Saturday, July 20News For London

Is the UK responsible for terrorism? A reaction to Warfalli sentence

CC: Bob Harvey
Gathering for the vigil for the victims of the Manchester Bombing

Yahya Werfalli was sentenced to community service for his connection with the Manchester bombing. 

Leading up to the tragic event, Werfalli’s supplied his debit card details to the bomber’s brother, Hashem Abedi. His account was then used to purchase hydrogen peroxide, which was the main ingredient, for the bombing. Court documents reveal that this was so the purchase wouldn’t be immediately linked to the bomber, Hashem Abedi. 

A few days after the bombing, Werfalli was arrested in his home at gunpoint. Over the course of several police interviews, he claimed he was told the brothers were running two fraud schemes similar to something he has done in the past. He believed they were supposed to buy and sell phones. 

The brothers put £300 in his account and Werfalli was told he would be able to keep £200. However, both the prosecuting and defending attornies told the court there is no evidence that suggests that Werfalli was aware of what was being purchased and that the bombers needed a “dupe” to take advantage of. 

Regardless, many people in the manchester community feel conflicted about the outcome. We spoke to Anton Arenko, who was only a few minutes away from the Manchester arena where the bombing took place. 

“I felt it was the slap in the face,” Arenko stated: “I felt it was really callous and I feel community service was too little.” 

However, Chloe Barker, who was present at the concert believed that based on the evidence, the sentence was justified. 

“It is hard to separate the two.”

She continued: “It is hard to separate the decision that he made and the subsequent fraud from the impacts.”

When asked about whether or not the UK bears any responsibility, Barker stated: “It would be logical to believe the UK’s involvement in the Middle East…has contributed to extreme ideologies.” 

The impact on the Arabic community in the western world is one that has been heavily documented throughout the years. We spoke to Jordan Alkalbi who is a masters student from the Middle East studying international affairs. He claimed he wanted to change his name to ‘disassociate’ himself from the negative views of that region. 

“I used to go by my Muslim name.” Alkalbi continues: “I started to create some resentments to the ideas of Islam.” While he agrees that western countries should be involved in the Middle East, he believes they ‘failed’ in their strategy. 

With an issue this complex that affects many people in the community, we went out to gather their thoughts. Their responses below:

Reaction to sentencing

An inquiry into the Manchester Arena Bombing revealed that the Stewards were ‘not trained properly’. It also mentioned that the management for pop star, Ariana Grande, declined extra security due to the expense.

It has been over 3 years since the Manchester bombing where 23 people were killed and over 800 people injured after attending an Ariana Grande concert. As the community continues to heal, a prisoner who was in contact with the bomber is set to be released on licence this week.

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