Chris Lange, FISM News
Tributes for a British lawmaker who was stabbed to death by a suspected terrorist will be led by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson today.
Conservative Parliament member Sir David Amess, 69, was attacked and brutally stabbed multiple times at a London-area church on Friday where he had been meeting with constituents, according to Reuters. He was treated on the scene but later succumbed to his injuries.
Shortly after the attack, Essex Police officials issued a statement indicating that a 25-year-old man had been taken into custody at the scene where officers also recovered a knife.
The alleged assailant is Ali Harbi Ali, a British national and the son of a former adviser to Somalia’s prime minister. According to an AP News report, Ali is currently being held under Britain’s Terrorism Act, as Metropolitan Police have said that their investigation suggests “a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism.” Ali is believed to have acted alone, and no additional suspects are currently being sought in connection to the slaying.
Amess had traveled just days before his murder to Qatar in his capacity as chairman for the All-Party Parliamentary British-Qatar group. Somalia’s current president is backed by Qatar, leading police to investigate this as a possible link in the case. The stabbing occurred two days after his return to the U.K. from that country. Ali’s motive for the murder, however, remains unclear, as is his connection, if any, to Amess.
News of Amess’ horrific murder sent shockwaves throughout the U.K. where just five years earlier Labour lawmaker Jo Cox was killed by a far-right extremist on her way to meet with constituents.
Following Amess’ death, British Home Secretary Priti Patel asked for a review of MP protections. This prompted some lawmakers to voice concerns that revisions to security policies could restrict their ability to meet with constituents. Patel responded by saying that any new policies “should never, ever break that link between an elected representative and their democratic role, responsibility and duty to the people who elected them.”
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Johnson echoed the sentiment, saying, “The prime minister shares the concerns with a number of MPs and ministers that this attack cannot get in the way of democracy. We will not be cowed by those who seek to divide us and spread hate.”
Amess leaves behind a wife and five children. He began serving as an MP in 1983. He is described by family members as a “patriot” and “a man of peace.”
A procession to London’s St. Margaret’s Church will follow today’s tribute ceremonies.