My Commentary of 23 March drew attention to several aspects of concern arising from the killings and injuries effected by a terrorist in London. These aspects of concern are strengthened by reports published since then.
- It is ridiculous to describe this as a lone wolf attack. Certainly, the terrorist alone carried out the killings and injuries but it is not yet clear to whom and why he used a messaging service three minutes before he started driving across Westminster bridge. Also, while he is described as British-born (in Kent), no details have yet been given as to his father. His photo (below), only released some time after he was shot, suggests he (the father) may have been a Muslim. In 2004 he married a British Muslim woman who bore him two daughters, one of whom converted to Muslim. He then went to Saudi Arabia to teach English and it is said he mixed with Wahhabi preachers, who are strong advocates of jihadist activity by Islamists. In 2009 he returned to England and taught English to Arabic speakers at Birmingham. He told his neighbours of the merits of sending children to Muslim schools. He frequently attended a mosque in West Ham in London. Following his terrorist act and him being shot dead, police arrested five men in Birmingham and his wife (latter released on bail).
In short, it is apparent that he was a jihadist influenced to carry out killings and injuries by a belief derived from the Muslim religion. No mention of any such influence was made by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a statement made to the House of Lords. It is surely time for Anglican and other similar churches to wake up to the seriousness of the threat from Islamist sources and indicate to the Muslim leaders that their assurances of “ peace” can no longer be accepted. Those assurances are certainly no longer accepted by most of the population.
- The slowness of the police to reveal details after the shooting of him suggests they were concerned at the possibility that his action could have been accompanied by similar action by other jihadists. Although it is not clear whether he had any links to ISIS, that body quickly claimed he was one of its soldiers. It and other extremist Islamic bodies are known to be trying to access nuclear weaponry and destructive chemical weapons. In short, the need for police (and other officials including the PM) to make only cautious statements after a terrorist events are well-justified. Even so, it is surely time to make it clear that the population in the UK (and Australia) faces a higher risk of destructive terrorist acts.
- Despite the UK Muslim population being over 3 million or nearly 5.5% of the total population, it appears that the increased risk of terrorist acts is not being sufficiently taken into account. The fact that the UK PM had to be rushed away from Parliament ( and apparently did not know how she should respond) indicates that the risk form serious terrorism is not being taken seriously enough. I have previously suggested that our PM should make a comprehensive statement outlining the extent of the threat and why it exists. One of the responses in the UK has been that despite the threats we British will “carry on”. Such a message seems rather outdated in the world today.