Report into London Bridge terror attack won’t name killer Usman Khan

From Staffordshire Live (on-line presence of The Burton Mail), and The Times 

The name of a Staffordshire terrorist who killed two people in the London Bridge attacks is to be removed from a council report over concerns, including it could play into the hands of far right extremists. The report was prepared by staff at Staffordshire county council in response to a “prevention of future deaths report”, written by coroner Mark Lucraft KC, which does name Khan.

Usman Khan was responsible for the attack at Fishmongers Hall in 2019. He fatally wounded Prisoner Education Scheme volunteers Saskia Jones, 23, and 25-year-old Jack Merritt at an event to help ex-offenders. He was shot dead by police.

At a meeting of Staffordshire County Council’s Safeguarding Overview and Scrutiny Committee this week, which was receiving the chief coroner’s report outlining how future deaths could be prevented following the inquests of Khan’s two victims, debate focused on the inclusion of Khan’s name in the report.

One member claimed that including Khan’s name and ethnic background could provoke an increase in hate crime, while an opponent said the authority should be wary of “watering down” information that was in the public domain.

At the meeting, Councillor Gillian Pardesi said: “Can I suggest those two details are removed please? My concern is that mentioning the name of this person, who happens to be of Pakistani descent, further demonises the Muslim community and it embeds in people out there a stereotypical profile of what an extremist is.

“We are in dire financial straits as a country and the far-right in particular will look for scapegoats to exploit that situation. Unfortunately, that has meant, and will continue to mean, a further rise in hate crime and attacks on our Muslim members in particular. It also detracts from the fact that we have, in the world as a whole, a far more far-right and neo-Nazi threat than we have now of Islamist jihads. The NSPCC recently reported that a record number of our children are now being groomed by the far-right.” This is nonsense, but insidious.

Councillor Bob Spencer, who chaired the meeting, disagreed. He said: “I think the expression of how that translates into the far-right threat is not 100 per cent clear. I don’t think it’s a fact that the far-right threat is the greatest threat of terrorism in this country – far from it. . . if we are simply mirroring or echoing the phrases and words already used by the coroner, that gives it the requisite validity around us using those as well. I think this is public knowledge and within the public domain – we’re not telling people something that they don’t know. I don’t see the value personally in changing the language of Home Office reports. I do worry about us constantly watering down facts.”

Dr Alan Mendoza, of the anti-extremism think tank the Henry Jackson Society, said that attempts to “airbrush” the facts could backfire. “Far from reducing the risk of far-right extremism, the removal of Khan’s name could see misinformation spread rapidly online and develop into a false narrative of a ‘cover-up’,

We know that the authorities are trying to play down the Islam in Islamic terrorism, and play up the threat of ‘right-wing’ terror.  I heard this with my own ears this spring when I attended “anti-terror” training for a church Easter event.

I also heard of the on-line “Preventing Radicalisation” course required for a friend who has an admin job in a school.  Right wing terror is the only game in town at the moment. The case study featured a teenage boy who expressed views roughly similar to our own.  The treatment given him was he was required to attend a multi-cultural youth club where he would learn to mix with people of diversity. The authorities are taking us for fools, as usual. I fear they doth protest too much. 

Trying to cover up the jihadi background of Usman Khan will fool no-one, and may well open a few more eyes.