Greater Manchester Police (GMP) apologized after conducting a training exercise in which a fake suicide bomber screamed “Allahu Akbar” before detonating his fake explosives.
Police were testing their preparedness to deal with a mass-casualty terrorist attack like those against Paris and Brussels. Eight hundred volunteers took part in the exercise, conducted overnight in the Trafford Centre, a mall in Manchester. The simulated attack was part of a three-day exercise.
GMP was criticized, especially on Twitter, after a video emerged clearly showing the fake terrorist shouting Allahu Akbar. One activist wrote “a terrorist can be anyone" and "we need to move away from stereotypes."
The following statement was issued by GMP Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan:
“It is a necessity for agencies including the police to train and prepare using exercises such as this, so that we would be in the best possible position to respond in the event that the unthinkable happened and an attack took place.
"The scenario for this exercise is based on an attack by an extremist Daesh-style organisation and the scenario writers have centred the circumstances around previous similar attacks of this nature, mirroring details of past events to make the situation as real life as possible for all of those involved.
"However, on reflection we acknowledge that it was unacceptable to use this religious phrase immediately before the mock suicide bombing, which so vocally linked this exercise with Islam. We recognise and apologise for the offence that this has caused."
The apology was released on the same day that a man screaming “Allahu Akbar” stabbed four people at a train station in Germany.