A suicide bomber responsible for the Manchester Arena terror attack gave an imam a “hateful look” after campaigning against extremism, an investigation has heard.
Mohammed Saeed al-Seiti, the former imam of Didsbury Mosque, gives evidence for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attack of Salman Abedi at a pop concert on May 22, 2017.
Twenty-two people were killed and hundreds were injured, mainly women and young girls.
Mr. al-Seti’s sermon rallied against the so-called Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Libyan militia groups such as Ansar al-Sharia and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, which he referred to as “dogs of hell” in his mosque sermon. referenced. ,
Mr al-Seti said that at the end of the sermon a man took away the microphone from him and accused him of professing political views.
He said: “This man was a cardiologist. I told him he should be ashamed to defend Isis. I told him in front of the congregation.”
Mr. Al-Seti said: “I was talking about the sanctity of human life. That’s why I didn’t mention political groups. I’m not affiliated with any political party, I’m basically combating terrorism and extremism. Was.”
He said that, shortly after one of his speeches against Isis, he passed Manchester-born 22-year-old Salman in a corridor of the mosque, adding: “He gave me a disgusting look. He showed me that he didn’t like me basically.
A few weeks after the sermon, Salman and his brother Hashem, 20, sat “very close” to the pulpit and Mr. Al-Seiti said that he could see from Salman’s face that “he was not pleased with me”.
Mr al-Seti said: “One of the congregation told me that he had sent his children to sit behind him, ‘if they can do something to you’.”
His speech also prompted a petition for his dismissal with online death threats from signatories including Salman’s brothers Hashem and Ismail.
He said he called Salman’s father, Ramzan Abedi, because he believed his Facebook post had asked him to step down, causing damages against him.
Mr. al-Seti said: “They told me ‘You talked about Ansar al-Sharia’s brothers’. He said, ‘I know them, they are good people’. So I told them they are terrorists, They beheaded, killed.”
At the time of his sermon in October 2014, Ansar al-Sharia was a banned terrorist group in the US, and a month later the organization was banned in the UK.
He said Ismail also confronted him outside Didsbury Mosque and criticized him for speaking against the “brothers”.
The Libyan-born Mr al-Seti told the investigation that he had raised concerns over the regular “secret meetings” of Libyans supporting such extremist organizations held at the mosque in 2015 and 2016, which he allowed by the mosque’s trustees.
But, he said, as far as he is aware, the majority of Libyans who attended the mosque, also known as the Manchester Islamic Center, were opponents of the late Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi.
He was among those sympathetic to terrorist groups in Benghazi and that “some of them signed the petition”.
The mosque’s president, Fawzi Hafar, has denied any such meeting and called Mr al-Seiti a “liar”, after calling it redundant.
Mr Haffer said Didsbury Mosque was “in the middle of the street, mainstream” and dismissed any suggestion that it was not enough to address whether members of its congregation were being radicalised.
The investigation also revealed that Salman’s brother Ismail (28) facilitated Quran-reading classes at the mosque between February 2014 and July 2017, while there was “significant” extremist material on his electronic devices during that time.
In August, Ismail was allowed to leave the UK a month after being called to provide evidence for the investigation.
His father Ramzan regularly called for prayers at the mosque and his mother Samiya worked there as a teacher, interrogators have heard.
Both parents are currently in the Libyan capital Tripoli, while under surveillance by the authorities, and remain suspects in the bombing.
A Libyan security source said there was no evidence against the parents, who had left Britain a month before the attack, the BBC reported.
Libya extradited Hashem to the UK in 2019 and is now serving a 55-year prison sentence for his role in the atrocities.
Salman is believed to have fought against the Gaddafi regime during school holidays during Ramadan, when he was just 16, the BBC also reported.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /