Manchester bomber Salman Abedi no more represents Muslims than Jo Cox's killer represents white people, says Andy Burnham

‘This was an act of extremism, it doesn't represent any religion'

Narjas Zatat
Wednesday 24 May 2017 09:29
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Andy Burnham says attacker represents Muslims no more than Jo Cox's killer represents white people

The suicide bomber who attacked the stadium after Ariana Grande's concert does not represent Muslims, in the same way that Thomas Mair, the man who killed Jo Cox does not represent “white Christians”, the mayor of Greater Manchester has said.

In a televised interview after the terror event which caused the death of 22 people – many of whom were children – Andy Burnham said: “We won’t let this act of terrorism divide us from one another. Those who would like to make it all the responsibility of the Muslim community well, I’m afraid that is wrong.

“This is an extremist act and the person who did it in no more represents the Muslim community than the person who killed Jo Cox represents the white Christian community.”

Mr Mair had reportedly shouted “Britain First” a number of times before shooting and then stabbing the Labour MP one week before the European Union referendum.

Brendan Cox, the widower of the murdered MP, responded to the attack by urging people to remain united.

In a Twitter post, he wrote: “Thinking of every family whose lives have been destroyed today by a cowardly, hate-filled attack. So much pain and so pointless.

"People who use this to push hatred are doing exactly what the terrorists want. Division & hate make us weak, Unity & Resolve make us strong.”

Of the Manchester attack, Mr Burnham was clear: “It’s an act of extremism and people need to remember that at all times.”

His comments come in the wake of the most serious terrorist attack in Britain since the 7/7 suicide bombings taking 52 lives.

The Manchester Arena attacker has been identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, who carried out the crime with a home-made bomb.

Isis claimed responsibility for the attack, and the terrorist group released a statement in several languages through its central media body.

The English version said: "With Allah's grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah [caliphate] managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the crusaders in the British city of Manchester.”

Chief Constable Hopkins said investigators believe the attack was perpetrated by a lone bomber “carrying” a homemade device.

In a visit to Manchester shortly after the event, Theresa May called the attack “appalling, sickening.”

She said: “We struggle to understand the warped and twisted mind that sees a room of young people as an opportunity for carnage.”

The Prime Minister has since raised the terrorist threat level to ‘critical’, the highest level, indicating an attack is thought to be imminent.

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