Brits, And Trump, Lash Out At London Mayor After Terror Attack

Critics say Sadiq Khan, London's first Muslim mayor, has neglected the threat of terrorism

People leave the area after a terror attack near London Bridge on June 4. — REUTERS
Jun 04, 2017 at 8:19 AM ET

Among the thousands of critics who took to social media to bash London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the wake of a deadly Saturday night terror attack near London Bridge was President Donald Trump, who wrote, “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!'”

Trump also tweeted that “we need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

The criticism of London mayor Sadiq Khan’s purported lack of concern for national security continued to gain momentum on Sunday, even as Khan praised the police’s swift response to the Saturday night car ramming and stabbing attack, and announced a plan for increased police presence in the British capital. On Sunday afternoon, London Metropolitan police arrested twelve people in East London believed to be connected to the attack. It said the investigation was “progressing rapidly.”

Khan insisted that London authorities would continue to see members of the Muslim community as “the most valuable source of intelligence.”

“Just as terrorists evolve in finding new ways to hurt us, we’ve got to evolve in finding ways to protect ourselves,” Khan told CNN on Sunday morning, adding that London was still the “safest global city in the world.”

Saturday’s terror attack, carried out by three unidentified assailants, is the latest in a string of deadly terror attacks in the UK. It follows a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in May and a vehicular attack at Westminster Bridge in March. It comes just days before Thursday’s parliamentary elections.

In the hours following the attack, Brits said that Khan had been complacent regarding terrorism and incompetent at implementing security measures to protect the city’s streets.

The UK terror threat remained at “severe” as of Sunday, meaning an attack is “highly likely.”

Following an emergency security meeting on Sunday morning, Prime Minister Theresa May vowed a sweeping review of Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy regarding “Islamist extremism,” saying that “enough is enough.”

Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor who also attended the Sunday morning security meeting, has long called for stronger police presence in the capital. When the government announced budget cuts that would reduce the police budget in January, Khan warned that it would be “increasingly difficult” to protect London.

But in the hours following the London Bridge attack, 12,000 people posted on Twitter, mentioning the phrase “part and parcel,” in reference to Khan’s statement last year that terrorist threats were “part and parcel of living in a big city.”  Nearly 2,000 people called on Khan to resign. Others called for harsher security measures, including deportation of terrorist suspects and their families.

“If there are 3000 on a ‘watch list’ they should be deported, as should their families and anyone linked to extremism and radicalisation,” said Sabie Stewart in response to Khan’s official Facebook video message that condemned the attack. “We have lost our rights as British people in case of offending someone. Innocent people are being killed including Muslims and we do NOTHING about it.”