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The Hostage Mentality

- Abstract

WHEN, against a din of pealing church bells, the Hanafi Muslims released their prisoners in Washington, D.C., last March, it was understood by everyone who had paid attention to the recent history of domestic terrorism that only the first and most crucial stage of the drama had ended. Stage two was about to begin: the interviews with the released hostages, the prayers of thanksgiving, and the testimonials to the patience and expertise of the law-enforcement authorities who had, in this case, also given their word, on which they later made good, that the Hanafi leader responsible for the assaults on the B’nai B’rith offices, the Washington District Building, and the Islamic Center-in which one person had been killed, ope permanently crippled, and one hundred thirty-four kept prisoner and threatened with decapitation-could go free on his own recognizance.

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