Ali Harbi Ali, 25, is being held by police for the brutal murder of the veteran Conservative MP stabbing him 17 times with a knife as he met with his Southend West constituents on Friday afternoon.
Daily Mail (h/t Nita) The Somali Muslim suspect accused of stabbing Sir David Amess to death with 17 blows can today be pictured for the first time – as it emerged he was forced to attend an official deradicalization course after a teacher spotted his Islamic extremist views at least five years ago after becoming a ‘huge fan’ of hate preacher Anjem Choudary.
It is believed that Ali may have chosen his victim at random having become obsessed with killing any MP.
His friends have claimed he was further radicalized and turned into a lone-wolf killer during lockdown watching YouTube videos of convicted hate preacher Anjem Choudary with police and MI5 also looking whether Sir David was chosen due to his support for Qatar, which has been exerting its influence in Somalia, the country of his diplomat father’s birth.
Ali, the son of a former Somalian diplomat who was born in Britain and raised in Croydon, was referred to the flagship anti-extremism scheme, Prevent, which aims to stop individuals becoming terrorists. But there are major questions after his behaviour was not considered to be extreme enough to alert MI5. These referrals are not currently mandatory.
He is alleged to have shown an interest in radical Islam and was referred to Prevent, believed to be when he was in his late teens. He decided to move in with an aunt and her sons in a council house in the upmarket North London enclave of Kentish Town, in a street of £2million three-storey townhouses.
Police and intelligence officials are said to be mystified about why the 69-year-old Tory politician was singled out for attack by a suspected Islamist extremist. Reports had initially suggested that Sir David, a devout Roman Catholic and prominent Brexiteer who was MP for Southend West, had been selected because of his political views or religion.
Investigators now believe that there may have been no specific motive for the targeting of Sir David, and that the 69-year-old was stabbed to death because his alleged killer had plotted to kill any national politician – and had succeeded in booking a face-to-face meeting with him at a church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday.
Sources close to the investigation believe Ali may have considered killing other MPs, including Labour and Tory politicians, before picking Sir David, according to The Telegraph. One government insider told the paper: ‘He was unlucky. He was not targeted because of his political party. David Amess was not specifically targeted.’
Last night former friends of Ali, a British national of Somali heritage who grew up in a three-bed 1980s terrace house in Croydon with his mother, two sisters and brother, claimed he was radicalized after watching YouTube videos of convicted hate preacher Anjem Choudary. Speaking to The Sun, they claimed the videos turned Ali from a ‘popular pupil into an extremist’.
Ali’s father, Harbi Ali Kullane, was once a spin doctor for the prime minister of Somalia before fleeing the country for London just before his eldest son Ali was born in Southwark in 1996.
A security source said: ‘He was quite involved in countering terror group al-Shabaab’s message in his role as comms director, and he received death threats from them for doing so, which is common for anyone involved in a high-profile position in the government’.
But his son was referred to an official deradicalization course after a teacher spotted his extremist views at least five years ago after becoming a ‘huge fan’ of hate preacher Anjem Choudary – and this may go some way to explaining why he is estranged from his parents.
Anjem Choudary, Islamic hate preacher, said that Pamela Geller should be executed because of the ‘Draw Mohammed’ contest she sponsored in 2015.