A neighbour told The New York Times that the family frequently flew a Libyan flag outside the window, while a school friend told the Daily Mail that Abedi had recently grown a beard, and was “acting strange.” Abedi was also reported to have been praying loudly in Arabic in the street.
“They were a Libyan family. A couple of months ago he was chanting the first kalma [Islamic prayer] really loudly in the street. He was chanting in Arabic. He was saying ‘There is only one God and the prophet Mohammed is his messenger’, a neighbor told the Mail.
‘They dressed very traditionally, in Islamic clothes. The mother used to wear a headscarf,” another said. The Washington Post reported that Abedi’s brother had been taken into custody.
Details of Abedi’s background come amid reports that he was already known to security services, but authorities concluded that he did not mark an immediate threat.
It seems that local authorities are unlikely to move quickly on any problems with assimilation. Labour Party candidate Afzal Khan, who is campaigning to be the Member of Parliament for the area in which Abedi lived, told reporters hours before the bombing: I don’t think immigration is a problem… It has transformed Manchester into a world class city.”