The terrorists behind the London Bridge attack were heard saying ‘this is for Allah’ as they plunged 12 in-knives into their victims – but just like in the wake of many recent terror strikes, the muddy truth behind their religious fraudulence is already bubbling to the surface.
On Monday, less than 48 hours after the tragedy that claimed seven lives unfolded across the capital, a similar narrative has emerged that, as Muslim leaders were quick to point out on Sunday, no way reflects their religion and the teachings of Islam.
Before the cordon has even been lifted around the crime-scene, where the trio’s corpses’ lay eight minutes after they began their assault, details have emerged about one of the men that shows he was as phoney as the canister-laded suicide vests the jihadi trio strapped to their chests.
Police have tonight named two of the men behind the van and blade rampage as Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane, 30, both from Barking.
Pakistan-born Butt – known only as Abz – had been banned from his mosque, was a drug user, and had a reputation as a “shady” character. And he died wearing an Arsenal shirt.
The 27-year-old’s murderous metamorphosis has striking similarities with those of several other terrorists whose Islamic State claimed attacks have rocked the UK and Europe during the past two years.
Counter-terrorism experts have told HuffPost UK that social issues are a common thread linking terrorists as they often “fall through the cracks” of society after becoming “disaffected, voiceless and isolated” within their communities.
Khalid Masood, whose Westminster Bridge methodology is suspected of inspiring the latest strike, was said to have previously slept with prostitutes, smoked crack cocaine and waved knifes in peoples faces.
His former landlady told the Independent he was a “madman” and “not a real Muslim”. The 52-year-old, who killed four pedestrians with his car before knifing PC Keith Palmer to death on March 22, had prior convictions for criminal damage and possession of a knife.
Salman Abedi, who killed 22 and injured more than a hundred others after detonated a bomb at Manchester Arena a fortnight ago, was a university drop-out who drank and smoked cannabis and was kicked-out of his local mosque.
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks – a co-ordinated shooting and bombing spree that left 130 dead – it was revealed that one of the terrorists, Ibrahim Abdeslam, spent his days smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol. And his terror gang, it was claimed at the time, may have been high on a cocktail of drugs when they carried out their killing-spree as needles, syringes and plastic tubes were found in their hotel room. However, it was also suggested the equipment could have been used to load suicide belts with explosives.
Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who killed 84, by using a 19-tonne trucks to mow down crowds in Nice on Bastille Day, in July 2016, also had a history of substance abuse and violence.
His wife’s cousin, Walid Hamou, said he was “not a Muslim but a shit”.
Hamou told MailOnline: “Bouhlel was not religious. He did not go to the mosque, he did not pray, he did not observe Ramadan. He drank alcohol, ate pork and took drugs. This is all forbidden under Islam.
“He was not a Muslim, he was a shit. He beat his wife, my cousin, he was a nasty piece of work.”
Professor Tahir Abbas, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told HuffPost UK that terrorists from “marginalised” communities like Abz, often turn to anti-social behaviour, which made them easy targets for radicalisation.
Abbas said white males were affected in the same way in Britain, and radicalised, but instead of projecting those feelings globally, their dissatisfaction was “very localised” and they demonstrated “hyper-nationalism” and a “warped sense of history and patriotism”.
The professor said he had been trying to steer the argument away from terrorism solely being an issue of an “evil ideology” for 10 years and said there had been “no new ideas” about how to tackle it.
On Sunday, both the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Muslim Council of Britain, explained how the London Bridge attack was at odds with their religion.
In condemning the attack, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Iman, Abdul Quddus said: “Islam is a religion that says if you kill an innocent soul it’s akin to killing the whole of humanity and if you save an innocent soul it’s akin to saving the whole of humanity. And Muslim means the one who protects the rights of others. A true Muslim, he only has two purposes. One is fulfilling the rights of God, and second is to fulfil the rights of his fellow beings.”
The Muslim Council of Britain Harun Khan said: “Muslims everywhere are outraged and disgusted at these cowards who once again have destroyed the lives of our fellow Britons.”
Khan said the fact the attack happened in the month of Ramadan, when many Muslims were praying and fasting, “only goes to show that these people respect neither life nor faith”.
In a blog for HuffPost UK on Monday, former counter-terrorism chief, Jim Gamble was clear that religion was not relevant to any conversation about terrorism: “This is about terrorists, individuals who use violence for their political ends. Only the fool with no knowledge of terrorism would associate criminal acts with a faith or community.”