A man who allegedly screamed “this is for Syria” as he slashed a passenger's neck in a London subway station had images associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on his mobile phone, prosecutors said Monday.
Muhaydin Mire, who has been charged with attempted murder, also allegedly had photos relating to the Nov. 13 gun and bomb rampage in Paris and a recent British police anti-terrorism training exercise.
Prosecution lawyer David Cawthorne told a court hearing Monday that prosecutors allege Saturday's knife attack at Leytonstone Underground station was an act of terrorism.
Passers-by recorded the aftermath of the incident on their phones. In one clip, as police officers wrestled the suspect to the floor, a bystander yelled: “You ain't no Muslim, bruv.”
The terse dismissal, spoken in a distinct London accent — complete with the slang term bruv, for brother — raced round social media, with the hashtag #YouAintNoMuslimBruv becoming a top trending topic on Twitter.
Some Twitter users quoted Islamic scripture to contradict ISIL members and supporters who try to use Islam to justify attacks on unarmed civilians and to recruit followers in the West and Middle East.
"#YouAintNoMuslimBruv, just another psychopath attempting to use religion as an excuse to justify your barbaric actions!!” said one Twitter user, Natasha.
Mire, who is 29 and lives a few blocks from the east London subway station, appeared Monday at Westminster Magistrates' Court.
Cawthorne, the prosecutor, said Mire launched a “violent, sustained and unprovoked” attack on a 56-year-old man, who was punched and kicked to the ground before being slashed in the neck during the attack. He required five hours of surgery on a 12-centimeter (5-inch) wound and is in stable condition in a hospital.
A written summary of the prosecution case disclosed in court included details of the ISIL-related material found on the suspect's phone.
Mire — who was arrested after police officers used a stun gun to subdue him — spoke only to confirm his name, age and address. He was ordered detained until a court appearance on Friday.
Police stepped up patrols at transport hubs after the incident, which came days after Parliament approved British airstrikes on ISIL targets in Syria.
Many Londoners have been on edge since the Paris carnage, which killed 130 people — and Prime Minister David Cameron said a similar attack “could happen here.”
But the adoption of #YouAintNoMuslimBruv as a collective response to the incident has struck a defiant note with distinctly British understatement.
“It's a very London thing to say,” said Fiyaz Mughal, director of anti-extremism group Faith Matters. “I thought it was really positive.”
“Given the sharp spike after Paris in Islamophobic incidences, it is exactly this kind of positive messaging that detaches the Muslim community from extremists and terrorists.”