A Muslim man whose brother was blown up by the IRA has branded Gerry Adams a “hypocrite” for his condemnation of the bombing in Manchester, adding that Isis supporters probably look up to him.
Ihsan Bashir told the News Letter that Monday’s blast brought back memories of his own family’s trauma at the time of the 1996 Canary Wharf bomb which killed his brother Inam whilst he worked at a newspaper kiosk.
Mr Bashir described those behind this week’s bloodbath as “nutcases” who “don’t believe in Islam”, and said UK Muslim leaders should be more vocal in opposing them – and also hit out at Irish republicans for providing a model for such violent groups to follow.
A 51-year-old businessman living in the south of England, Mr Bashir first learned of Monday’s atrocity at 3am the following morning as he woke up for early morning prayers.
Initially, he said, he “could not believe it”.
“It just brings back memories of Inam,” he said.
“When you hear the news of them going to hospitals, looking for if they’re alive or not – same story again.”
He since heard Gerry Adams voicing sympathy for the Manchester victims, and said “it doesn’t seem right at all”.
“At the end of the day the IRA, Sinn Fein, bombed their way into office,” said Mr Bashir.
Despite the IRA having repeatedly detonated bombs in Manchester city centre in the 1990s (wounding many but causing no fatalities), Mr Adams had denounced Monday’s attack as “shocking and horrendous”.
Mr Bashir branded him “a hypocrite”and said that the “idiots” of Isis probably look up to Mr Adams and his cohorts as “heroes”.
Isis are seeking to be permitted some kind of independent state of their own, he believes, and will cause “as much chaos” as possible to encourage governments to “give in”.
“It’s happened in Ireland,” he said.
“They’ve got what they want over there. That’s what they’re thinking, you know: terrorism does pay.
“I believe they are looking at this model.”
The jihadi threat should receive a different kind of resolution to the Northern Irish one, he said.
He called for the “wiping out” of Isis, and urged: “Do not reward them. Do not make the same mistake again.”
Mr Bashir’s father came to the UK from Pakistan in 1956, and his mother came from the same country in 1962.
Inam’s mother had a nervous breakdown following his murder by the IRA.
His father, Mohammed, suffered a stroke soon after. He then died of heart failure five months after the bombing.
Mr Bashir said: “Now you’ve got these nutcases ... You can’t even call them Islamist. They don’t represent any part of Islam. I don’t know which Qur’an they’re reading.”
He described the campaign waged by jihadist extremists as “a war against freedom of people, a war against all religions”.
“What I believe also is a lot of our imams [mosque leaders] should go out and condemn it as well. It doesn’t happen enough ... they should do more and more – open our mosques up to other people to come and look.
“We need proper PR for Islamic people, Muslims in Britain anyway, to show we’re not all like this.”
He added: “We should do more to sort this out.”
Suspicious behaviour should also be reported to police, he said, adding it is not a case of “grassing” on people.
“You’re not – all you’re doing is protecting the wider citizens. If you are British, you live in this country, respect the rules, respect the laws. This is your country. Protect it.”
He also favours strict checks of people coming into the country, adding: “It doesn’t matter if there’s queues at the airport. It will save lives in the long term.”