By Adam Petrie and Georgia Hall
Another atrocity committed on our soil, and once again we are left asking ourselves “How could it happen?”. The answer is simple – because we let it happen.
The latest attack in Manchester which has left 22 dead – the youngest being 8-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos – and around 120 injured is just the latest in a long line of attacks by Islamic Extremists.
Once again we have suffered due to the actions of a British-born man indoctrinated, not far away in some terrorist-boot camp in the Middle-East, but right in the heartland of our nation by a hateful perversion of Islam.
So, with that said, here are two questions that need answering in the wake of yet another attack.
Why was he allowed back in the country in the first place?
It has been reported that security services had been alerted to Salman Abedi after various people who knew him had made calls to a hotline to warn of his extremist views. His local Imam, Mohammed Saeed, stated that he had been giving a sermon condemning Islamic State and Libyan terror group Ansar al-Sharia when “Salman showed me a face of hate”.
A neighbour of the Abedi family had reportedly noticed Abedi “acting strangely” in recent months, including chanting Arabic prayers loudly in the street. In fact, according to Sky News, Abedi had links to an ISIS Cell that operated in Manchester and he personally knew one of the terror group’s most prolific recruiters in the UK.
According to multiple news sources, the suicide bomber Salman Abedi was already a known figure amongst authorities before the attack. With his father’s apparent links to Al-Qaeda, and his own trip to Libya just days before the attack, he was allowed back into the United Kingdom.
One can only presume that he would have been put through the vast security checks one would expect upon entering a country whose security threat level was resting on severe at the time. The nature and strength of these security checks must be brought into question when just days after entering the UK’s borders he took the lives of 22 innocent people, including children.
Could this have been prevented? With the continuous threat of ISIS getting stronger, and attacks from Islamic Extremists becoming almost commonplace, how on Earth did this man get past check-in? How many times do we have to hear after these attacks that they were “known to the security services” or “had previously been under investigation” or “had known links to hate preachers and extremist groups” before we start questioning our security policies?
With each atrocity committed by these monsters, some find themselves agreeing more and more with Katie Hopkins who, in a recent article for the Daily Mail, asks why we hold the rights of terrorists and extremists over the lives of our own citizens.
What are we going to do moving forward?
The answer, we fear, is nothing. We will carry on “as normal”, “in solidarity”, and “united”. We “won’t let the terrorists divide us”.
Writing for The Intercept, Mehdi Hasan suggests that speaking up and calling radical Islam out for what it is can be a part of the problem. ISIS wants to “drive a wedge” between members of Muslim communities and wider western society, and we’re helping ISIS do it.
Unfortunately, we’ve reached a point of no return. Things have radically changed in the UK.
We are instructed to remain calm while battalions of soldiers patrol our streets. We are told to carry on business as usual and ignore these atrocities as if we are back in primary school, and ISIS is just the mean kid in the sandpit. These aren’t playground bullies – they are terrorists, murderers, and extremists.
We are at war with a vicious ideology, and we ignore it at our peril. We ignored it after Charlie Hebdo, we ignored it after the Westminster attack, and it seems we are destined to ignore again after Manchester.
Each time we are forced to confront such acts of ugliness we react in the same naïve way. We draw sad cartoons, we change the filters on our Facebook profile pictures, we cry on TV, buildings around the world are lit up in solidarity with the dead, we hold candlelight vigils, and we march for peace all while ignoring the real issue.
How many more attacks must we suffer before something is done about it? How many more innocent people must lose their lives? We should be preventing these attacks, not reacting to them.
Brig is looking for alternative views on the Manchester attack. Feel free to contact us if you wish to contribute.