Terror in Manchester

By Iram Ramzan


A terrorist attack in my own city is the last thing I expected to wake up to on Tuesday morning. There were several messages on my phone from concerned friends and acquaintances urging me to contact them as soon as I could. I wondered what had happened, until I went online to read the news.

At least 22 people were killed and 59 injured after a terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena on the evening of Monday, May 22. Thousands of gig-goers were packed into the city centre venue to see American singer Ariana Grande when the explosion shook the arena.

Photos and videos were uploaded showing innocent young people fleeing the scene — scared, worried and confused. Some had been separated from their friends and parents. Some, unfortunately, did not make it out alive.

The youngest victim is thought to be eight-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos. The others confirmed dead are Georgina Bethany Callander and John Atksinson. One can’t imagine what their friends and families must be feeling at this difficult time.

Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22-year-old Mancunian of Libyan descent, was confirmed as the man responsible for this atrocity, which has claimed the lives of many children. He died at the scene. I doubt there will be many people shedding tears over him. A 23-year-old has also been arrested in Manchester in connection with the attack.

“Evil losers” is how Donald Trump described the attackers behind the attack. And, surprisingly, I agree with the US President. Describing Abedi as a monster would be glamourising him; an evil loser seems much more suitable. I expect more information will come out about him soon; it is highly unlikely it was a ‘lone wolf’ attack, for these people are usually part of a wider network.


The people who were missing or confirmed dead from Monday’s attack at the Manchester Arena.


It was heartwarming to see Mancunians rallying round and offering their rooms to stranded people, bars/restaurants doling out hot drinks for the emergency services and taxi drivers taking children home for free. This is why I am proud to call Manchester my home; this is why I love this city so much. No matter what atrocity strikes, we often forget that people are, by and large, compassionate and will help others in their times of need. Thank you to everyone who messaged me to ask if I was safe.

While calls for unity and calm are appreciated, we should stop saying that this is the “new normal”.  If normal means regular terrorist attacks against innocent people, then we must not “go back to normal”.  As nice as they are, candlelight vigils and “Pray for….” messages are not going to solve the problem of extremism.

In due course, I expect the usual suspects will condemn the attack while simultaneously blaming western foreign policy and victim blaming. The attack was driven by a brutal ideology that abhors any enjoyment of life. For that is what these young people were doing — they were enjoying a music concert, living life to the full. Their pleasure had nothing to with global wars.

As Pakistani journalist Kunwar Khuldune Shahid said previously:

“Modern-day jihadism breeds on two ideas, neither of whom is vocally refuted by us Muslims. First, that West is to blame for Muslim world’s volatility. Second, that Islam is a superlative doctrine, and ideologically self-sufficient to govern the world.”

Some people are more interested in scoring points or being so politically correct that we hear the same debate and the same outdated views being espoused by the usual suspects on both sides. Some on the right will not differentiate between ordinary Muslims and terrorists, choosing to attack mosques or women in hijabs as retaliation, while those on the left and even within Muslim communities will deny any role that ideology or religion has in such attacks.

There will be another terrorist attack, perhaps in a different city, prompting the same debate. Have we not had enough? It is one thing to read about attacks in far-away places but when it is in your own city it is different. It is much closer to home. I, for one, have had enough.



* In the meantime, police have urged those who are concerned about loved ones who were in the area to call the National Casualty Bureau on 0800 096 0095.  Anyone who was in the city centre between 8pm and 11pm on Monday night and has dashcam footage is being urged to submit it to the National Police Chiefs’ Council image appeal site.


Iram Ramzan is a journalist based in Greater Manchester and the founder and editor of Sedaa. Visit her blog and follow her on Twitter .


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5 thoughts on “Terror in Manchester

  1. Paul

    Hi Iram,
    Tragic events like the Manchester attack draws me to the writing of you and your colleagues, to help me make sense of what is happening. Thank you for SEDAA.

    In your penultimate paragragh you seem to be suggesting a third, middle way – not the right wing hate, nor the left wing fear of upsetting people.
    But what is that third way of communicating this, and dealing with it?
    And who do you think is doing this (or trying to) at the moment?

    I ask mainly so that I can read more, listen more, and understand (if that is possible?) and pass this on to my children (who, as teenagers, tend towards the ‘left’ and will not listen to any criticism of religion …they confuse criticism of Islam with racism. It is not, of course).

    Good to see you finding a platform, and good luck to you.
    best regards,

    1. admin

      Thank you for sharing Mohammed

  2. Excellent piece. I hope you’ll keep writing pieces like this one.

  3. David West

    ”choosing to attack mosques or women in hijabs as retaliation”

    Where exactly do these ‘attacks’ occur?

    Let me tell you what attacks DO happen: repeated gang rapes of thousands of white English children (not just girls) in every major town and city in England over the last 25 years. So many individual rapes, motivated by racism and misogyny, that it adds up to millions.

    You might love Manchester but I fucking hate it these days. I don’t recognise the city i grew up in and my family have lived in for a hundred years and I am sick of it being home to a culture which despises us and takes the piss in everything from benefit fraud to voting to paying tax.

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