The brutality unfurled at approximately 10.30pm on May 22, at the conclusion of a concert by US singer Ariana Grande. The attack took place in the arena's foyer, sending hundreds scurrying in terror, separating many young attendees from their parents and leaving dozens bloodied with severe shrapnel injuries.
Celebrities and members of the public the world over immediately began flooding Twitter with messages of condolence and dismay — although optimism's flame also burned brightly.
broken.— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 23, 2017
from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words.
I'm a proud Mancunian and had memorable nights at the arena.the people are what make Manchester.stay strong, proud and stick together x— Ricky Hatton MBE (@HitmanHatton) May 23, 2017
Terror has no religion, language or country. The ones who massacre innocent people are enemies of all humanity. Stay together! #Manchester— Burak Bersoy (@burakbersoy) May 23, 2017
However, while authorities are yet to identify the perpetrator, some social media users began blasting messages of hatred and blame, directed at the UK's Muslim population. In turn, others lambasted their statements.
@SaveUSA1776 I have a good idea. Let's piss off more Muslims with mindless Islamophobia. That should help.— TheBardAsPundit (@jesswinfield) May 23, 2017
How are some people using this tragic event as a way to spread their islamophobia. This is world is so sick. Praying for all the victims.— Sami (@iPlayNicely) May 23, 2017
Don't use #Manchester incident as an excuse for Islamophobia. Stand with our beautiful Muslim siblings & don't scapegoat innocent people.— Quen Took (@gentlemandyke) May 23, 2017
Such bigotry was notable in its generality, but one individual — Roshan Salih, editor of British Muslim news site 5Pillars — found himself the victim of baseless direct allegations and criticism.
@Nervana_1 why do you think I approve of the attack or something?— Roshan M Salih (@RmSalih) May 23, 2017
@Nervana_1 frankly I don't like what you seem to be insinuating. Then you get idiots retweeting you.— Roshan M Salih (@RmSalih) May 23, 2017
"I find it amazing the first thought of some people is to attack me on social media, making political points. Haven't they got anything better to do? They seem to be suggesting I had inside information, or assuming that I should've condemned it at least. I had absolutely nothing to do with this shocking attack — why should I condemn it? I was asleep when it happened, and heard about it first at 6am, when I woke up. I'm now on my way to Manchester to report on the event, as a journalist. Maybe I'll form some opinions when I get there," Mr. Salih told Sputnik.
Nonetheless, Mr. Salih is disturbed by the reflexive apportioning of responsibility to Islam.
"As soon as an attack like this happens, Muslims as a whole get scapegoated — we don't know who did this or what their motive was, yet straight away the entire community is under the spotlight," he added.