Allison Morris: Where do you deport Islamic radicals when they were born in the UK?

Flowers and messages are left outside St Annes Church, Manchester, after the terror attack at Manchester Arena, 23rd May 2017. PA Photo by Martin Rickett/PA

A SENSE of normality was slowly returning to Manchester yesterday despite the heightened security threat that will see soldiers patrol the streets of the city.

The barbaric attack on young concert-goers at the Manchester Arena on Monday night is still the main talking point in what is an ethnically diverse community.

News that the suicide bomber was born and educated within the city limits has started a debate on his best to tackle the radicalisation of young Muslims in a world where they perceive their faith to be under attack.

'Religion didn't kill, evil did', reads one of the cards left among the growing number of floral tributes in Albert Square which has become a focal point for the city's outpouring of grief.

While thousands gathered in solidarity on Tuesday night by lunchtime yesterday life appeared was getting back to normal with international news crews, who have been camped out since arriving on Tuesday, the only visible sign of the tragedy.

Coffee shops, bars and restaurants in this regenerated university city are open for business, but there is a sense that things have changed forever.

"They're killing our children now. They need deported back to where they came from," one Mancunian told me.

Straight after, he asked me for the correct spelling of Britannia for a post he was putting on Facebook. I didn't ask the context.

But the fact fact remains. Where do you deport suspected Islamic radicals when their country of origin is the UK?

Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi (22) was born in Manchester, to Libyan refugee parents.

Talk of introducing internment for terror suspects raises eyebrows among those of us who lived through and reported on the aftermath of that British policy which failed spectacularly in the north.

Comparisons between the IRA campaign and Islamic terror attacks in a city that has suffered at the hands of both are understandable. And in many ways they are justified.

Few people understand what the mother of eight-year-old Saffie Roussos feels today better than Gina Murray whose daughter Leanne died in the Shankill bomb, even pictures of the two Angelic brown-haired school girls look similar.

But unlike our own 'dirty war' the Manchester attack is linked to a campaign with global repercussions.

Khalid Mortazazada, an Iranian teacher with an Iraqi wife, who I met on a recent trip to Serbia to speak to refugee families, sent me a message this week.

He said how sad he was for the victims of Manchester, adding that the attack was linked to the same people who he had to flee his homeland to escape.

And yet refugee families such as his are the very kind who will bear the brunt of any backlash in the wake of the Manchester attack.

Any such backlash has been likened the treatment of the Irish in England during the Troubles.

Neil McFee from Newry has lived in Manchester for the past six years, coming to the UK in search of work.

"My sister was already here," he said. "I came for a while and ended up just staying. It's a great city, very welcoming, very multi-cultural.

"I've been here a while now and have friends from all over. There's a big Irish community and a few Gaelic teams as well", he said.

Neil said he thinks the city is stronger than to turn against the Muslim community. "It will take time though," he said.

"As an Irish person working here you get the odd comment. It winds me up when people call me 'a Paddy' you also get some people saying 'you all hate the British' but I wouldn't have moved here and made it my home if that was the case.

"I love Manchester. I think it will recover from this, there's a good community spirit but that's not taking away from what happened. I mean it was disgusting they targeted children, you can't really get much worse than that," he added.


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