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Manchester ends 2018 with shouts of 'Allahu Akbar' as terrorism suspect stabs three at train station and is arrested under The Mental Health Act rather than the Terror Attack 2000.
Two victims remain seriously injured after a man wielding a knife stabbed them in a frenzied attack at Victoria train station, Manchester on New Year's Eve. A police officer was also injured during the 9:00 pm incident which has been identified as a terrorist attack.
Two of the victims are expected to recover from their grievous injuries but are not expected to be released from hospital any time soon due to the severity of their injuries. Both civilians sustained injuries to their abdomens, and the female victim also incurred facial injuries. The injured police officer, who has already been released from hospital, was wounded in his shoulder area.
Manchester Police are treating the incident as terrorism investigation, and are accordingly investigating further. Anti-terror officers have raided the 25-year-old suspect's home in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester. A Somali couple and four of their five children who relocated from the Netherlands to the UK appropriately 12 years ago, are said by neighbours to live in the raided property.
However, Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), told reporters that they were "retaining an open mind in relation to the motivation for this attack", the mental health of the suspect was being considered "given how frenzied the attack was."
He indicated that this appeared to be an isolated incident saying that police do not have any information "to suggest at this time others are involved". (click here) however other reports say they investigating to see if others may have encouraged the attacker.
Jackson mentioned the fact that the alleged jihadi slogans uttered by the suspect have been widely reported in media and that this is the reason why terrorism was a consideration. He explained:
"There is wide reporting in the press about what the attacker allegedly said during the incident and because of this we want to be clear, we are treating this as a terrorism investigation."
The suspect has not yet been charged and was taken into custody under The Mental Health Act not under the Terrorism Act 2000 despite reassurances by police that the crime was being investigated as terrorism. (click here)
Witnesses report hearing the victim's "bloodcurdling screams" as the man committed his assault. The attacker used a large kitchen knife, which was described as having a long blade, to stab the man and woman who are both in their 50s. He was subdued with pepper-spray and Tasered, before being pinned down and taken into custody. Later two knives were found at the scene.
Video footage recorded and witnesses heard the assailant shouting various jihadi calls during the incident besides crying out "Allahu Akbar!" as he was being detained in a police van.
The 25-year-old attacker demonstrated his allegiance to ISIS by screaming: "Long live the Caliphate," and shifted blame for his heinous act when he shouted: "As long as you keep bombing other countries, this sort of s*** is going to keep happening." (click here)
Wilson Chowdhry said:
"These terrorist attacks continue because the authorities have refused to take Islamist extremism seriously. When these incidents occur the first reaction is still disbelief and a search for mental health issues - as if mental health precludes terrorists from being extremists.
"There is considerable spin put on these assaults that often purveys more empathy to the terrorist than to their injured or murdered victims, despite the fact that radical preachers target the vulnerable for their hate ideology, which more often than not will include those with mental health conditions.
"Some consideration should also be taken to which comes first. What most people in the west consider mental instability comes to many jihadis because they of their personal choice to feed their minds with hateful ideology and commit harmful acts against other human beings."
This approach seems to be a strategy evident in attacks elsewhere. For example, the Toronto shooter's family had already had a strategist craft and release a statement alleging mental health concerns, while the shaken witnesses reported his calculating and methodical attack. It seems like political statements override the testimony of the people who were present. These incidents are not merely reported but fashioned by what is comfortable to say out loud. The investigative process on this issue sometimes seems to treat certain motives as taboo and does not always seem to allow for all reasons to be analysed and considered. In the aftermath of the Danforth shooting there seemed to be a strange effort by some media to point out the religion of two Torontonians, a restaurant worker and a doctor, who helped victims in the course of their work as if to dilute the plausible religious motivation of the shooter. Such efforts are also being attempted with this terrorist attack in Manchester.
Mr Chowdhry continued:
"It is bizarre how media attempts to use these terrorist attacks to praise Islam and soften this horrific incident into a 'heartwarming' story as the entire city of Manchester has been violated.
If a helpful individual performs their basic civic duty or happen to be wearing a hijab they a member of the community. They were also terrorised by the incident.
Those spin-doctors exploiting their religion as a headliner to be reported show the real media focus is not on the victims or the greater community at all. This media ploy diminishes their simple camaraderie with those under attack when they single out a Muslim doing the right thing by a fellow citizen as sometime extraordinary or unusual." (click here)
"We need to focus on searching for solutions to address the harmful issues cause by the rise of Islamist ideology in the UK.
Terrorist organisations are also adept at exploiting vulnerable people to do their bidding. Whatever may be discovered about the suspect's mental health does not negate that it was motivated by terror.
British Muslims are part of the community and many of them also care about these matters being dealt with in an honest and straightforward manner. Therefore there is no reason to hide the attacker's rationale for these attacks - we must be brave enough to tackle it.
In the case of the Manchester stabbings both the political and hate motivation is clear and because the suspect was not killed his narrative may be less likely to be re-interpreted so for all intents and purposes we should expect the assailant to speak to his own motivation."
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