Two years after a Pakistani origin Islamist Usman Khan went on a stabbing spree near London bridge, a prison chaplain who helped in his release has expressed regret over it. Khan was shot dead by the London police after he stabbed 5 victims and killed two on November 29, 2019. It must be mentioned that Usama Khan was arrested in 2012 for conspiring to blow up London Stock Exchange and was released in 2018.
As per reports, the Christian priest named Rev Paul Foster had worked with several prisoners including Usman Khan. He recounted, “(Usman) had conversations with me about wanting to change and make a fresh start – to pay more attention to the ripple effect of his actions.” On being told that Intelligence reports suggested that the slain terrorist was radicalising other prison inmates, Foster was surprised.
“If that intelligence is correct, he was obviously presenting himself in a way that was likely to deceive the likes of myself and others. I’m open to say I am wrong, and it is possible I have been conned…” the Christian priest conceded. He added, “We were being presented with a lot of positive things about his behaviour – even some of the prisoners were telling me… in one instance a chap lost his son to a murder and Usman was the person at his door offering his condolences and asking if he could help.”
Prison chaplain conned by an ’emotional and remorseful’ radical Islamic terrorist
Foster further said that the Pakistani origin terrorist was ‘open and emotional’ during a discussion session with a victim. He also claimed that Usman Khan had himself regretted how his actions ‘shamed’ the Muslim community. Despite the slain terrorist being categorised as ‘high risk Category A’ inmate, the prison chaplain felt that he was remorseful.
Interestingly, Usman Khan had also completed a ‘Learning Together’ writing course in 2018 and also became a mentor to others. Learning Together is a programme founded by Dr. Amy Ludlow of the Cambridge University. Khan had claimed in a research paper titled ‘Radicalisation in Modern Europe’ that the ‘root cause’ of extremism was the ‘personal injustice’ and ‘grievances’ of individuals. He had supposedly expressed his desire to help people steer away from the path of radicalism.
Usama Khan was ‘invited’ to the event, where he went on a stabbing spree
It has now come to light that Dr. Ludlow had invited him to the event in November 2019, where the stabbing attack took place. Usama Khan was released from prison in December 2018. Dr. Amy Ludlow had assessed him as ‘low risk’ despite prison Intelligence from 2017 suggesting that he was actively involved in ‘forced conversions’ and radicalisation. When asked to ‘cheer’ at the event, Khan had said, “Don’t worry you’ll hear my cheering all the way from Stafford (his hometown).”
Although Dr Ludlow had requested the Staffordshire police to send 2 officers with Khan to the event, the request was turned down by the cops. She had argued that the slain terrorist would feel ‘more comfortable’ if he had company. During the ‘offender rehabilitation conference’ organised in Fishmongers’ Hall, Khan unleashed his real motives and stabbed 5 individuals. During the attack, two individuals namely Jack Merritt (25) and Saskia Jones (23) were killed.
London Bridge terrorist was poster boy for ‘deradicalization’ program
Usman Khan was considered a ‘poster boy for deradicalisation’ following his release from prison after being convicted on charges of terrorism. The ‘Learning Together’ programme had even advertised him as a success story. Khan also wrote a ‘Thank You’ note to the organizers after they provided him with a computer that he could use without violating his bail conditions. The programme also shared his note of gratitude alongside a poem that he wrote.
The poem went as, “I write so my words become a soothing light, I write so I can enter the coldest of hearts, I write so I can speak to those locked off from the world engulfed in the blinding absence of sight. I write so I can express what I feel is right.” In the note of gratitude, Khan wrote, “I typed these reflections on the Chromebook I received and I am truly grateful to be able to express myself through it.”
“I cannot send enough thanks to the entire Learning Together team and all those who continue to support this wonderful community,” he added. Usman Khan was banned from entering London but he received special permission to attend the event organized by the Learning Together initiative.