May 2020 Blog Archive
22 May 2020 by CST
May 2020 marks the third anniversary of the suicide bombing attack at the Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom. The attack was carried out by Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old of Libyan descent born in the city of Manchester. While it is still not clear, as a matter of public record, whether the Islamic State played a direct role in the attack, Abedi knew several British extremists who joined the group. He was close friends with a key U.K.-based recruiter for the group and reportedly met with Islamic State fighters in Libya. Three years after the attack, his younger brother, Hashem, was tried and convicted in the United Kingdom of assisting and encouraging him to carry out the atrocity. The operational phase of the attack took place over a period of at least five months. The road to Salman and Hashem Abedi’s attack, however, did not emerge in a vacuum. No one else has been charged in connection to the plot, but there were clusters of British-Libyan Islamists in Manchester and Libya, some of whom had connections to al-Qa`ida, the Islamic State, and other extremist groups, over two generations. The two brothers were raised within this Islamist milieu. From a young age, they had close family links to significant extremist figures in their community and later developed their own friendships with local jihadis. This context may have indirectly contributed to a culture in which the two brothers hatched their plan.
21 May 2020 by CST
Tomorrow marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby. While on an off duty walk close to the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, Rigby was accosted, attacked and killed by two armed jihadis.
13 May 2020 by CST
A year ago this week, on 17 May 2019, Jack Renshaw was sentenced to life imprisonment for his attempt to murder a Member of Parliament and a senior police officer in what would have been a shocking act of neo-Nazi terrorism. Renshaw’s path from far right student activist to would-be neo-Nazi terrorist is an example of the danger of hateful extremism, and the power of the violent rhetoric that permeates Britain’s far right. It is also a chilling reminder that hatred of Jews lies at the core of neo-Nazi ideology: while discussing his terror plot with his closest colleagues, Renshaw considered attacking a synagogue.