It was a half-truth. The arrested terrorist was indeed the man who was born Dhiren Barot. However, following a visit to India in the early ’90s, the young Barot snapped ties with his family, rejected his ancestral faith and recreated himself as Eisa al-Hindi. Within a decade, Eisa progressed from jehad in Kashmir to planning terrorist strikes in New York.
Throughout history, some converts have tended to flaunt a new loyalty by viciously disavowing their inheritance. This curious blend of new realisation and self-hate has had both horrific and farcical consequences. From the Baader-Meinhof terrorists in Germany to the hippies who found nirvana in dope, counterculture became experiments in declasse.