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Westminster attack was “revenge against western military action” police reveal

Security services have revealed that the Westminster attacker’s motive was “revenge against western military action against Muslim countries in the Middle East.”

In an exclusive,[1] the Independent has learnt that the security services have obtained a WhatsApp message by Adrian Russell Ajao (a.k.a. Khalid Masood) sent minutes before he killed 5 and injured 50 in Westminster last month. In the message he explicitly stated the motive of the attack being revenge against western foreign policy, contrary to various myths surrounding so-called “radicalisation”.

ISIS supporters on social media were quick to claim responsibility for the attack on 22 March, as is usual in order to inflate their sense of importance and reach—sadly in partnership with many sensationalist media outlets across the country happy to oblige. However, there was no evidence for ISIS involvement, with even reports of them getting “their soldier’s” name wrong when claiming responsibility,[2] leading to the police ruling out any connection with the group early on in the investigation.

The security services described the way in which they accessed Masood’s message as “human and technical intelligence”, stating they could not disclose details of the method for security reasons, but adding that they now have the technical expertise to repeat the process in the future. Home Secretary Amber Rudd made the headlines shortly after the attack calling for more surveillance powers,

“It’s completely unacceptable. There should be no place for terrorists to hide. We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.”[3]

But civil liberties campaigners as well as technology analysis fought back highlighting the absurdity of effectively removing everyone’s privacy because of the actions of an incredibly small minority of people. Furthermore, measures like encryption are not only essential to prevent unwarranted state spying but to keep people’s information safe from hackers and criminals attempting to gain access to sensitive information.

“They” don’t “hate our freedoms”

Although Masood had a violent past, colleagues confirmed there was no evidence of so-called “extremist” tendencies,[4] which is no surprise to anyone familiar with the causes of political violence and terrorism. As Professor Arun Kundani stated in a report reviewing peer reviewed research on the topic,

“specific kinds of extremist ideology associated with Islamism appear incidental rather than essential to the turn to violence. Having a belief in “extremist” Islam, however defined, does not correlate with involvement in terrorism. There are many good reasons for objecting to reactionary interpretations of religion but the idea that religious ideology mechanically causes terrorism is not one of them.”[5]

Unfortunately, the structural and institutional racism that exaggerates crimes commit by minorities and links them disproportionately with their “otherness”—rather than their empirically-determined motives and circumstances—means that Masood’s religious beliefs were automatically blamed for the attacks in most of the mainstream press, leading to a guilt-by-association of those who share the same religious identity. In addition, the hysteria surrounding such attacks was used by opportunists across the spectrum from assimilationist Islamophobes to isolationists, seeking to draw a wedge between practising Muslims and the rest of society, arguing that attacks such as these are born out of a hatred of “our freedoms” and invariably linked to some kind of global, existential “Islamic” threat.

Also read: #ParisAttack – Don’t Let The War Profiteers Win

It is not just the racist ignoramuses on the fringes of society that parrot George W. Bush’s infamous “they hate our freedoms” myth, but unfortunately even many MPs and commentators still seek to push such a demonstrably false narrative. Liam Fox is one MP that often and notoriously jumps at the opportunity to push such poisonous and conflict-extending rhetoric.[6] But as Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden tracking unit and the author of three acclaimed books on al-Qaeda said,

“I don’t think there are a lot of people who want to blow themselves up because my daughters go to university…People are going to come and bomb us because they don’t like what we’ve done.”[7]

When those who seek to push such myths are confronted with facts such as the stated motives of “terror attacks”, from Westminster to Lee Rigby to the 7/7 London bombings—each invariably and professedly being in retaliation to perceived injustices overseas—they accuse the academics, commentators, general public and even politicians who simply state these facts of “justifying” the terror attacks, and somehow being on the side of the perpetrators. Even the leader of the opposition was smeared as being a “terrorist sympathiser” by a sitting prime minister himself.[8] It is highly unfortunate that those with such power and influence are incapable of distinguishing between a logical cause and a moral justification—when it comes to crimes commit by “the other”. There are tragic real-world implications of this drip-fed fear and suspicion the wider public receive on a regular basis.

It is hoped that the news revealed by the Independent, despite not having been picked up by other media corporations as of yet, will go some way towards dispelling damaging myths about Muslims and terrorism. Khalid Masood did not kill and injure scores of innocent people because he was “radicalised” against so-called “British values” or because he “hated our freedoms”, but because of a sense of revenge—one of the most primal instincts of man that rarely requires an ideological justification, especially in people who are prone towards violent or antisocial behaviour. As a result, those policies—and the people who profit from them—cracking down on certain types of “radical ideology” under the pretext of “preventing terrorism” should take heed and start looking at the empirically-determined causes of terrorism, if they are indeed genuinely interested in stopping it.

The only relevant aspect of Masood’s ideology was the notion of being somehow connected to people’s suffering overseas. Whilst of course his actions were inexcusable, his empathy with those whom he perceived to be oppressed—even if, for argument’s sake, mistaken—should not be seen as some kind of indicator of an increased propensity to violence, as some seek to portray. Rather, this empathy is something all human beings should have by default, and our focus should be helping people address their grievances in a constructive way rather than silencing them.

Source: www.islam21c.com


[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/last-message-left-by-westminster-attacker-khalid-masood-uncovered-by-security-agencies-a7706561.html

[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4349832/PETER-HITCHENS-One-thing-stop-attacks.html

[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39396578

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/28/westminster-terrorist-khalid-masood-wasnt-an-islamist-says-ex-boss

[5] https://www.islam21c.com/politics/new-study-extremism-does-not-cause-terrorism-2/

[6] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11337350/Paris-attacks-They-hate-us-all-because-of-who-we-are-our-views-our-values-and-our-history.html

[7] http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/politics/2013/05/extremists-point-western-foreign-policy-explain-their-acts-why-do-we-ignor

[8] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/dec/01/cameron-accuses-corbyn-of-being-terrorist-sympathiser

About Dr Salman Butt

Salman studied Biochemistry at Imperial College London followed by a PhD in Chemical Biology, carrying out research into photosynthesis. During his years at university he became involved in Islamic society da'wah and activism, and general Muslim community projects. He is the Chief Editor and a regular contributor at Islam21c, and also has a blog on the Huffington Post.


  1. Oh thank you, it must have been a error or something that you did not allow my messages to reach you to put up on the site. My apologies.

  2. hi Islam21c team,

    I posted two comments on this article and both of them have not been displayed while others have and i’m not happy!
    failure to publish this will show your fear to publish opposing viewpoints.

  3. Watch “The BBC Film That Exposed Israel’s Secret Illegal Nuclear Weapons. https://youtu.be/dk_6CCZ0gCY

  4. Dr Butt, you should not call yourself Dr when you only have a PhD in chemical biology. I know it’s technically correct but only the most pompous people refer to themselves as doctors on the strength of a PhD. It smacks of pride and vanity and a belief one is superior to others. Are you not aware of how sinful that is considered in Islam? You have appointed yourself an authority on Islam. you see fit to tell others what to believe and how to think, yet clearly you haven’t the faintest idea about what it takes to be a decent Muslim. Even if you disregard all the twisted lies and half truths you pedal in your hatemongering essays, according to your own beliefs your vanity and pride means you are destined for the hellfire. You need to stop spreading hatred and refamiliarise yourself with the Koran. You can become a decent Muslim. perhaps then you will get the respect you so desperately crave, and even better you will realise how misguided you were in craving it in the first place.

  5. Western countries have indeed slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Moslems in the war against Islamic dictators and fundamentalists. At the same time Moslems have slaughtered ten times as many OTHER MOSLEMS in their undemocratic, militaristic, theocratic systems where Sunni and Shia copy the history of Europe, where one third of the population was killed in the Catholic-Protestant struggles.

    Europe has mostly learnt that going to war over religion is stupid. The Islamic world has not, and any Moslem who challenges their leaders over this is risking death.

  6. For the last 30 years, millions of Muslim civilians were slaughtered by American/British bombing and drone attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Northern Pakistan and now in Syria. Still hundreds of Muslim civilians are being killed on daily basis but who cares? The spirit of Crusade is still alive. Muslim lives are also matters ! West must learn to respect and tolerate those who are different.

    Today, many non-Muslims regard Islam as a religion that promotes violence, terrorism and war. Unfortunately, they rely in their view of Islam on the general media, which is not always accurate in reporting the news. Many media outlets, such as TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, are influenced by their investors or owners who have certain agendas and who want to promote certain values and points of view. Other media outlets are simply after the “big story”, in order to make more money and more profits. Others are simply “followers”, who only gather news from other sources, re-package it and try to sell it again purely as a business.

    In all these cases, the news reporting is not accurate, but is driven by ulterior motives or simply by profits. Only very few media organizations are committed to providing accurate and true information, regardless of financial gain. Therefore, people today should be very careful in what they take from the media.

    Before blindly accepting what the TV, radio or newspaper is reporting, one should think critically about what is being reported. Is this being reported accurately, or is it being exaggerated or even completely fabricated? Who are these people reporting the news, and do they have vested interests to report the story in a certain way, or are they completely objective and fair? Critical thinking is very important in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to accepting the media reports about important and controversial issues.

    Islam is in fact a religion that promotes peace and understanding among people of all faiths, and it strongly prohibits all forms of violence and aggression against all people regardless of their faith or race.

    Islam Prohibits Violence and Aggression, and stands for Peace and Justice.

    Islam clearly prohibits all kinds and forms of aggression and violence against anyone, except in self-defence. Islam is a practical religion, meant to be implemented in every aspect of our life. Therefore, it realizes the fact that a person who commits aggression and violence against others will not cease these actions unless they are deterred by similar actions taken against them.

    Islam also places very high importance on justice, and allows for aggressors and unjust people be punished accordingly, unless they repent before they are brought to justice. At the same time, Islam encourages people to forgive those who have wronged them whenever possible.

    Terror is the biggest business today at home and abroad. Everyone is a beneficiary. The government gets more clout and more powers over the lives of its hapless subjects through new terror laws and activation of old ones in an atmosphere where no one dares to question the motives of the politicians over the vital issue of “security”. Security forces get immunity for illegal acts and crimes for which they win medals, rewards, promotions and huge funds with no accountability attached.

    Newspapers and TV channels improve their circulation and ratings sensationalising real and imaginary terror stories with total impunity as no one would dare question their rightful concern for our safety and security.

    7/7 bombers have been radicalised in the context of racist schools rather than in Pakistan. Imams and Masajid are not the brainwashers of Muslim youths. It is state schools who have been mis-educating and de-educating Muslim children for the last 60 years. The media for the last 15 years have targeted Muslims as a threat to British life. Many of 9/11 and 7/7 attackers were not from the poor, down trodden, under-educated and alienated sectors of society but were well-educated, middle to upper class and from stable family backgrounds. Muslim youths suspected of carrying out blast across India, have not been educated in Madrassas but western qualified and had respectable jobs.

    • Inaccurate. Not millions. Most Muslims killed today are killed by other Muslims. West removed Saddam and Iraq descended into sectarian violence. What does it say about the current state of Islam that Iraqis would be better off living under Saddam? Similar situation in Libya. You can’t keep blaming problems in middle east on the West. West is not to blame for Islamic sectarian violence. Nor is it a crusade as Christianity is not a factor. This is just the sort of twisted rubbish Isis supporters have in their heads. Fortunately most know better and realise the reality is far more complex. That is why this sort of propaganda only strikes a chord with idiots. You seen the sort of people Isis attracts, brain dead morons, junkies and losers, people incapable of thinking and rationalising for themselves. Like the Westminster terrorist. Those are the only people fooled by this stuff. Islam may be what you claim it to be on paper but in reality it’s in crisis. All this violence carried out in the name of Islam. They scream Allau Akbar as they kill. No good claiming it’s a religion of peace. Deal with the reality, stop blaming non Muslims for the sad state of Islam. Frankly it’s pathetic.

      • Frankly, you are pathetic. Well done in exposing yourself as a non Muslim against the comment above when you attacked the author faking a Muslim voice.

        Moron in the making

        • Brother Mazin,

          1. How did he expose himself as a non-Muslim, because he disagrees with the author perhaps?

          2. Even if he is Non-Muslim, how does that refute the very VALID point he has made in his argument?

          3. What value has your comment added here? and why did you need to end it with an insult

          Frankly – I agree with Og, we should stop pointing fingers, the number of murders and casualties caused by attacks from Muslims against other Muslims should be addressed without constantly tyring to look to the US or the UK.

          Again, blaming others is the response of the irresponsible.
          Try and improve your journalism and stop attacking anyone who disagrees with you, not every critic is a Kaffir (me included)

          Wa Aleikum Salaam

    • Countless Muslims have been killed by non-Muslim military action over the centuries, for various reasons, not all, but some justified. However, for every one of those deaths there are thousands of Muslims killed by other Muslims for various reasons, including more than a million Shias killed in Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran. How many Muslims have ISIS killed? How many Al Queda?
      Lets get things in perspective and look at the history of Islam and the millions of deaths caused by its orginal conquests, and internal, endless warring.

      • If it wasn’t so sad it would always make me laugh out loud seeing ignoramuses transplant the sins of their own misguided forefathers (in their arrogant universalism) upon other peoples. They presume they know the history of Sunni/Shia politics whilst they are doing little more than regurgitating propaganda and talking points for orthodox imperial doctrines. Forget the fact that for most of Islamic history almost nobody cared about Sunni/Shia issues, case in point being 20% intermarriages before the illegal war in Iraq this muppet defended. Pathetic.

  7. Machete-wielding man demanded to know which party people supported before attacking them at Kentucky college cafe. Amazing how this politically motivated attack was not regarded as terrorism. Oh wait, its only terrorism if the perpetrator can be identified as a muslim.


    • Jalal Uddin was murdered in Rochdale by Mohammed Hussain Syeedy and Mohammed Abdul Kadir, avowed supporters of ISIS, inspired by ISIS’s doctrines. Oddly enough, that wasn’t regarded as terrorism either.

      • It only supports the view that ISIS is being used to disenfranchise the mainstream! As western mouthpieces why they did not consider it terrorism!

        Your attempt to discredit the author has squarly discredited you. Unlucky

        • If “ISIS is being used to disenfranchise the mainstream”, why do muslims in Britain who are British or Commonwealth citizens have the right to vote in today’s local election and the forthcoming general election? If you prefer, why was the murder of Asad Shah by Tanveer Ahmed regarded as inspired by religious lunacy rather than terrorism.

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