There was good reason for not jumping to conclusions over the knife attack which happened on New Year’s Eve at the Manchester Victoria station Metrolink stop. While those out there on the far right were telling anyone who would listen that this was another act of terrorism by the Scary Muslims™, and dutifully riling up the Wall Of Gammon™, the Police were investigating, and dealing in facts, not speculation.
So it was that yesterday evening, the BBC reported that “In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said the suspect had been assessed by specialist staff and detained under the Mental Health Act … Police said there was ‘nothing to suggest’ others were involved”. No terrorist organisation has claimed the attack; it now appears to be a sad case of someone suffering some kind of mental health episode.
This prompted Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror to muse “Detention under the Mental Health Act of the Manchester Victoria stabbing suspect is a reminder why none of us, including me, should jump to conclusions”, but Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam was not having any of it. “Britain in 2019 (already). A man shouts ‘Allah hu Akbar’ and ‘long live the caliphate!’ and the police detain him under the... Mental Health Act”.
Police officer Simon Guilfoyle corrected Kassam. “He was arrested for attempted murder actually. If subsequently, MH professionals assessed that he should be deemed subject of further detention under the Mental Health Act, that is a different thing. You do get this, right?” Sadly, his reasoned intervention had no effect on the far-right idiocy.
Pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins was typical of the intolerance on display. “Let me assist you @MuslimCouncil 1) the stabbing terrorist shouted Allah Akhbar 2) the motive is Islamist terrorism 3) unequivocal condemnation is the appropriate response 4) together with the removal of him & his support network from our country”. There was more.
Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, was also riling up his base, ranting “It's a New Year but we still have the same old Islamic Terror in the UK. Another jihad attack tonight, multiple people stabbed in frenzied attack at Manchester train station by a man shouting 'Long live the Caliphate, Allahu Akbar'. Absolute Scum”. Lennon has not amended that New Year’s Eve post - typically dishonest and irresponsible.
And Battersea bedroom dweller Paul Watson followed “Muslim man stabs 3 in Manchester, screams ‘Allahu Akbar’ & ‘Long live the Caliphate’. Police & media say 'motive unknown'. At this point, they're taking the piss” with “He shouted ‘Allah’ during the attack and ‘Allahu Akbar’ as well as ‘Long live the caliphate’ after the attack, while also expressing his opposition to western foreign policy. ....Obviously a mental health issue”.
Watson’s level of engagement with reality can be gauged by claiming the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis “is home to 400,000 illegal immigrants and 160 mosques”. Its total population is 109,400, and the total number of mosques in Paris is 22. This is what feeds the paranoid narrative: smears, abuse, lies - a sewer of falsehood and misinformation.
The far right so wants there to be a real terrorist attack that they are prepared to lie through their teeth at every opportunity. This is a disgrace. And it’s got to stop.
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