UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall has responded to criticism of this week’s Manchester terrorist training exercise by claiming: “If you hear someone shout 'Allahu Akbar' you should run away like a whippet.”
The counter-terrorism exercise took place on Tuesday at the Trafford Centre. It began with a mock 'suicide bomber' releasing a fake explosive, causing other volunteers to act as if they had been injured in the training attack. However, before the actor began, he shouted 'Allahu Akbar' (God is great).
Many people condemned this as they found the use of the phrase offensive, as it linked the 'attack' to Islam, and Greater Manchester Police have subsequently apologise for any offence caused.
But Nuttall, the MEP for North-West England, has dismissed the concerns of those offended by the supposed connection and has issued a furious defence of the exercise.
"The people who are offended by this are those who are always professionally offended," he told Jonny Gould. "These things have to be realistic as possible.
"If you hear someone shout 'Allahu Akbar' [God is great] you should run away like a whippet.
“Greater Manchester Police ran this training exercise and made it as realistic as possible for the emergency services and the staff within the Trafford Centre by ensuring the actor did shout ‘Alluha Akbar’.
“I am not opposed whatsoever to Greater Manchester Police carrying out this exercise, and ensuring the actor shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’. What I am offended by is the fact they have been forced to apologise.
“Let’s be frank about this, it’s not a case of if, but when and where [the next attack comes], and what I can almost guarantee is the next attack will be perpetrated by Islamists and the chances are it [Alluha Akbar] will be shouted before the attacks take place.
"So therefore there is no need for an apology and I will be writing to the Police and Crime Commissioner to find out why he felt the need to issue this apology.
"These Islamist lunatics are not going away, they are here and they're going to be here for a very long time."