James Harkin reveals that the atrocity in Manchester was carried out by a freelance ‘soldier’ allied to Islamic State, there’s good reason to think neither the venue nor the performer were chosen at random. The American singer Ariana Grande with her revealing stage outfits, her stockings, pink bunny ears and unabashed sexual confidence, 23-year-old Miss Grande is a symbol of everything Islamists hate.
Harkin writes: ‘Miss Grande (pictured at the 42nd annual American Music Awards) is a symbol of everything Islamists hate’
According to the purist, medieval interpretation of the Koran favoured by Islamic State, almost everything about Western music, and the Western lifestyle that goes with it, is haram, or forbidden — and so merits a death sentence.
Indeed, one claim of responsibility for Monday’s attack stated: ‘The explosive devices were detonated in the shameless concert arena.’
Concert-goes scramble to the exit after the bomb blast at Manchester Arena on Monday
Those unfortunate enough to live in Islamic State’s grip have experience of this doctrine.
Three years ago, the then fledgling Islamic State issued a statement that read: ‘Songs and music are forbidden in Islam, as they prevent one from the remembrance of God and the Koran, and are a temptation and corruption of the heart.’ The directive went on to cite Koranic verses and Islamic teaching.
One young Syrian from the region, who lived in the group’s de facto capital of Raqqa, said his best friend was thrown in jail for wearing a Metallica T-shirt celebrating the U.S. rock band.
At the many checkpoints through which Syrians had to pass on their way out of Islamic State territory (back when they were allowed to leave), the militants paid as much attention to the length of men’s beards and contents of their mobile phones as to their politics.
Guards, many of them no more than boys, diligently searched mobile phones for any minor infractions of their religious laws: and that included music that ‘insulted’ Allah.
In their sliding scale of punishments, I was told, a single pop song was rewarded by between 30 and 40 lashes with a whip or stick. In another incident in 2015, a group of musicians was reportedly sentenced to 90 lashes each for the ‘crime’ of playing an electronic keyboard.
Like medieval inquisitors, converts to the Islamic State see Satan (shaytan) and supernatural beings (jinns) everywhere and in anything.
In Syria and Iraq, their feared religious police (the hisbah) pay particular attention to teenage heavy metal music fans, which they consider the devil’s work.
Women are forced to cover up and wear the face veil when outside and never to leave home without a chaperone.
Thus the image of Ariana Grande and her risque stage outfits would be against Islam to the fanatics.
Singer Ariana Grande performs onstage in a revealing outfit
To add proof that ISIS hates anything that is entertainment a group of masked Isis fighters were photographed two years ago in Libya — the country from which the Manchester suspect’s family hail — burning a saxophone and drums.
Even before Islamic State moved to create its state in the ruins of Syria and Iraq, there were signs this extremist sensibility was taking root among disgruntled young Muslims in our inner cities.
Another proof of ISIS hate for such performers was seen In 2004, when British police secretly recorded a cell of young Islamists discussing a possible attack on a London nightclub, on the basis that no one could ‘turn round and say ‘Oh, they were innocent’, those slags dancing around’.
Likewise, a car bomb parked outside Tiger Tiger nightclub in London’s Piccadilly in 2007 seems to have been designed to coincide with a ‘ladies’ night’ at the venue, in which the perpetrators might have hoped to kill and maim scantily clad young women drinking alcohol.
There are countless examples of real events of attack by Islamic extremists and them targeting certain places and people for the kind of music they listened to and what they wore.