The Qur’an promises that fighting the unbelievers will “satisfy the breasts of a believing people and remove the fury in the believers’ hearts”: “Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them and satisfy the breasts of a believing people and remove the fury in the believers’ hearts. And Allah turns in forgiveness to whom He wills; and Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (9:14-15)
So Khalid Masood was likely to have been looking for inner peace in Westminster when he plowed his car into the crowd.
A childhood friend of Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood has spoken of how his companion had completely changed after prison, where it is feared he was groomed for extremism behind bars.
According to Mark Ashdown, 52, there were still flashes of his old friend’s personality, but otherwise he was like a different person.
He told the Sun: “When he first came out he told me he’d become a Muslim in prison and I thought he was joking.
“Then I saw he was quieter and much more serious.
“I gave him some cash-in-hand work for a few months as a labourer.
“He said he needed time to pray and read the Koran – something about finding inner peace.”
Counter-terrorism officers have spent days piecing together what led the 52-year-old to shed his birth name and later unleash carnage on the capital.
Only two men – a 27-year-old and 58-year-old arrested in Birmingham – remain in custody after a hunt for accomplices saw 11 people held after raids across the country.
It remains unclear whether the destructive assault which left four dead and scores injured was carried out alone or with support.
Mr Ashdown said that Masood’s personality was buried beneath the “deeply religious” man he had become.
He continued: “There were still flashes of the old Ade, but they were few and far between.
“I heard he’d split from his partner and got even more deeply into religion. But nothing could have prepared me for hearing his name on the radio.”
His abrupt religious conversion will fuel concerns about the rising threat of criminals being brought under the influence of hardened jihadists while in prison.
Ministers have announced plans to create specialist units within jails to tackle what a government-ordered review last year concluded was a “growing problem”.
Details of Masood’s history of criminality have continued to come to light, suggesting a propensity for violence which laid the groundwork for his armed rampage on Wednesday….
Masood was known to police and MI5 but was a “peripheral figure” who was not implicated in any current probe.
He had convictions for assaults, including grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences….