British police on Tuesday named the final member of the terror trio that murdered seven people on Saturday in a knife and van attack before police shot the jihadis dead -- and the news comes as more than 130 Muslim religious leaders were refusing to say funeral prayers for any members of the ISIS cell.
Youssef Zaghba, a Moroccan-born Italian man, was identified Tuesday morning as the final member of the trio that descended upon the London Bridge on Saturday. The other two attackers were named Monday as Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane.
The decision by the Muslim leaders was seen as an "unprecedented" move because the funeral ritual is typically performed on a deceased Muslim no matter the person's past actions. The group of religious leaders have urged others to join them in declining to pray for the dead killers.
“We, as Muslim imams and religious leaders, condemn the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London in the strongest terms possible,” the Muslim leaders said in a statement. “Coming from a range of backgrounds, and from across the U.K.; feeling the pain the rest of the nation feels, we have come together to express our shock and utter disgust at these cold-blooded murders. We are deeply hurt that a spate of terror attacks have been committed in our country once more by murderers who seek to gain religious legitimacy for their actions. We seek to clarify that their reprehensible actions have neither legitimacy nor our sympathy.”
East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre Chairman Muhammad Habibur-Rahman said the decision was made because “those who perpetrate terrorism: you are against the very core teaching of Islam and of our Prophet Muhammad.” His statement continued, “Your misguidance will lead you to destruction, and God willing you will utterly fail in your evil aims.”
The decision underscores a warning President Trump issued to the Islamic world last month. Speaking in Riyadh before the leaders of 50 Muslim majority countries, Trump told warned terrorists that taking innocent lives would not lead to eternal paradise. “If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and your soul will be fully condemned.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also applauded the move. He said he was encouraged by the imams and said that the decision means "they're condemning their souls" since the funeral prayer asks for forgiveness of the dead. “And that is what has to be done.”
Khuram Butt, one of the attackers, was raised in the U.K. but lived in Pakistan for years, The Telegraph reported. Officers searched his former family home in Mujahidabad, southeast of Islamabad, and questioned his uncle, according to the newspaper.
Mak Chishty, the Metropolitan police commander of engagement, said, according to The Guardian, that it is time for Muslims to “counter the scourge of terrorism, extremism and hatred that we have in our communities at present.”
Chishty, the highest-ranking officer in the department of Muslim faith, said, “It is the Islamic duty of every Muslim to be loyal to the country in which they live. We are now asking questions to understand how extremism and hatred has taken hold within some elements of our own communities.”
ISIS has claimed responsibility for Saturday night's brazen attack that started on London Bridge, then continued in the streets surrounding Borough Market. A total of seven civilians were killed. The three believed attackers were killed. Police have 11 people in custody on suspicion of violating the Terrorism Act, but they haven't been named or charged. Others who had been arrested were released without being charged.
The country's official terror threat level had been set at "critical" in the days after the Manchester concert bombing on May 22 that killed 22 people — reflecting a judgment that an attack might be imminent because accomplices with similar bombs might be on the loose.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is Muslim, wrote in The London Evening Standard, “Along with the overwhelming majority of the Muslim population, I am disgusted by this act, I want to send a crystal-clear message around the world: The sick and wicked ideology of these evil extremists is no form of Islam that I recognize. I unequivocally denounce them and their twisted beliefs.”