Libyans in Manchester shocked to learn that bomber was one of them

22-year-old Salman Abedi, who detonated a bomb that killed 22 people as they filed out of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on Monday night, has shaken Libyan ex-pats in the city, with many condemning the attack as a distortion of the Islam around which their community is organized.

"Living in Manchester for almost eight years I found it to be a very peaceful city with many religions living in harmony. Hearing this terrible news is both very shocking and upsetting," Ubadah Al-Jabri, a Libyan based in Manchester, told the Libya Herald newspaper. "They have killed women and children, for what reason? Do they think they are going to paradise? The Quran and our Prophet Mohamed have never said that."

Abedi, the son of Libyan parents who fled Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya, was reportedly known to the security authorities.

Abedi "was given security and benefits by the British, and responded by killing their children. There is nothing more despicable than that," said a user going by the name Abeer on a Facebook page for Libyans living in Manchester. On the page, many others in the community worried that Libyans would no longer be issued visas to the UK.

Abedi's family reportedly lived in London before settling in Manchester, which is home to the largest ex-pat Libyan community in the UK. It's made up of dual Libyan-British citizens who, like Abedi's parents, fled oppression and persecution in Gaddafi's Libya in the 1980s but who returned to the country following the overthrow of the regime in 2011. It is believed that Abedi had visited the country as recently as this week, and that he may have been used as a "mule" to deliver a device built by someone else, according to the BBC, which cited anonymous intelligence sources. Post-Gaddafi Libya is known as a hotbed of Islamic State and other extremist militias, all of which have exploited the gaping power vacuum that has dragged the country into chaos in recent years.

"One person is killing the dreams of thousands," wrote a user named Abeer in a Facebook group called "Libyans in Britain." Another member, Omar, said that "outlaws of Islam" like Abedi were not to be tolerated, adding that it was the responsibility of fellow Muslims "report extremists to the relevant authorities in order to show that we want to live in peace."

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Tributes to the victims of the Manchester Arena attack
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Tributes to the victims of the Manchester Arena attack
A woman lays flowers for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples
Police officers look at flowers and messages left for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples
Britain Football Soccer - Manchester United Training - Manchester United Training Ground - 23/5/17 Manchester United players and staff stand for a minute of silence during training honouring the people killed and wounded in an explosion at Manchester Arena Reuters / Andrew Yates Livepic
Flowers and messages for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack are seen in central Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples
A woman lays flowers for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples
A man writes a message on the pavement in central Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples
70th Cannes Film Festival - Tribute for Manchester - Cannes, France. 23/05/2017. Cannes Film Festival general delegate Thierry Fremaux, Cannes Film festival president Pierre Lescure, actress Isabelle Huppert and staff members observe a minute of silence on the red carpet. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Flowers as a tribute for victims of Monday's suicide bombing at Manchester Arena in the English city of Manchester are seen in front of the British embassy in Berlin, Germany May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
A man photographs a sign in Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Messages are left amongst tributes left by members of the public in St Ann Square on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Manchester,England. At least 22 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a pop concert packed with children in the northern English city of Manchester, in the worst terror incident on British soil since the London bombings of 2005.� (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Flowers left by members of the NHS are left in St. Anne's Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Prime Minister Theresa May held a COBRA meeting this morning following a suicide attack at Manchester Arena as concert goers were leaving the venue after Ariana Grande had performed. Greater Manchester Police have confirmed the explosion as a terrorist attack with 22 fatalities and 59 injured. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 23: A British Union Jack flag flies at half-mast on top of the embassy of Great Britain in tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack the last night in Manchester on May 23, 2017 in Paris, France. An explosion occurred at Manchester Arena as concert goers were leaving the venue after Ariana Grande had performed. Greater Manchester Police are treating the explosion as a terrorist attack and have confirmed 22 fatalities and 59 injured. The President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron will go this afternoon to the British Embassy to sign the book of condolences. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
People pass flowers left in front of the British embassy in Kiev on May 23, 2017, in tribute to victims of deadly Manchester Arena terror attack. Twenty two people have been killed and dozens injured in Britain's deadliest terror attack in over a decade after a suspected suicide bomber targeted fans leaving a concert of US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester. / AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman lays flowers in front of the British embassy in Kiev on May 23, 2017, in tribute to victims of deadly Manchester Arena terror attack. Twenty two people have been killed and dozens injured in Britain's deadliest terror attack in over a decade after a suspected suicide bomber targeted fans leaving a concert of US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester. / AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Religious leaders hold a prayer meeting in central Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples
Flowers as a tribute for victims of Monday's suicide bombing at Manchester Arena in the English city of Manchester are seen in front of the British embassy in Berlin, Germany May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
A woman places flowers on an impromptu memorial at Manchester Town Hall for the victims of an attack at Manchester Arena, Manchester, Britain, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Super
People stop to look at flowers and messsages on an impromptu memorial in St Anns Square for the victims of an attack at Manchester Arena, Manchester, Britain, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Super
Women pay their respects to all those affected by the bomb attack, following a vigil in central Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Women react after lighting candles for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples
The water fountain (jet d'eau) is lit with blue, red and white in remembrance for the victims of an attack on concert goers at Manchester Arena, in Geneva, Switzerland, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
A woman looks at flowers for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
People take part in a vigil for the victims of an attack on concert goers at Manchester Arena, in central Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 23: The colors of the Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom, are projected on to the Melbourne Town Hall as a tribute to Manchester Bombing victims on May 23, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. An explosion occurred at Manchester Arena as concert goers were leaving the venue after Ariana Grande had performed. Greater Manchester Police are treating the explosion as a terrorist attack and have confirmed 22 fatalities and 59 injured. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 24: Members of the public pause to look at floral tributes and messages as the working day begins on May 24, 2017 in Manchester, England. An explosion occurred at Manchester Arena on the evening of May 22 as concert goers were leaving the venue after Ariana Grande had performed. Greater Manchester Police are treating the explosion as a terrorist attack and have confirmed 22 fatalities and 59 injured. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Floral tributes, messages and candles are pictured in Albert Square in Manchester, northwest England on May 24, 2017, as tributes to the victims of the May 22 terror attack at the Manchester Arena. Police on Tuesday named Salman Abedi -- reportedly British-born of Libyan descent -- as the suspect behind a suicide bombing that ripped into young fans at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena on May 22, as the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the carnage. / AFP PHOTO / CHRIS J RATCLIFFE (Photo credit should read CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty Images)
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The post Libyans In Manchester Shocked To Learn That Bomber Was One Of Them appeared first on Vocativ.

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