The act of using simple, everyday items like a knife or a vehicle to kill people has unfortunately become increasingly popular. Less than 24 hours after the London attack, a man was arrested in Antwerp, Belgium after trying to run over people with his car near a busy shopping area. ...
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in London. The group has encouraged its supporters to kill Westerners in any way possible and has specifically advised using knives and cars. Turning us to talk about these types of terror methods, we welcome Sam Westrop, counter-terrorism expert with the Middle East Forum. Sam, is this just sort of the era that we're in now, that it's going to be cars and knives if that's all somebody can get their hands on?
I'm afraid it is. Al-Qaeda in Yemen first came up with this proposal back in 2010. They told people to get into their pickup trucks, which they referred to as the "ultimate mowing machine," and mow down the "enemies" of Allah. And since then, too, ISIS picked it up in 2014, and now, as we've seen across mainland Europe, it's becoming increasingly common. I think Europe has to wake up to the fact that this is the new norm.
And is the new norm then having to put sidewalks away from streets and putting up even more barriers to separate roadways from where pedestrians might walk?
I'm sure, as well as increased armed police, something France and Germany have already seen, especially around Jewish communities.
"Europe has to wake up to the fact that this is the new norm."
But also in Britain, where police traditionally are unarmed, I think we're going to start seeing more armed police on the streets. We're frightened. Europe is frightened and for all the talk of the stiff British upper lip and keeping calm and carrying on, undoubtedly this has shaken people, because such a low tech method of murder leaves everyone vulnerable. Anyone, any Islamist, any radicalized individual, can get into their car, they can pick up a knife, and they can go out and cause mayhem.
Any particular frustration or fear because the perpetrator, in this case, wasn't a young guy, he wasn't in his twenties, he was 52 years old?
The perpetrator of the London attack, Khalid Masood (born Adrian Elms), was much older than the typical ISIS jihadi.
Yeah, he doesn't fit the usual profile of radicalized Islamists, who are usually a violent Islamist who is usually between 18 and 35. There are, of course, exceptions, and here is one of them, but I think this is a testament to the severe radicalization problem within Western Muslim communities. Some reports suggest he's a convert, his birth name being Adrian Elms, adopting Khalid Masood later. But this is all early reports, this could be changed later.
But the converts, of course, have a choice when they enter the Muslim community - what kind of Islam they going to follow. And given the extraordinary proportion of British Islam controlled by hard-line Islamist sects increasingly, converts, when they are embracing Islam, they are embracing Islamism as well.
Sam Westrop of the Middle East Forum. Sam, thank you.