London Bridge Attacker profiles

Three men perpetrated the attack last Saturday night in the London Bridge and Borough Market areas. All three men have been identified by Scotland Yard.

The most recent attacker to be identified is 22-year-old, Moroccan-Italian Youssef Zaghba. Prior to the attack, he had been living in East London and working at a restaurant. Although the Italian police previously prevented him from travelling to Syria via Istanbul to allegedly join ISIS fighting, they did not share this information with British intelligence and Zaghba was not known to British authorities. He was born in Morocco and lived there most of his life.His mother lives in Italy, as she is separated from his father.

One of the other attackers, Khuram Butt, was known to police and MI5 but police had no understanding of this attack. Butt appeared in a Channel 4 TV documentary called, “The Jihadis Next Door” and was banned from his East London mosque for interrupting a sermon. He was born in Pakistan but came to the UK as a young child; he has been living in Barking, East London. He had a baby and a toddler. Butt was athletic and an Arsenal fan. He angered when he saw women cycling in his area. He played with neighbourhood children often. Butt worked for Transport for London and for a fast food restaurant.

Rachid Redouane, 30, is the third terrorist profiled in the article. He identified as Moroccan and Libyan; however, he sometimes also used the name Rachid Elkhdar. At the time of his death, he was carrying an Irish ID card, which may have helped him obtain permission to enter the UK. He lived in Dublin previously for part of 2015 and possibly 2016. He was not known to police. He was a pastry chef. He married Charisse O’Leary in 2012, a British citizen who ever converted to Islam. Recently, the couple split after disagreements over raising their now 17-month-old daughter.

London terror attacker profiled

Khalid Masood, age 52, attacked London, driving a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and stabbing a police officer who was guarding parliament. 

Masood was not born into a Muslim family. His birth name was Adrian Russell Ajao. He was born in Kent to a 17-year-old mother. In school, he was interested in football and parties. 

Masood has two daughters with Jane Harvey, his partner with whom he lived in the mid-1990s. He also has a son with another woman.  

Most of his noted criminal acts occurred before his conversion to Islam.  He was convicted for criminal damage at the age of 18. He also had convictions for assaults, weapon possession, and disturbing public order. At least two of his convictions were for knife-related assaults.

It is unclear exactly when he converted to Islam. In 2004, he married a Muslim woman, Farzana Malik but they separated a few months later as a result of Masood’s abusive actions. By 2005, he was living and working in Saudi Arabia, where he earned qualification to teach English. A few months after returning to the UK from Saudi Arabia, he began to teach English to language learners in Luton.

It is also unclear when he was radicalised; however, he spent time in 3 prisons and told a friend that he had become Muslim in jail. 

In the most recent years, he has been moving around the UK with a notable lack of stability. In about the past 5 years, he has lived in Luton, Forest Glen in East London, and Winson Green in Birmingham. Some of that time was spent incarcerated.

At his death, he was married to Rohey Hydara who did not know of the attacks in advance. His wife and mother have both expressed their condolences to the families of the victims and anger at Masood’s actions. 

Young Muslims defend decision to fly Islamic black flag at gates of east London council estate

August 13, 2014

Young Muslims today defended the flying of a black flag above the gates of an east London council estate. Youths at the gates to the Will Crooks estate, in Poplar, branded objectors to the flag – which has been adopted by some jihadist groups – as “racist”. The flag was removed yesterday for the second time following two visits from Met officers in as many days. It was hung there alongside the Palestinian flag as part of an “end the siege in Gaza” protest.

Today one youth outside the estate said: “It’s just racists complaining. If it was the St George’s flag, it would be alright. But this is our version and there’s this big reaction.”

Another added: “I don’t understand why it has caused so much reaction. All it is a declaration of the belief in Allah. It’s not the ISIS flag.”

A Met spokesman said they first attended on Friday but the flag had been removed when they arrived. “It was not an ISIS flag. There are no criminal offences arising from this incident.”

‘Muslim Patrol’ vigilante pleads guilty to assault and threats

October 18, 2013

 

A Muslim convert who was part of an east London gang of self-styled vigilantes calling themselves the “Muslim Patrol” pleaded guilty in court on Friday to assaulting two people in the street. Jordan Horner, 19, admitted two charges of assault and using threatening words and behaviour in January this year.

The group threatened to kill non-believers and “shank” them, meaning stab them. They also uploaded videos to YouTube criticising non-Muslims for being inappropriately dressed. Horner and his group allegedly said: “Why are you poisoning your body? It is against Islam. This is Muslim Patrol. Kill the non-believers.” One then told another to “go get the shank” in reference to a knife, but as the group of men started walking away Horner threw punches at two of them, hitting one in the jaw.

The actions of the “Muslim Patrol” were condemned by the East London mosque, which described them as “utterly unacceptable and clearly designed to stoke tensions and sow discord”.

During that incident, he pushed one photographer outside the Walthamstow house of the radical preacher Anjem Choudary two days after Drummer Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich on 22 May. He also threatened to cut off the head of another photographer, before causing £3,000 of damage to her car.

He will be sentenced at the end of the trial.

 

The Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/18/muslim-patrol-vigilante-guilty-assault

East London mosque awaits EDL march with fear and frustration

Among staff at the East London mosque, the sense of anger at plans by the English Defence League to demonstrate nearby on Saturday is amplified by their belief that there are more constructive things they could be doing with their time than planning how to respond to the far-right group. The far-right group’s latest attempt to march into Tower Hamlets has been banned from entering the heart of the borough, where the mosque is, but it will still pass too close for comfort.

 

The EDL is expected to muster between 1,000 and 2,000 supporters, while the court heard that several thousand people were expected to turn out to oppose it, making it one of the biggest anti-fascist demonstrations of recent years. The EDL’s failure to overturn the route restriction was some relief to Khan given that EDL marches have a tendency to descend into violence and when they have previously attempted to enter the area thousands of young Muslims have gone out on to the streets to oppose them.

 

Khan says the EDL first focused on East London mosque after an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches into the mosque and the group that runs it, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), in 2007. The programme accused the IFE of seeking to change society in accordance with Islamist values and the mosque of hosting hate preachers, including people who voice homophobic views, accusations which continue to be levelled at it. Khan rejects outright any suggestion that the mosque harbours or condones extremists. While acknowledging there have been instances in the past where people with unpalatable views have preached at the mosque he insists that these were usually at events organised by outside groups and that the mosque has tightened up its vetting procedures. But he said it was impossible to check on every previous statement of every possible preacher, especially when they are sometimes in Arabic (which he does not speak).

 

In praise of … the Maryam Centre

A month after a mosque in north London was destroyed in an arson attack, it is heartening to see that East London Mosque in Whitechapel is expanding. When it gets fully under way, the Maryam Centre will offer a range of projects and services for women in the community – a prayer hall, counselling, and a gym – as well as house a school and a visitor centre for non-Muslims. The centre will make the mosque very much more than just a provider of religious services. With 25,000 worshipers attending a week, and that is outside Ramadan, the mosque has already become a key hub for the community. Its original purpose in 1910 was as a place of worship for sailors and travellers who came to Tower Hamlets. It took most of the last century to establish a permanent base in Whitechapel. Today it is the living and growing answer to those on the extreme right who vilify mosques as the home of fundamentalists.

English Defence League leaders arrested on way to Woolwich

Two English Defence League leaders arrested as they attempted to visit the spot where Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered have been released on bail. EDL leader Tommy Robinson and his co-leader Kevin Carroll were detained by police on suspicion of obstructing officers outside Aldgate East station in east London as they attempted to stage what they claimed was a charity walk to Woolwich Barracks via the East London Mosque. Scotland Yard said it had imposed conditions due to fears that both the march and gathering would “result in serious public disorder and serious disruption to the life of the community” and a breach of the conditions would be a criminal offence. The police said attempts had been made to discuss the march and gathering with the EDL and offered it two alternative routes that avoided Tower Hamlets, home to the East London Mosque.

East London Mosque opens doors to non-Muslims

A Mosque in East London is opening its doors to non-Muslims in an attempt to promote a better understanding of Islam and what goes on inside the building. Members of the local community are invited to take a look inside the mosque, observe prayers and ask questions about the religion. In response to a video appearing online earlier this year showing men shouting homophobic abuse at another man in east London, telling him to “get out of here” as “it is a Muslim area”, the East London Mosque condemned the actions of the self-styled ‘Muslim patrol’. “We felt like because this was an issue right on our doorstep we had to speak out about that one.” One of the members of the mosque said that “Some people want to ask simple questions like whether as non-Muslims they’re allowed to come in the mosque. Others make pretty broad requests like ‘what is Islam?“. According to the report an increasing number of mosques were holding similar events. Following the influence of groups like the English Defence League wanting to vilify mosques saying they are full of fundamentalists who don’t want to engage with mainstream society the members of the mosque feel they have a role to play in changing that view.

 

Meeting Featuring Anti-Gay Islamist Canceled by University of East London

20 March 2013

 

A meeting featuring Khalid Yashin, an anti-gay Islamist preacher, scheduled to be hosted by the University of East London (UEL) last Friday, 15 March, was canceled after lobbying by the UEL LGBT Society and the Peter Tatchell Foundation. The meeting was scheduled to be held on the UEL Stratford campus.

 

Khalid Yashin has previously said that homosexuality and lesbianism are sins and aberrations and has endorsed the execution of gay people. Yahin’s controversial positions and the insistence of the event organizers on gender segregated seating prompted a backlash by university groups and human rights organizations, who claim that such events are contrary to the tolerant university environment.

 

The UEL student union issued a statement announcing the cancelation of the event, but neither they nor the UEL administration issued a public denunciation of Khalid Yashin’s positions or of his invitation to speak on campus.

Muslim speaks out against Muslim ‘vigilantes’

27 January 2013

 

Last week East London witnessed so-called “vigilante patrols” by a handful of “radical Muslim” men targeting women, gays and public drinkers. When the videos of harassment became available on YouTube, it caused widespread public outrage and the police launched an investigation and have arrested six people who were then bailed out.

 

According to the Independent, locals say the “patrols” have failed to spark the kind of inter-communal animosity they were hoping to achieve with their attacks. Yet the Muslim groups strongly condemned the incident calling it “abhorrent”.

Shaikh Shams Ad Duha, principle of  the Ebrahim College in East London, in a sermon at East London Mosque which was placed on YouTube and has been viewed 20,000 times in less than a week, lambasted the men in the video for being “complete bigots” who were contravening Islamic law, not enforcing it.

Muslim Council of Britain and other Muslim organizations have also condemned the “vigilantes”.