Friends and family of the terror suspect, Salih Khater, have insisted that the incident was an accident, describing him as “quiet” and “very smiley,” though eyewitnesses have cast doubt on these claims, alleging that the vehicle deliberately ran over cyclists and pedestrians.
Mohamed Ahmed, founder and executive director at the Average Mohamed foundation, which seeks to tackle intolerance and extremism, told Sputnik he believes it was indeed a terror attack.
“I believe this was an attack. He was found scouting locations all across the city. Their goal is to maximize carnage and terrorize the country. By killing randomly, they reinforce the concept that no one is safe from extremists,” Mr. Ahmed said.
Mr. Ahmed described the attacks, which appear to have been carried out in retaliation to the suspected terror plot, as “unwarranted,” saying, “They create an atmosphere of hate and actually have the same intentions as extremists. Political violence in exchange of religious extremism. Two peas in a pod.”
“Both end up promoting discord and scare the societies. No one feels safe.”
Meanwhile, Imam Mansoor Clarke, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s regional London missionary, told Sputnik it’s “difficult” to directly link the attacks with one another.
He proceeded to say that the contemporary political climate in Britain “has led to a polarization of the public be that in terms of politics, or sentiments towards particular religious or ethnic groups,” and called for more “community bridge-building” by the government and campaigning groups, such as the foundation he represents.
Furthermore, Imam Clarke said, “Radicalization is rooted in ignorance and an inability to channel one-self in a positive fashion. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Organization is the biggest Muslim youth group in the UK and proudly says that not one of its youth has fallen prey to this disease. This is achieved through an encouragement towards education, volunteering for the sake of others and a continuous platform to channel positive expression through a plethora of avenues.”
Authorities have thwarted dozens of terror plots in the UK, but extremists are now favoring ramming and knife attacks instead of suicide bombings or shootings, making it increasingly difficult for intelligence agencies to identify and stop would-be terrorists in their tracks.
The views and opinions expressed by the speakers in this article are their own and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.