’ (New Republic article).