Helen Lewis notes how regularly it turns out that the latest mass murderer got his training by beating up the nearest women.

But if we don’t care to talk about the role that maleness and masculinity has in such cases, then we definitely don’t want to talk about them in relation to Islamic terrorism. But yesterday – Day Three – here it was, a story about one of the London Bridge killers’ history of wife-beating and manipulation.

Rachid Redouane kicked and slapped his wife, tried to make her wear the hijab, prevented her from drinking and smoking. He got her pregnant even though it appears that, for him, the marriage was more about getting residency in the UK than love. His control took the form of trying to make her more devout – whereas someone like Lance Hart, with a different set of cultural values behind him, controlled his wife by withholding money and refusing to let her see her friends.

It’s the bullying and control of women that’s the real point, and the reward; the ideology behind it is just superstructure.

Redouane is far from the only Islamist terrorist to have a background like this. Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who drove a truck into crowds in Nice, had a criminal record for domestic violence. After Omar Mateen killed 49 people in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, his ex-wife said: “He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.”

Like Mateen, the Westminster Bridge attacker Khalid Masood does not seem to have any formal contact with Islamic State or other terror groups. His attack was “inspired” rather than “directed” by jihadi groups such as IS. Masood was also a convert to Islam (as many Islamic terrorists are), appears to have been radicalised in prison, and – surprise, surprise – he also had a history of domestic violence and coercive control. “He was very violent towards her, controlling in every aspect of her life – what she wore, where she went, everything,” a friend told the Mirror.

The connection is not even a little bit surprising. Religious hatred of women is ferocious and entrenched. It’s not a side issue, not a coincidence, not an accident: it’s central.

Despite this, talking about male violence in the context of terrorism is treated like derailing – like you’ve mounted your feminist hobby horse when the grown-ups were talking. The people who control the discussion of Islamist terrorism don’t want to talk about this stuff. They see discussion of foreign policy, religion and “our values” like old-fashioned teachers saw Maths and English: proper, respectable subjects. Talking about male violence is a bit . . . film studies. Sociology. You know. Softer, girly, less rational, all the ways we dismiss anything associated with women. And of course elevating it in our discourse would mean ceding some ground in the conversation to the experts in the field – who are largely women.

Good, let’s do that then.

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