Ramadan al-Abedi

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Person.png Ramadan al-AbediRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Ramadan Abedi.jpg
BornRamadan Belgasem al-Abedi
Children • Ismail al-Abedi
• Salman al-Abedi
• Hashem al-Abedi
• Jomana Abedi
SpouseSamia Tabba

Ramadan al-Abedi (also known as Abu Ismail) is a Libyan Islamist who was granted political asylum in Britain in 1992 by John Major's government. He settled in Manchester, where about 10,000 Libyans, many of them Islamists, now reside.

In 1994, just two years after arriving in Britain, Ramadan al-Abedi joined the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which is an affiliate of Al-Qaeda that is listed by the United Nations as a terrorist organisation, and was founded by Abdelhakim Belhadj head of ISIS in Libya. He quickly rose up in the LIFG’s ranks, as shown in a document from Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence service which put him at number five in the LIFG. Like many of his Islamist compatriots in Manchester, Abedi was naturally drawn to the Muslim Brotherhood. Together with his sons, Ismail, Salman and Hashem, he frequented the Didsbury mosque where he worked as muezzin, or prayer caller, and where his eldest son Ismail was a tutor at the mosque’s Qur’an school.

At the Didsbury mosque, Ramadan al-Abedi became an associate of Sohail al-Ghariani, son of notorious Libyan cleric Sadiq al-Ghariani, spiritual leader of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood who subsequently acted as cheerleader of the violent takeover of Tripoli by Islamist militias in 2014. Al-Abedi also supported the extremist Islamist cleric, Abu Qatada, and used to meet him in London.

Following the 2011 overthrow of Gaddafi, Ramadan al-Abedi and his family returned to Libya.[1]

Tools of foreign policy

So, it should have been obvious to anyone who wanted to see that Ramadan al-Abedi was an unsavoury character who should never have been given a safe haven in Britain. But the British state welcomed him, and numerous other Libyans like him, with open arms, even though it knew who these people were and what they stood for. The reason was as cynical as it was shortsighted and counter-productive: Mr Al-Abedi and his comrades in the LIFG and the Muslim Brotherhood were potentially useful tools to deploy against the Gaddafi regime, even though they belonged to organisations that were a million times worse than anything Gaddafi represented.

With the father a member of Al-Qaeda throughout his children’s lives, and with Salman and his two brothers, Ismail and Hashem, immersed in the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadism, it is little wonder that all three of Abedi’s sons grew up to be terrorists. And it was not long before the British state was able to deploy them – or shall we say facilitate their deployment – and many other Libyan Islamists for the purpose for which they had been given a safe haven in the first place: as weapons against Gaddafi.[2]

Manchester attack

On 22 May 2017, a bombing at the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande killed 22 people and injuring 119. The BBC reported that "Salman al-Abedi was named by police as the suicide bomber shortly after the attack".[3] The Islamic State reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.[4]

On 25 May 2017, 18-year-old Jomana Abedi in an interview with the Wall Street Journal described her older brother Salman as kind and loving and said she was surprised that he had detonated a suicide bomb. She claimed the suicide bomber was driven to murder because he wanted revenge for 'the explosives America drops on children in Syria'.[5]

Days after the Manchester attack, the Libyan Special Deterrence Force (Rada), a counter-terrorism and anti-crime group aligned with Islamic extremist Abdelhakim Belhadj, arrested Hashem al-Abedi and the brothers’ father Ramadan al-Abedi. The father was released in August.[6]

On 1 November 2017, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said that counter-terrorism officers had been granted a warrant for Hashem Abedi’s arrest and that the Libyan authorities had been asked to consider his extradition to the UK.[7]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Manchester atrocity: UK government must come clean about its relationship with Libyan IslamistsArticle6 June 2017Mohamed El-DoufaniThe perpetrator of the Manchester atrocity, British-born Libyan Salman al-Abedi, 22, is largely the product of the policy pursued by successive British governments – Conservative and Labour – towards Libya.
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