October 26th, 2021.
It is now over a week since the tragic murder of Sir David Amess, the Essex MP.
I have deliberately waited for a period of time before commenting so that I can allow the emotional reaction to drain away and lay down what I hope are rational thoughts.
It is hard to prioritise my comments which are very much a representation of my own views. No doubt others may have different priorities.
Sir David was a staunch Catholic and his family and faith were important to him. He wasn’t a fanatic and could still smile at his religion. He often showed people a boiled sweet that he carried with him. He had been granted an audience with the Pope and was nervously fingering his wrapped sweet. The Pope, thinking that it was a relic immediately blessed it. Since then, Sir David carried it with pride and a wry smile.
The way the police handled the situation as Sir David lay dying was very disappointing as they refused to allow Sir David’s priest access to administer the last rites. The police claimed that the reason for the refusal to grant access to a dying man was because “we didn’t want to hinder the gathering of evidence”. Given that they had a suspect in custody and eyewitnesses they could only have been referring to forensic evidence, which in this case would have little part to play in bringing the suspect to trial.
I have no axe to grind as far as religions are concerned but acknowledging that beliefs are important to many people it seems inhumane and barbaric to deny a dying man access to one of the cornerstones of his beliefs. Collecting evidence is one reason why the police close motorways for as long as 15 hours. In Germany, an autobahn accident may result in a closure for a couple of hours, but their main concern is to get traffic moving again. Two countries, two different priorities.
Much has been made in the UK of the brutal nature of politics and the uncaring aspects of society coming to the fore. At the Labour party conference, the deputy leader, Angela Rayner, referred to all Conservatives as “Tory Scum”. This kind of political behaviour had no part to play in the murder of Sir David.
As details of the murder began to unfold, it was reported that the suspect held in custody was a 25-year-old British citizen. It then came to light that he was a British citizen of Somali ancestry. As time went by it was revealed that he had been on the police radar for a while and was known to them,
He had been referred to Prevent in 2014.
The suspect in the killing of the MP David Amess received extensive support under the government’s Channel counter-terrorism programme before his case was closed, the Guardian has learned.
Ali Harbi Ali was first referred to Prevent, the early intervention scheme designed to turn people away from the risk of supporting violence, as a teenager in 2014.
Ali was referred to the scheme while he was attending an educational establishment in London in 2014 over concerns about him being drawn towards an Islamist ideology. A source with knowledge of the case said: “He went through the process and was discharged.”Source The Guardian 19 October 2021.
Everyone has been treading lightly around the subject, but it is clear now that the suspect was radicalised and carried out what is clearly a terrorist act, prompted by external sources and not a lone wolf attack.
He may have perpetrated the deed (still alleged) but he was obviously influenced by external Islamic sources. Until the UK starts to face up to reality and has an honest discussion about the impact of Islam there can be no solution to this conflict and society will become ever more divided.
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