Mesmerizing Yashmak Alert

Goldblog reader Edward Rybsen forwarded me this Daniel Pipes piece, in which Pipes shows that Islamic garb (this is one of those hack phrases, like "flowing African robes," that should really be retired) has been used in various criminal schemes. I still think, however, that it would quite difficult to pull off an airplane hijacking in a chador.

These attempts fall into the "Are you just glad to see me or is that a gun under your burqa?" crime subcategory:

Mesmerising yashmak gang: This first incident is perhaps the oddest of all. I quote from the "British Muslims Monthly Survey," which got this incident from the Chingford Guardian of October 8, 1998:

Two thefts in Chingford and Walthamstow have been blamed on "mesmeric Muslims." At an off-licence in Walthamstow, two women wearing yashmaks with two children, asked for a bottle of Bacardi and sweets. They gave the owner of the shop a £50 note, which he changed. They then said they did not want the drink and asked for their money back. The owner of the shop said his mind went blank and he gave them the £50 note and an additional £10 note. He said: "I was just frozen and had no idea where I was. I have never known anything like that in my 16 years in the business. There was some sort of spell on me." Later the same day, in Chingford, a similar event took place at a music shop where the owner returned the £50 note plus an additional £20 note.


 
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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