After Terrorist Attack, a British City Linked to Jihadis Winces and Asks Why

Source: The New York Times

Photo

The minaret of a mosque in Birmingham, England, where Khalid Masood resided before he attacked Parliament in London last week. CreditChristopher Furlong/Getty Images

BIRMINGHAM, England — Outside the Maasha’Allah internet cafe, Mohammed Hussain raised his voice over the recorded Quranic verses blaring from the abaya shop two doors down. He was furious that Britain’s latest terrorist attacker had amplified his city’s stigma.

“Why do all the jihadis come to Birmingham?” he half-shouted, prompting a passing group of teenage girls in bright-colored head scarves to frown, then giggle.

Exaggeration or not, many people are asking that question. Khalid Masood, 52, the Briton responsible for the deadly attack outside Parliament last week, remains a puzzle to investigators working on how, why and when he was radicalized.

But one aspect is familiar: He had a connection to Birmingham, having moved almost a year ago to this city of 1.1 million, where more than than one in five residents declare Islam as their religion.

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