Several Muslims Did Speak Up About Manchester Bomber

It seems anytime an Islamist terrorist attack occurs, you inevitably hear the same kinds of questions:  “Why don’t Muslims speak out against terrorism?” and “If they don’t support this activity, why aren’t they cooperating with authorities to help prevent these acts?”

In the case of the suicide bomber in Manchester, that’s precisely what had happened. In the years leading up to the tragic attack outside of an Ariana Grande concert, members of the local Muslim community contacted British authorities at least five times to express their concerns about Salman Abedi.

As the Telegraph explains, as far back as five years ago, Muslim friends and neighbors of Abedi began calling the counter-terrorism hotline to alert officials to the eventual bomber. Abedi would sometimes express pro-terrorist sentiments and even stated an alarming belief that “being a suicide bomber was ok,” which obviously tipped off more calls.

“People in the community expressed concerns about the way this man was behaving and reported it in the right way using the right channels,” said Mohammed Shafiq, a Muslim community leader in the greater Manchester area. “They did not hear anything [back from the authorities] since.”

In that respect, this story is not one of Manchester Muslims insulating a violent extremist, but of counter-terrorism agencies in the UK failing to act on these multiple tips. While British intelligence agencies haven’t been forthcoming about their investigation, they have acknowledged that they were aware of Abedi and watching him prior to the bombing.

On top of that, a prominent mosque in Manchester had actually banned Abedi from attending services. When the imam (a Muslim prayer leader) at this mosque delivered a sermon condemning ISIL, Abedi defiantly defended terrorists, getting him kicked out of the building.

Does that sound like a faith community that in anyway fostered Abedi’s violent extremism? Members of the mosque have spoken out to the press to insist that Abedi is no Muslim since Islam is a religion of peace.

Indeed, the local Muslim community has been in near lockstep to swiftly vocalize its opposition to terrorism and make it clear they are as appalled at the bombing as their fellow Manchester residents. Nevertheless, the city has seen a rash of Islamophobic events in the past week, with people verbally berating Muslims as killers and an arsonist attempting to burn down a nearby mosque.

Speaking to Newsweek, some Muslims in the city worry that the ensuing attacks against their community will only serve to radicalize more people, thereby exacerbating the problem.

As we can see from their frequent reporting to British authorities, Muslims are important allies in the fight against extremism. Though fears and prejudices may inspire Westerners to consider all Muslims the enemy, we’d have a much better job rooting out evil by uniting our communities under this common goal.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

113 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y11 months ago

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Jack Y
Jack Y11 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J11 months ago

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John J
John J11 months ago

thanks for sharing

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

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Telica R
Telica Rabout a year ago

Thanks

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