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'The bomber chose a different path' says bishop who confirmed Liverpool terror suspect

by Heather Preston

The bishop who performed the confirmation ceremony for the suspected Liverpool bomber says he is "shocked and saddened" by the weekend's suspected terror attack.

Emad al Swealmeen, who converted from Islam to Christianity in 2015 is thought to have detonated an explosive device outside Liverpool's Woman's hospital on Remembrance Sunday - killing himself and injuring a taxi driver.

Reports suggest the 32 year old wished to convert from Islam to Christianity in 2015 and had attended an Alpha Course at Liverpool Cathedral. 

Rt Rev Cyril Ashton confirmed al Swealmeen in his Christian faith in 2017.

Speaking in response to the attack, the now retired Bishop Ashton said: "Like so many I have been shocked and saddened by the bombing in Liverpool and the revelation that the bomber was part of the cathedral community for a while. 

"His confirmation was one of hundreds I have conducted as a bishop so I have no specific recollection of the individual. The church takes confirmation seriously and I know that he would have been thoroughly prepared with an understanding of the Christian faith. 

"It seems that sadly, despite this grounding, the bomber chose a different path for his life. My prayers are with the cathedral, David Perry and the entire community at this time."

There are concerns Sunday's suspected terror attack has triggered incidents of racial hatred against Muslim people as one Liverpool MP reported abuse against Muslim women wearing the Hijab.

The city's faith leaders came together outside the women's hospital on Tuesday.

Local priest Rev Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, spoke about the toxic impact of terrorism on society saying: "It seeks to destroy our lives of peaceful co-existence and disrupts the functions of society."

The UK's terror threat level has since increased to "severe" - meaning an attack is highly likely.

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