The Islamic State took responsibility for the attack at the British Parliament Wednesday, The New York Times reports. The shooter was Khalid Masood, according to The Guardian, who is responsible for the deaths of three people and the injuries of about 30 others. British authorities “had investigated [Masood] for connections to violent extremism,” but he was not being actively pursued at the time of the attack.
Shortly after Prime Minister Theresa May made a statement releasing the attacker’s name and some details of the police investigation, the Islamic State released its own statement calling Masood “a ‘soldier’ who ‘carried out the operation in response to appeals’ to fight Western powers involved in military operations in the Middle East.”
Though the investigation at Parliament is ongoing, other city operations in London have returned to relative normalcy. According to the Times, many in the city had feared that London would be a target after deadly attacks in Paris and Brussels.
Because one of the victims was French and several of the injured individuals were from a French visiting student group, French authorities are looking into the possibility of whether the attack was pointed at France as well.
Spoke to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May today to offer condolences on the terrorist attack in London. She is strong and doing very well.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2017
It’s hard not to completely pathologize and condemn individuals who carry out acts of terror, but I think that moments like these offer a chance to examine why these attacks happen. What about our world prompts this kind of action? How can we prevent it from happening in the future?
Rather than vilifying Islam and the people who practice it, we should reflect on the circumstances that trigger these horrible tragedies, and the ease with which a person can access the means to carry them out.