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How the world is reacting to the attack in Manchester

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Muslim-majority nations were quick to condemn the attack, while U.S. commentators blamed “wicked ideology.”

A couple embrace under a billboard in Manchester city centre, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended on Monday night. CREDIT: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Condolences, solidarity, and condemnation from around the world poured in following a deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night in Manchester, England. At least 22 people are dead and 59 are injured, in an incident police speculate was a suicide bombing. While ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, an investigation is still underway and many details are unknown.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who will travel to Manchester on Tuesday, condemned the attack, which targeted an event catering to teenagers and younger children.

“We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but an opportunity for carnage,” May said, following an emergency meeting. “But we can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in future, to take on and defeat the ideology that often fuels this violence. And if there turn out to be others responsible, to seek them out and bring them to justice.” She also praised those who ran to help victims and rallied to the cause, including many taxi drivers, locals who opened their homes, and religious establishments, including Sikh temples.

Across the pond, U.S. President Donald Trump characteristically referred to those responsible for the attack as “losers,” calling it a “great name” for those behind the tragedy.

“I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack, and to the many killed, and to the families — so many families — of the victims,” Trump said, extending solidarity to the United Kingdom. “So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life. I won’t call them ‘monsters,’ because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them, from now on, losers, because that’s what they are. They’re losers. And we’ll have more of them. But they’re losers; just remember that.”

Trump also said the “wicked ideology” of the “losers” should be “completely obliterated,” a line of thinking in step with other conservative U.S. commentators. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) blamed the attack on “radical Islamic terror,” while conservative columnist Dan Senor linked the explosion to refugees on CNN.

“Between France, and Brussels, and all these terrorist — [United Kingdom], these terrorist attacks have been going on around the region, and this constant focus in political environments over the last several years on the two plus million refugees that have come into Europe, via Germany, and now many of whom have spread throughout Europe, and established or inserted themselves into communities that create infrastructure for terror,” Senor said.

Appearing on CNN Tuesday morning, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) rejected suggestions that the event was a “lone wolf” attack, calling instead for a rejection of “this sort of ideology,” a reference to organizations like ISIS.

Despite U.S. rhetoric, many Muslim leaders swiftly offered condolences and condemned the attack. “We strongly condemn the terror attack in Manchester,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims.”

Egypt’s foreign ministry said the tragedy “reflected the urgent need to swiftly act on setting up effective mechanisms and taking clear-cut measures to uproot terrorism and dry up its sources,” according to a statement from Egypt’s official MENA news agency. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, linked the attack to similar events in Iran and called for unity. “All countries which are victims of extremist, terrorist and Takfiri thoughts of these groups should stand united and show resolve to confront them seriously, purposefully and sincerely,” Qassemi said, according to FARS News Agency. An official statement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stressed “the need for a concerted [i]nternational effort to eliminate the scourge of terrorism and extremism.”

Across Europe, numerous leaders also offered condolences and outrage. Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission, called for flags to fly at half-mast in solidarity. Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the attack, vowing that “those behind it will not escape the punishment they deserve.” Newly inaugurated French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his “horror,” while German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed “sadness and shock” in a statement.

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Also expressing their sympathies were a number of other world leaders, including Chinese premier Xi Jinping, who offered China’s solidarity, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, who also sent his support. “On behalf of the government of Japan and the Japanese people, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the victims and extend our sympathies to those who have been injured,” Abe told May.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull blasted those responsible, in no small part because of the age of the concertgoers, calling it an “attack on innocence.” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were among others who extended their condolences.

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Officials have named Salman Abedi as the suspected suicide bomber, according to the Associated Press. Two of the victims’ names have been released — Georgina Callander, 18 years old, and Saffie Rose Roussos, 8 years old.


How the world is reacting to the attack in Manchester was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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