British Muslims ‘alarmed’ their community failed to report London attackers
There is “alarm and concern” that members of the Muslim community did not tip off the authorities ahead of Saturday’s terrorist attack in London, the Metropolitan Police commander in charge of community engagement has said.
Seven people were killed and 48 injured when three terrorists wearing fake suicide bomb vests used a rental van to mow down pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday night. They then went on a knife rampage in Borough Market, stabbing victims with 12-inch blades.
Eighteen people remain in a critical condition in hospital.
Mak Chishty, the police officer in charge of engagement with the city’s different religious communities, said people close to the assailants must have known something about the plot.
“Unlike a single person, a lone-wolf type of attack who may keep everything to himself, when you’ve got three people in concert, necessarily there must have been some discussion around that.
“And some people at the closest point to them must have known something. And we’re saying they had a duty – the Muslim community is saying – they had a duty to report it.”
Chishty, the highest-ranking officer of Muslim faith, was surrounded by faith leaders while he spoke outside Scotland Yard on Monday afternoon.
Reading out a statement on behalf of all Muslim communities, he said: “The Muslim community is alarmed and concerned that this attack by three people, which would have required planning … was not reported.
“It is the Islamic duty of every Muslim to be loyal to the country in which they live. We are now asking questions to understand how extremism and hatred has taken hold within some elements of our own communities.”
He called on Muslim communities to “root out the scourge of terrorism which hides amongst their own people and masquerades as Islam.”
Chishty said the Muslim community was “standing together as one” to try “to keep hate crime, and especially Islamophobic crime, down by showing the strength of unity and bond between all communities.”
Meanwhile, a video is circulating on social media showing a man with what appears to be a hand grenade and a machete blade making threats against members of Muslim communities.
The unidentified man said he would blow up mosques as he waves a huge knife at the camera.
This man from #liverpool threatens to bomb Mosques and behead Muslims, do you know him, plse report to @MerseyPolice#londonbridgepic.twitter.com/FYhrt0ag0N— Mohammed Shafiq (@mshafiquk) June 4, 2017
In what he called a “message to Muslims,” he said: “I will get people to run into your mosques and blow them off the planet.
“If you want to see terrorism, come and see me.”
Merseyside police are aware of the video and arrest warrants have been issued, the force says.