WHAT turned a British citizen, born and bred in Manchester, into a jihadist who was prepared to blow himself up – and innocent young people leaving a pop concert – in his home city?
Answering this question is now fundamental to the police and security operation that is now in full swing after the cowardly extremist Salman Abedi perpetuated one of the worst terrorist attacks in this country’s history. As the world shares Manchester’s grief, the Government’s sure-footed response – including the deployment of the military to support those armed police tasked with safeguarding locations – aims to reassure.
It was inevitable that the terror threat would be raised to ‘critical’, its highest level. Until more is known about 22-year-old Abedi’s associates, every precaution necessary needs to be taken to protect Britain from a tiny minority who have nothing but hatred for this country’s cherished values.
Life must go on as normal as possible to prevent the terrorists from winning. We may have soldiers on the streets to augment the police but that won’t curtail our freedoms.
But what about the Prevent strategy? We cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend people like Abedi don’t exist. We can though, put more effort (and resource) into understanding what makes people like him so suceptible to radicalisation, and help their families and friends and communities in general recognise the signs and be confident in coming forward with concerns.