Friday, May 26, 2017

Learning about the Manchester terrorist

Four reporters for the Guardian write about the Manchester terrorist, Salman Abedi.
...Abedi was not very bright, according to former schoolmates and teachers, and was a victim of bullying who struggled to control his aggression and frequently got into fights, sometimes because he objected to the morals of others, sometimes for no discernible reason at all.

He hung out with a criminal gang in his neighbourhood in south Manchester, a tiny geographical area where there was recruitment to Islamic terrorist groups. His family, active in the local mosque and community, had concerning connections to a militia in his parents’ home country of Libya that has been linked to al-Qaida and is banned in the UK. His father left Abedi in Manchester on his own when he was 17, an age at which he was vulnerable, perhaps, to falling under other influences.

Most troubling of all is the fact that Abedi’s extremism was not a secret. He was still a teenager when friends rang a police counter-terrorism hotline five years ago to express concerns about his behaviour. On at least four other occasions, community leaders and members of his family were reported to have warned of his dangerous tendencies.

...Friends recalled that he was not very devout as a younger teenager, and was teased about his prominent ears and given the nickname Dumbo. “He would drink, it was mainly vodka, and smoke weed,” said one school friend who knew him for seven years. “He was always clubbing or at house parties. He was always popular with women at the parties.”

...One friend said Abedi started fights in the street for no reason, while another told of an incident in which he punched a female classmate in the head, saying “he could have killed her”, because he didn’t approve of what she was wearing.

...according to a neighbour, the departure of Ramadan Abedi to Libya was the trigger for his second son to go “off the rails ... He suddenly had all this freedom and started partying loads”. But after one trip to see his parents, which some said occurred 18 months ago, Abedi became increasingly devout and judgmental.

He fell in with a new crowd of “Libyan and Arab guys”, according to a friend, who said: “He started university, but started shutting himself off and no longer hung around big rowdy groups, he was always by himself.

“He started ignoring old friends and wouldn’t look them in the eye. He lowered his gaze and looked at the ground when he walked past people. He became more studious, more religious.”
Read more here.

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