Manchester Arena attack: Muslim leaders condemn ‘horrific’ suicide bombing

Community figures insist that ‘barbaric terrorists’ will not cause division

Rachael Revesz@RachaelRevesz
Tuesday 23 May 2017 14:51
Multi-faith vigil planned for communities to show 'solidarity' towards the victims and their families
Multi-faith vigil planned for communities to show 'solidarity' towards the victims and their families

Muslim leaders have condemned the suicide attack that killed 22 people and claimed that the city would not be divided by “barbaric animals”.

Mohammed Shafiq, the chief executive of Ramadhan Foundation in Manchester, said in a statement that the deadly explosion at the Ariana Grande concert was the “darkest day” in the city’s history.

He insisted that the people of Manchester would not be divided and would instead “mourn, remember the victims and get on with our lives”.

“I love Manchester and its people - we are a resolute people and will not be divided by these barbaric animals or cowered by their violence,” he said.

He added: “We reject this barbaric terrorism, we commit to exposing the evil ideology of violence behind it and stand together with our fellow Mancunians.”

The Ramadhan Foundation, which works to build cohesion between communities, is holding a multi-faith vigil on Wednesday outside Manchester Town Hall, which will be led by Muslim scholars. The vigil, Mr Shafiq said, was a chance for “communities to come together and show unity, compassion and solidarity”.

Manchester terror attack: What we know so far

His comments come after Muslims in the UK and around the world condemned the fatal attack, triggered by a man with an improvised explosive device, killing scores of young people as they piled out of a packed stadium after a pop concert.

The death toll stands at 22 and 59 more people were injured. It has been described as the deadliest attack in the UK since the London bombings in 2005.

Harun Khan, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, described the attack as “horrific” and “criminal”.

“May the perpetrators face the full weight of justice both in this life and the next,” he said.

“I urge all those in the region and around the country to pool together to support those affected.”

Police have reportedly identified the attacker but the information has not been released. Isis has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the police have not confirmed if the attacker had any links to the extremist group.

In the chaotic aftermath, taxi drivers including Muslims were praised for offering people free lifts, water and helped to charge people’s mobile phones.

People online shared their experience of witnessing Muslim doctors and nurses working through the night to save victims, quick to defend their community against prejudice.

The MI5 said it was “revolted” by the attack and confirmed it was working with the police in its investigation as to how the attacker obtained the explosive device, how he selected his target and whether he obtained ID to enter an area so close to the arena.