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UK: Muslim Liverpool Bombing Suspect Had Asylum Status Rejected But Was Never Deported

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The suspect in last Sunday’s Liverpool bombing was reportedly denied asylum but remained in the country. Emad al Swealmeen arrived in Britain from the Middle East in 2014 and is believed to be of Syrian or Iraqi origin. Al Swealmeen was killed in the bombing, that took place outside a women’s hospital. A taxi driver was also injured in the attack.

The suspected bomber changed his name to Enzo Almeni, in honor of Italian race car driver Enzo Ferrari, in order to sound more western on his asylum application. This did not work, however, as his application was rejected in 2014. The 32-year-old then remained in the country despite failing to gain legal residence.

He was ultimately taken by Christian volunteers Malcolm and Elizabeth Hitchcott in Liverpool. According to the Hitchcott’s, Emad al Swealmeen eventually converted from Islam to Christianity and became a member of the Anglican Church.

“He first came to the cathedral in August 2015 and wanted to convert to Christianity. He took an Alpha course, which explains the Christian faith, and completed it in November of that year,” Malcom Hitchcott told The Guardian.

It has since been reported that al Swealmeen “reverted” back to Islam from his Christian faith at some point after entering the West.

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Though counter terrorism officials have yet to officially name a motive, experts have opined that al Swealmeen may have been trying to “game the system” with his conversion. The UK raised its terror threat level to the second highest level following the bombing, which thankfully resulted in minimal casualties.

The suspected bomber was not previously known to MI5, which keeps a detailed anti-terror watchlist with over 3,000 suspects. Al Swealmeen allegedly built the improvised explosive device himself before calling a taxi, which took him to the scene of the bombing.

Why the hospital was chosen as a target remains unknown, though Remembrance Day ceremonies were taking place nearby.

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