British Police Link Killing Legislator To Islamist Extremism
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – British police say Friday’s killing of British legislator Sir David Amess at a Methodist church in southeast England was a terror attack potentially linked to Islamist extremism.
The suspect has been detained and identified as 25-year-old Ali Harbi Ali, police said.
Saturday’s announcement came as a candlelit vigil was held in the town of Leigh-on Sea in Essex county near the church where the 69-year-old Amess was stabbed multiple times.
“Senior National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism Policing, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon formally declared the incident as terrorism,” police said. “The early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism.”
The British suspect, who is of Somali heritage, was being held at a London police station under the Terrorism Act 2000, and officers had until October 22 to question him, officials said.
Investigators do not believe anyone else was involved in the attack.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who canceled all engagements following the attack, laid flowers on the church.
“To the memory of Sir David Amess MP, a fine parliamentarian and a much-loved colleague and friend,” Johnson said in a hand-written note placed in the flowers. He added on social networking site Twitter that his thoughts were with Amess’ family and friends.
Besides Johnson, interior minister Priti Patel and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer were among those to lay flowers in tribute to Amess at the scene of the murder
Johnson and Starmer stood side by side in a moment of silence before leaving. Other politicians, police representatives, and public members also came to lay flowers and pay respects.
The attack on Amess from Johnson’s Conservative Party comes five years after the murder of Jo Cox, a lawmaker from the opposition Labour Party.
It has prompted a review of the security of elected politicians.
Amess, a Conservative Parliamentarian since 1983, held a regular meeting with constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea when he was knifed, witnesses said.
He died soon after the attack. The legislator will be remembered for his broad grin and boyish enthusiasm in the House of Commons chamber for nearly 40 years, friends said.
He never scaled the heights of government, choosing to dedicate his career to his beloved Essex and the causes he cared about most.
The devout Catholic earned cross-party respect for the conviction he brought to his opinions and campaigns.
His views ranged from opposing abortion to passionate support of Britain leaving the European Union, or Brexit, to animal rights and anything that brought Essex up in the world.
Amess, who was married with five children, was socially conservative: he supported capital punishment and opposed abortion.
He was an early Eurosceptic.
Amess was also a strong supporter of animal rights, including a fox hunting ban.
And he campaigned against fuel poverty, advocated tackling obesity, and raised awareness of endometriosis, a painful condition of the womb that some women suffer.
His death was expected to raise more questions about grieving Islamist extremism in Britain.
It emerged Saturday that the detained suspect didn’t spend long in Britain’s terrorism-prevention program, which aims to stop people from being radicalized.
He was never a formal “subject of interest” to Britain’s Security Service, MI5, till Saturday, when it was too late to prevent another terror attack.
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