With the April 15 income tax deadline looming, now’s a good time to spare a kind thought for accountants.
They are, it seems, prime targets for a terror attack. Or such was the thinking of Usama bin Laden follower Malcolm Hodges, a British subject who painted a big Al Qaeda bull’s-eye on them.
Hodges, who is engaged to an American, pleaded guilty and was recently jailed in Britain for recklessly encouraging terrorist attacks against accountants.
He was given a two-year jail sentence last month for sending dozens of letters to mosques around the U.K. urging Muslims to launch terror attacks on the bean-counters.
Ironically, the 44-year-old was a wannabe accountant himself. After failing his accreditation exam, he held a “festering grudge” for more than a decade against professional accountancy.
Hodges felt that his fellow terrorist brethren needed some guidance on target selection. The key to an Al Qaeda victory, he wrote in letters to mosques, was to target accountants.
One of his letters offered constructive criticism of past Al Qaeda attacks: “Brothers, you are right to kill the infidels but you are making a mistake to try to attack planes and other targets.”
The terrorists should redirect the jihad, he wrote, because the "infidels" were expecting such places to be attacked.
So in what sort of places were “infidels” not anticipating an attack?
In Hodges’ master plan, “Jihad” must be declared against accountants connected with “the corrupt and Western society, which are abhorrent to true believers, which the infidels, in their arrogance, will not expect to be attacked.”
Accountants may not be amused to hear they were singled out for targeting, but in somewhat of a backward compliment, Hodges believed accountants were the heart of the West. He wrote that attacking them would mean “striking at the infidels where it hurts most.”
Hodges didn’t stop there. He also targeted Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Royal Family. He also justified attacking “targets formed and led by the Queen of England.”
His campaign was also anti-Semitic. The accounting business, he wrote, was "full of swine and apes” that are “crammed full of Jews.” He believed that attacking accountants would bring Al Qaeda closer to “wiping Israel from the map.”
Although some considered his terrorist campaign to be insignificant ranting and raving, Hodges was regarded as a serious terror threat. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants spent more than a quarter of a million dollars investing in security measures against his jihad.
Judge Jeremy Roberts, in sentencing Hodges, concluded that he must suffer from a “seriously abnormal mental condition.”
But he emphasized the legitimacy of the threat, saying: “There was a real risk that if one of your letters had fallen into the wrong hands there might have been a terrorist atrocity and people might have been killed or seriously injured.”