Douglas Murray Douglas Murray

The known wolf

Cries of ‘what can it mean?’ always follow a terror attack. It seems we’re incapable of learning anything

The meeting place of the two worlds could not have been more sharply defined. In Manchester Arena, thousands of young women had spent the night singing and dancing at a show in Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman tour. Songs such as the hit ‘Side To Side’ were performed: ‘Tonight I’m making deals with the devil/ And I know it’s gonna get me in trouble…/ Let them hoes know.’

Waiting for them in the foyer as they streamed out was Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22-year-old whose Libyan parents settled in the UK after fleeing the Gaddafi regime. A man whose neighbours said he must have been radicalised in Manchester, ‘all those types’ having been driven out of Tripoli. So it was that on their exit from the Manchester Arena, these young women — out for nothing more than a good night — met a literalist from the Islamic faith. A man for whom the concept of a ‘dangerous woman’ was not a joke, not about ‘empowerment’ and certainly not a metaphor. Abedi would have believed it was real: devil, hoes, the lot.

Douglas Murray and Haras Rafiq discuss what can be done:

Even after all these years, all these attacks and all these dead, the West still keeps asking the same question after events like those of Monday night: ‘Who would do such a thing?’ The answer is always the same. Sometimes the culprits are home-grown. Sometimes they are recent arrivals. Sometimes they have been in the West for generations, eat fish and chips and play cricket. Sometimes — like last month’s attacker in Stockholm, or last year’s suicide bomber in Ansbach, Germany — they arrived in Europe just a few months earlier. Sometimes people claim the perpetrator is a lone wolf, unknown to the authorities. More often it turns out (in a term coined by Mark Steyn) to be a known wolf, in the peripheral vision of the security services.

Yet still our society wonders: what would make someone do such a thing? The tone of bafflement is strange — like a society that keeps asking a question, but keeps its fingers lodged firmly in its ears whenever it is given the answer.

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