The mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham claimed in public that Salman Abedi, the man who slaughtered children in the Manchester bombing, was not a real Muslim:
“The message that I would want to get over – and this is how the vast majority of people feel – this man was a terrorist, not a Muslim.”
But how does Mr Burnham know that? It appeared that it simply was not true. Salman Abedi’s friends, who obviously knew him well, say that the truth was different. They describe him as a devout Muslim who had even memorised the Koran.
At the memorial service held after Khalid Masood had killed bystanders on Westminster Bridge, the Dean of Westminster Abbey Dr John Hall offered this reflection in his sermon:
“What happened a fortnight ago leaves us bewildered. What could possibly motivate a man to hire a car and take it from Birmingham to Brighton to London, and then drive it fast at people he had never met, couldn’t possibly know, against whom he had no personal grudge, no reason to hate them and then run at the gates of the Palace of Westminster to cause another death? It seems likely that we shall never know.”
But that wasn’t true. We did come to know – only days later. In fact, in his last WhatsApp message, sent just before he died, he had declared that he was waging jihad:
“..in revenge against Western military action in Muslim countries in the Middle East.”
Dr Hall never put the record straight.